How do you switch off at the end of the day if there’s no journey involved? Gardening? Sex? Crisps?
If you’re reading this standing in a stationary train’s vestibule, squeezed between a furtive flosser and someone eating a keto breakfast of hard-boiled eggs and sardines, while everyone listens to Jolyon on speakerphone review the new draft pitch deck, take heart: commuting is good for you.
It’s the second outing I have spotted for this argument. In 2021, the Harvard Business Review asserted the value of commuting in setting and maintaining boundaries between work and home selves, thus avoiding burnout. Now the concept is back, with US researchers further exploring the role of the commute as a “liminal space” that allows for psychological detachment and recovery from work. There are psychological as well as physical and temporal dimensions to the commute, they argue, and “the experience of rolelessness” during it may create a mental space for “psychological role transition and recovery”.
Emma Beddington is a Guardian columnistContinue reading...