McAlpine, K., Piszczek, M. (in press). Along for the ride through liminal space: A role transition and recovery perspective on the work-to-home commute. Organizational Psychology Review.

The increase in remote work during COVID-19 has drawn attention to the function of commutes as work-home transitions. While prior work-home research has referenced commutes as an example of role transitions, little is known about how the characteristics of a commute or the behaviors and processes undertaken in a commute affect their nature. We integrate research on commute characteristics, role transitions, and psychological recovery to develop a transitional perspective of commuting. We provide a conceptualization of liminal space that differentiates its physical and temporal dimensions and its psychological dimension as characteristics of the space through which one transitions during the commute and the experience of rolelessness one may perceive while doing so. We argue that perceived liminality during the commute frees cognitive resources for psychological role transition and recovery. Based on our conceptual model, we discuss implications for role transitions, commuting, and telecommuting research.