The average office worker has their lunch break routine to a tee. Many choose to head to the nearest café for hot food after they failed to scrape together something edible before work. Over the years these trips out can rack up to shocking amounts, but it almost seems worth it just to be able to get away from the desk. Lunch breaks aren’t our only timeouts; water cooler chats and coffee runs also help workers unwind, if not just for a moment. However, these routines get broken when people transition to working from home and end up taking ineffective breaks that hamper their productivity.
You need to take a break!
With the switch from the professionalism of an office to the more casual nature of your home, it can be hard to stick to the same routine, and for too many this manifests in skipping lunch entirely. Some who feel guilty and anxious about their workload find these feelings are exacerbated by remote working and feel they need to make up for the increased comfort of working from home. Thankfully virtual workspace provider, Wurkr, has an inbuilt ‘support bot’ that reminds you to have a break when it detects that you might have been working too long.
You should also consider spreading your breaks throughout the day as it is important to repeatedly refresh your concentration levels. Studies have suggested that a short break after every 90 minutes of work can help maintain workers' focus. Regardless, everyone is different and so you should do what feels natural to you.
Get that body moving!
Physical movement is just as integral a part of an effective break as the time away from the desk. It doesn’t have to be strenuous or anything to post on Instagram about, this ‘exercise’ should be solely for you and your health - and you’ll be happier for it. Fresh air is vital if you’ve been in a room with little to no circulation for hours, so go outdoors to help to clear your mind. In the case that going outside is not practical; perhaps it's raining, there’s another pandemic, or the world is on fire, we still recommend that you do the bare minimum of leaving your desk. 62% of Americans eat their lunch at their desk, meaning at least 62% of Americans are taking their breaks wrong.
Limit distractions, during and after your break
Sneakily doing work while you’re taking a break, defeats the purpose. Distractions go both ways, everyone knows they’re aren't supposed to have social media open on another tab at work and it’s no different when you're purposely not working. Make sure to let your colleagues know that you are taking time out, this lowers the chance of a rogue email dragging you back into work mode. Wurkr seamlessly recreates a physical office in the virtual world - break rooms and all. Put yourself in the ‘break room’ to let everyone else in the office know that you will be out of action and are taking time for yourself.
Many people working from home utilise break time to catch up on their go-to social media, ongoing sporting scores or even new Netflix shows. I understand that nothing I say here will be able to stop this, Squid Game and Twitter are far too tempting, we are mortal after all. However, it is important to switch back into work mode once it is eventually time to get back to work. Prevent prolonged distractions where you can’t help thinking about that cliffhanger. It is better to finish what you were doing during the break so as to not leak into work time, this means stopping earlier at an ideal point, not watching right up until the last minute.
You are allowed to run your errands
Flexibility and having more time in the day are two main reasons people cite for wanting to switch to hybrid work, just behind never having office small talk ever again. Nothing shows off this flexibility better than being able to cut down a list of chores throughout the day without the boss even noticing. Putting on a load of washing is quick to do and the clothes will continue to spin when you go back to work, it’s the perfect break-time errand. Slot your errands more sporadically throughout the day and they can be a short break of their own if done right, getting up from your desk to feed the dogs is great at breaking up long stretches of sitting. Picking up kids from school, a common errand that you don’t typically have a choice in, becomes much more viable when working from home. However, don’t forget to put yourself in Wurkr’s break room. Good communication is key to a healthy work environment.