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.
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.