Sponsored 24 February 2019
There are no two ways about it: working from home is a luxury, especially at this time of year. Not only do you get to avoid the morning traffic and stay in your pajamas all day but you get to create your own schedule and plan out exactly how you want to spend your time. That said, spending that time wisely can be a bit tricky. This is particularly true when it comes to lunch breaks, as that's when the boundaries between home and work life tend to fade away the most.
To help you out, we've come up with some ways for you to make the most of your lunch break that will ensure you get back into your work groove without losing any momentum or motivation.
Prepare A Healthy Lunch
First and foremost, a lunch break is about refueling and, even though your home may be filled with your favorite snacks, it's crucial that you eat wisely. This doesn't mean you have to eat a soggy sandwich or lackluster pasta pot like you might if you were out at the office though. Instead, you may want to consider preparing a healthy, delicious lunch the night before. Not only will this make your lunch break easier and more structured but it'll give you something to look forward to throughout your morning slog.
Make Sure It's Actually A Break
As we mentioned earlier, working from home can seriously blur the lines between home and work life. Now, while you may assume this means that most people tend to neglect their work in favor of relaxing at home, many people actually tend to focus more on their work. This can lead to people working around the clock and forgetting about lunch breaks entirely. To ensure this doesn't happen, we recommend having some fun things in mind for your break that you can look forward to.
For example, you could have the BBC, Lifehacker, Swaay or other media sites bookmarked and ready to read so you can catch up on the day's news. You could even get into online games, especially since there are sites such as 888 Ladies that are created for women now. According to this 888 Ladies review, it's “aimed at the fairer sex", so it's great for a woman on a lunch break mission.
That said, we completely understand if shooting zombies or something is your idea of perfect gaming time. Really, the point is to make sure you're stepping away from work for a bit, whether that's by playing bingo, reading the news or something else.
Don't Forget To Socialize
Lunch breaks are a great time to reset yourself, making sure that you're ready for the afternoon of work ahead. Take an hour off to eat lunch, have some fun and make some plans and you're sure to have a productive, enjoyable afternoon.
Just because you're working from home doesn't mean you get to avoid socializing altogether! When working from home, it's very important to make sure that you continue having human interactions despite working alone. Take a minute or two in your lunch break to text, call or email others. It doesn't matter whether you're contacting friends, family, co-workers or even your boss; just make sure that you have some interaction with someone. The best thing to do is make some plans for after work, as that will give you something to look forward to and ensure that you get out of the house for a little while.
4 Min Read
During a recent meeting on Microsoft Teams, I couldn't seem to get a single word out.
When I tried to chime in, I kept getting interrupted. At one point two individuals talked right over me and over each other. When I thought it was finally my turn, someone else parachuted in from out of nowhere. When I raised and waved my hand as if I was in grade school to be called on (yes, I had my camera on) we swiftly moved on to the next topic. And then, completely frustrated, I stayed on mute for the remainder of the meeting. I even momentarily shut off my camera to devour the rest of my heavily bruised, brown banana. (No one needed to see that.)
This wasn't the first time I had struggled to find my voice. Since elementary school, I always preferring the back seat unless the teacher assigned me a seat in the front. In high school, I did piles of extra credit or mini-reports to offset my 0% in class participation. In college, I went into each lecture nauseous and with wasted prayers — wishing and hoping that I wouldn't be cold-called on by the professor.
By the time I got to Corporate America, it was clear that if I wanted to lead, I needed to pull my chair up (and sometimes bring my own), sit right at the table front and center, and ask for others to make space for me. From then on, I found my voice and never stop using it.
But now, all of a sudden, in this forced social experiment of mass remote working, I was having trouble being heard… again. None of the coaching I had given myself and other women on finding your voice seemed to work when my voice was being projected across a conference call and not a conference room.
I couldn't read any body language. I couldn't see if others were about to jump in and I should wait or if it was my time to speak. They couldn't see if I had something to say. For our Microsoft teams setting, you can only see a few faces on your screen, the rest are icons at the bottom of the window with a static picture or even just their name. And, even then, I couldn't see some people simply because they wouldn't turn their cameras on.
If I did get a chance to speak and cracked a funny joke, well, I didn't hear any laughing. Most people were on mute. Or maybe the joke wasn't that funny?
At one point, I could hear some heavy breathing and the unwrapping of (what I could only assume was) a candy bar. I imagined it was a Nestle Crunch Bar as my tummy rumbled in response to the crinkling of unwrapped candy. (There is a right and a wrong time to mute, people.)
At another point, I did see one face nodding at me blankly.
They say that remote working will be good for women. They say it will level the playing field. They say it will be more inclusive. But it won't be for me and others if I don't speak up now.
- Start with turning your camera on and encouraging others to do the same. I was recently in a two-person meeting. My camera was on, but the other person wouldn't turn theirs on. In that case, ten minutes in, I turned my camera off. You can't stare at my fuzzy eyebrows and my pile of laundry in the background if I can't do the same to you. When you have a willing participant, you'd be surprised by how helpful it can be to make actual eye contact with someone, even on a computer (and despite the fuzzy eyebrows).
- Use the chatbox. Enter in your questions. Enter in your comments. Dialogue back and forth. Type in a joke. I did that recently and someone entered back a laughing face — reaffirming that I was, indeed, funny.
- Designate a facilitator for the meeting: someone leading, coaching, and guiding. On my most recent call, a leader went around ensuring everyone was able to contribute fairly. She also ensured she asked for feedback on a specific topic and helped move the discussion around so no one person took up all the airtime.
- Unmute yourself. Please don't just sit there on mute for the entire meeting. Jump in and speak up. You will be interrupted. You will interrupt others. But don't get frustrated or discouraged — this is what work is now — just keep showing up and contributing.
- Smile, and smile big. Nod your head in agreement. Laugh. Give a thumbs up; give two! Wave. Make a heart with your hands. Signal to others on the call who are contributing that you support and value them. They will do the same in return when your turn comes to contribute.
It's too easy to keep your camera turned off. It's too easy to stay on mute. It's too easy to disappear. But now is not the time to disappear. Now is the time to stay engaged and networked within our organizations and communities.
So please don't put yourself on mute.
Well, actually, please do put yourself on mute so I don't have to hear your heavy breathing, candy bar crunching, or tinkling bathroom break.
But after that, please take yourself off mute so you can reclaim your seat (and your voice) at the table.