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Why is a daily commute good for you?

Research suggests people working from home should manufacture a commute for good mental health.
Credit: AP

ATLANTA — Working from home has allowed many Americans to skip the daily stress of traffic jams, but some say we’re missing out on the beneficial elements of a commute.

It doesn’t have to be a bumper-to-bumper red knuckle drive along the Downtown Connector. It may be hard to grasp for anyone who’s grown tired of Atlanta traffic, but researchers have found actual value in a daily commute.

 Jon Jachimowicz of Harvard’s Business School has been part of a study that concluded our commutes serve as a barrier between work and home.

“Without commutes and the physical separation from our offices, how do you stop from feeling like you’re living at work?” Jachimowicz asked.

A survey by the National Bureau of Economic Research tells us people working from home can’t seem to stop. In fact, the average work day for those folks has increased by 48-minutes.

Jachimowicz believes a commute separates work time and family time.

“When you don’t periodically detach from your job you’re less able to replenish your emotional resources or fully engage in anything non-work related,” Jachimowicz said.

His suggestion is to develop rituals that include a manufactured commute, giving you time to transition between work and play.

“It could be taking a brisk walk to kick off your morning then a quick drive around the block when you’re done with work,” Jachimowicz said. “No matter what your rituals are, make sure they’re performed when you’re easing in and our of the work day.”

Your work-at-home commute should be a stress-free 5 or 10 minutes, free from gridlock and the agony that goes with it.