Need a Refocus Break?

Need a refocus break? main

In this digital world, a lot of us probably spend more time at our desks than we’d like to. Long amounts of time staring at a computer can take a toll! Here’s a few things you can do to give you a physical and mental break.

Take a Stretch Break

Admit it, you’re sitting hunched over your keyboard or phone right now. 😜 Its ok; we all do it. Here’s 3 quick stretches you can do at your desk!

Flex Your Wrist Gif

#1 Give Your Wrists Some Love

Being on the computer all day overuses some muscles and underuses others. New York City based physical therapist, Dr. Abby Bales, suggests stretching your wrist flexors and extenders. The easiest way to do this is to hold your arm straight out and bend your wrist up and down at 90 degree angles. Bales says this “prevents the wrist from getting locked in a smaller range.”

De Hunch

#2 De-Hunch

Your upper back and shoulders can lock from being at a desk too long. Dr. Bales suggests stretching by clasping your hands behind your head and squeezing your shoulder blades. This opens up your chest and shoulders, helping stop the hunch.

#3 Big Shrugs

Shrug your shoulders gif

While on the computer most of us have the habit of scrunching up our shoulders and leaning toward the screen. Doing some 3-5 second shoulders shrugs helps! “By actively shrugging and then letting go, the brain is made aware of the unhealthy height of the shoulders,” Dr. Bales said, and it resets accordingly.

Mental Resets

Anytime you disrupt your routine (either by doing little things like pausing to stretch or like, I don’t know, a global pandemic) you have opportunity to reset. What can you do to reset your brain?

#1 Breathe

Pausing and taking a couple deep breathes can help clear your mind, relax, and refocus. It’s as simple as just looking up from your computer or phone and focusing on your breathing for a bit.

#2 Reprioritize

Another thing you can do to mental reset is take a moment to go over your tasks and reprioritize. Ask yourself, “What is my overall goal for the day and what do I need to do next to reach that goal?” It’s critical to understand what tasks are most important. Inevitably things change throughout the day; deadlines move and priorities shift. Reorganizing your task list can help you to stay focused on what really matters and make it easier to adapt to shifting priorities.

#3 Change Up Your Surroundings

Changing something about your surroundings can help you refocus. Can you get up and move? Now that it’s summer, could you work outside? Disrupting your groove gives you the opportunity to reset your focus. Changing where you physically are or even something small like switching up your music is super effective!

What ways have you found to reset your focus and give yourself a physical or mental break?

Why Does WFH Have A Bad History?

Many companies (including our own) have been forced to adapt to WFH this year. Many of us enjoy working from home now and flexibility it offers. Why haven’t companies pushed WFH before?

Well, they have. And it hasn’t always gone well. For example, in 2009 40% of IBM’s 386,000 employees in 173 counties worked from home. In 2017, however, thousands of them were called back to the office. Why? Revenue was slumping, and as Kate Lister of Global Workplace Analytics says, “Working from home is a strategic move, not just a tactical one that saves money. A lot of it comes down to trust. Do you trust your people?”

Taking a global pandemic out of the equation, what are the advantages of WFH? Employees regain valuable time in not having to commute and are able to set their own work schedules. Working in your comfortable home environment can increase productivity. Employers can cut costs with smaller office spaces and amenities. They can also hire people from all over, not worrying about proximity to the office. Deeping the talent pool pushes diversity and in turn, innovation.

In late May 2020, Morning Consult surveyed US workers, 54% said they wanted to work remotely. But of those already working remotely, over 50% said they feel less connected to their company, which highlights a larger problem with WFH: management. Jody Thompson, who worked on Best Buy’s failed WFH program, said that part of the reason the program failed was that when the company was doing poorly, management began to fear that they were giving their employees way too much freedom. “It went back to a philosophy of ‘If I can see people, that means they must be working.” she said. And so, the employees when back the office.

A lot of companies have been surprised by the productivity increases

“People are shocked. No one found a drop-in productivity. Most found an increase.”

A lot of companies have been surprised by the productivity increases coming from WFH. John Sullivan, a professor of management at San Francisco State University said, “People are shocked. No one found a drop-in productivity. Most found an increase.”

Proving that the problem may not be the employees, but how they are managed. Now that everyone has to work remotely, it has helped many managers understand what it’s like to work from home and what their employees need to WFH effectively.  

So, as Jody Thompson said, it all comes down to trusting your employees.

What do you think has caused WFH to fail in the past? DO you think that technology like Zoom will help working remotely succeed this time?

You Deserve A Break

When you work from home it’s easy to feel like you always need to be actually working. Working from home can blur the line between “work” time and “you” time.

Therefore, it’s especially important to take some time out of the workday for yourself. Carving out that time can actually help you work more productively. Take short breaks when you feel you need them, even if it’s just getting up and stretching your legs for a bit.

Schedule a time to have lunch, away from your computer. You could even go out and get lunch at your favorite neighborhood lunch spot. (Just make sure you communicate with your team that you are stepping out for a bit.)

Set goals for yourself. Then treat yourself to a walk, a cup of coffee, or a snack when you cross tasks off your list. If possible, give yourself a change in scenery. Go to your favorite coffee shop and make it a goal to finish a specific project while you are there. Mix it up!  

If you are not used to it, working from home can feel like a wrench in your daily life. Use your rewards as a way to make it enjoyable! It’s okay to have fun with it. If life gives you lemons… make some lemonade.