making peace(ish) with my commute

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This week IBM announced (per the Wall Street Journal) there are changes coming for their long-standing telecommuting policy and will require employees to choose a physical office from which to work or look elsewhere for employment. As someone who has personally reaped the benefits of a periodic work-from-home arrangement, I could go on and on about why I think pulling back on telecommuting is just bad in the employee satisfaction realm (morale, trust, engagement, etc.), but I would likely just be preaching to the choir.

Screenshot 2017-05-21 12.41.00
Photo from Quora.com

Turns out it’s not just based on a want, either. GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com is on my side with data, too: 50 percent of the U.S. workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telework and approximately 20-25% of the workforce teleworks at some frequency.While I’m not in the same position as those IBMers who will be required to relocate to a new city to keep my job, I am facing a potential change in my work-from-home options, which, honestly, blows. I love, love, love my company and my job, but one of the reasons I traded in a super easy 20-minute commute a year ago for a new gig was the option of telecommuting a day or two a week. And, as I’ve discovered over the past 10 months, even just a one-day-per-week reprieve of the fucking ridiculousness that is Denver traffic

While I’m not in the same position as those IBMers who will be required to relocate to a new city to keep my job, I am facing a potential change in my work-from-home options, which, honestly, blows. I love, love, love my company and my job, but one of the reasons I traded in a super easy 20-minute commute a year ago for a new gig was the option of telecommuting a day or two a week. And, as I’ve discovered over the past 10 months, even just a one-day-per-week reprieve of the fucking ridiculousness that is Denver traffic

(I hear ya LA, SF, NYC, DC, Seattle and all of the others and I get you. I’ve experienced rush-hour in all of you and, yes, it’s worse. But, my current reality is a 23-mile commute that takes between 40 and 90 minutes, on average. Oh yeah, that’s each way, BTW.)

So, what’s a girl to do? While I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t exactly approached this issue in the most mature manner (aka, I’ve been a giant pouting baby — just ask my boss), I have been attempting as of the last few days to 1) put it all into perspective and, 2) develop a game-plan or guidelines to help relieve some of my frustration.

The following is my answer to most of life’s problems — a list! Some of them I’ve tried. Others, I’m working on. And, then there are the ones I’m trying to convince myself of by including them here.

  1. Make my commute functional + productive:  read, work, podcasts, check emails, catch up with friends and family (via phone if driving)
  2. Take the train, especially if I want the optimize number one
  3. Alter my working times to either arrive/leave earlier or later
  4. Use Waze or other traffic-info sites/maps to identify detours (luckily, my car makes this very easy)
  5. Make better use of the remaining hours in the day
  6. Take care of errands + shopping near work let traffic easy up before heading home
  7. Find a coffee shop to write after work
  8. Always opt for the train if the forecast calls for bad weather
  9. Identify benefits of a longer commute: alone time, more appreciation for the remaining free hours in the day, everything in item one
  10. Accept it + don’t dwell on what I can’t control

Best-case scenario, my current telecommuting restriction is lifted and I can return to WFH at least a few days a week. Even if that doesn’t happen, however, I’m going to vow to keep practice what I preach (on this list) and keep the whining to a minimum because I kinda want to keep my job and my friends. No one wants to be around a whiner, including myself.

Anyone else have any suggestions for surviving a terrible commute? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. 

2 comments on “making peace(ish) with my commute”

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