Working from home was an exciting prospect at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, but after seven months, many are now finding remote employment to be monotonous and even a bit stressful.
The lack of a consistent schedule and the constant interruptions often associated with working from home can lead to distraction, frustration and anxiety. One way to maintain motivation and focus is to develop regular routines and opportunities to recharge, such as a daily lunch break.
When working from home it can be tempting to snack throughout the day in lieu of a sit-down mid-day meal. “Working through lunch” might sound more appealing without the option to chat with coworkers in the break room or walk to a nearby restaurant. However, taking a lunch break has been shown to improve productivity, creativity and mental well being.
A recent study found that nearly 90 percent of North American employees felt more refreshed and ready to work after taking a lunch break, yet about 20 percent felt taking a lunch break would reflect negatively on their work performance.
In the United States, we put a lot of emphasis on productivity. As a culture, we are constantly finding ways that we can do more. Whether it’s the use of caffeine, drugs, speciality diets, or organizational hacks, we find new and creative ways to optimize our energy and productivity without needing to slow down or “waste time.”
The problem with regularly cutting energetic corners like this is that these habits eventually come back to harm us. Addictions, anxiety, chronic stress, and health issues are just some negative symptoms that can emerge as a result of always being on the go.
Taking regular breaks and fully stopping work to engage in a fun or relaxing activity can do wonders for concentration and motivation. So the next time you’re tempted to work through lunch or snack from your desk, give yourself the gift of a real lunch break instead.