With so many of us no longer reporting to the office every day, how can we use this new work setup to our advantage? One way to do that: By actually taking a break at lunchtime.
“When you’re working from home, it’s easy to become unaware of when lunchtime is or to just power through it,” Lynn Taylor — a workplace expert and founder of the accessory company Behind The Buckle — told HuffPost. “But that habit can hurt you in the long run.”
Tempting as it might be to work through lunch to get more done, doing so may actually make you less — not more — productive.
“We only have the capacity to work deeply on tasks for around four hours of each day, so there is little value in stealing time from your lunch, as it may give you more time, but it makes you less productive, less creative and more likely to make mistakes, as well as pushing you towards burnout and an unhealthy work-life integration,” said Lee Chambers, an environmental psychologist and well-being consultant.
You may also want to avoid “breaks” that keep you glued to your laptop or smartphone — like reading personal emails, catching up news or scrolling on social media, Chambers said. You won’t feel refreshed after; plus, you’re more likely to get sucked back into work that way.
To that end, we asked workplace experts to share some of the best ways to spend your lunch break while you’re WFH.
- At the bare minimum, step away from your desk.
… Or the kitchen table, couch or wherever it is you do work at home. A change of scenery can be beneficial.
“It’s easy to do everything at your desk: eat lunch, make social calls, check the news and social media and so on,” Taylor said. “But removing yourself from your regular environment helps you clear your head, hit the reset button and experience a more positive, balanced day.”
Getting some fresh air is ideal, but if you can’t go outside, just moving to another part of the house can make a difference.