The death of the commute

The daily commute is dead.

When are we going to have the wake?

When are we going to going to hold the inquiry into why we all did this unnecessary, expensive and destructive thing for so many years?, as someone on Twitter asked.

For so long we just accepted the daily commute as some sort of immutable necessity, much like cleaning our teeth and getting dressed, just a part of our day. I don’t know about you but for several years I didn’t really reach a state of functional consciousness until I’d arrived at my desk and had a cup of coffee.

For others, it became routine to sit in your car and go nowhere fast whilst listening to the inane burbling of the breakfast DJ, then fight for the optimum parking space so you could dash into the office before you got soaked/frozen/melted by the weather.

We incorporated it into our daily patterns, defying our circadian rhythms to pander to the timetables and the congestion patterns that would ease out travels.

For years we have had the means and technology that made it unnecessary but still we did it. If you had a desk job, you commuted to the office every day because that’s just how it was. It was habitual, throughly ingrained into our way of life, practically into our way of being.

It takes time to break a habit. Some say 7 days, others between 30 and 90 days, or even a year to fully integrate the change. Well, we’ve busted through all of those limits. It’s 18 months since people have had to commute every day and that’s given everyone a chance to re-appraise their life.

People choose to move out of the city centres for cheaper housing, or to meet the needs of a family, or just to have a different and calmer lifestyle.  They long for a place of their own, more space or just want to be nearer nature and the countryside. However, this means you have to take on “the commute”.

As a result, you find that you are spending more money on fares to spend less time in the place you’ve chosen to live in to have a better quality of life. 

You’re unable to commit to hobbies and activities because the commute makes you too late and too tired to enjoy them, whilst travel problems often mean you miss out on important events with family and friends. But at least you get the weekend – except you are so knackered from commuting that you fall asleep in front of the telly on Friday night and have to lie in on Saturday morning so that you have enough energy to enjoy what’s left of it! Once you’ve done all the chores you didn’t have time for in the week…

And now you’ve had 18 months of not commuting, you’re looking back at your previous lifestyle and thinking “Blimey, that was NUTS!! What was I thinking?”

So it’s gone. Yes, there’s still quite a lot of it about but it’s dying out. It’s no longer the default, it’s no longer what we do unquestioningly. We can see that it doesn’t make sense anymore and hasn’t for a long time.

The big question now is – what’s else is going to go?

#futureofwork #leadership #WFH #DecrapifyWork

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