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Make Remote Work Sustainable

Tuesday, September 22, 2020



If you have ever worked in an office setting, you must be familiar with the post-lunch fatigue that settles over you and your coworkers, making work feel sluggish—and at times—insurmountable. This notorious energy slump may have become even harder to fight when you began working from home.

The American workforce is known for its assiduous work ethic, so remote staff members can begin to feel especially guilty about daily ebbs in their efficiency. Even though you can no longer turn to your work friends for some much-needed water cooler chat, you can find new ways to take meaningful breaks that boost your performance and reduce the risk of burnout. Here are a couple at-home activities to gain inspiration from while you fight the daily “2:30 feeling.”

As much as you have heard it before, the act of simply getting up from your desk to walk and stretch for a few minutes every hour is a great way to sustain your energy. Working from home brings an even greater advantage to this action. Whereas in the office you may have felt a little silly getting up to circle the cubicles a few times, at home you have much more freedom to move about. Whether you take your dog for a walk around the block or you set up a yoga mat in your living room, you can choose when your brain needs a break, and give your body what it needs to stay motivated. For quick yoga sessions with positive guidance, check out Yoga with Adriene. She is based in Austin, Texas and provides a host of free videos on YouTube for varying circumstances, like this 14-minute guided yoga specifically for your Office Break.

On top of frequent stretches, you may consider taking an actual post-lunch power nap. We know, the mere suggestion of a nap in the middle of the work day feels irreverent to the American work ethic. In most office settings, a midday siesta would be inappropriate, but with the transition to remote work and the adaptation of common corporate practices, this is one suggestion that can do a lot of good. Studies show that the typical midday daze we all experience is due to our circadian rhythm and sleep-wake homeostasis telling us we need rest[1]. Since we woke up early, our internal sleep timer starts going off at about 2pm. Corporations such as Google, Nike, and Ben & Jerry’s have implemented resources for their employees to take quick naps in-office, and have found an increase in productivity[2]. NASA started this practice for its astronauts as early as the 1990s[3]. Even though midday naps have not yet hit mainstream corporate culture, working from home gives you the opportunity to take a quick rest so you can come back energized and ready to finish the day strong.

Burnout is a hard symptom to combat, and when you are fighting to get through the afternoon slump, the expectation of constant focus can be overwhelming. When your job went remote, many of your old routines had to evolve. Taking care of your body means you are able to handle a heftier workload. Try adapting your at-home routine to include these tips, and see if they work for you.



[1] https://www.insider.com/why-am-i-exhausted-in-the-afternoon-at-work-2018-4

[2] https://www.sleep.org/sleeping-work-companies-nap-rooms-snooze-friendly-policies/

[3] https://www.sleep.org/sleeping-work-companies-nap-rooms-snooze-friendly-policies/