March 14, 2023
For most American workers who commute, the trip to and from the office takes nearly one full hour a day—26 minutes each way on average, with 7.7% of workers spending two hours or more on the road.
Many people think of commuting as a chore and a waste of time. However, during the remote work surge resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, several journalists curiously noted that people were—could it be?—missing their commutes. One woman told The Washington Post that even though she was working from home, she regularly sat in her car in the driveway at the end of the workday in an attempt to carve out some personal time and mark the transition from work to nonwork roles.
As management scholars who study the interface between peoples' work and personal lives, we sought to understand what it was that people missed when their commutes suddenly disappeared.