Becoming a workshifter often means a significant lifestyle change. You go from spending 2 hours a day commuting to suddenly having that time back. Where once you had a cafeteria to serve you fresh, hot meals for lunch, you now have to make do with your own refrigerator and stove. Your cubicle mates have now become your IM chat buddies.
As much as switching to the workshifting lifestyle can make us more productive, it doesn’t come without some risks. It is easy to fall into the trap of not taking enough breaks, not eating properly or not staying social. It doesn’t have to be this way. With a few adjustments, we can develop some simple habits that will help ensure our work-from-anywhere experience keeps to a healthy track.
Fuel up with food
When we work in an office, we are surrounded by people who take lunch breaks. We often will gather with our colleagues in the lunchroom and break open our lunch bags together. If we work in a larger office, we will head to the cafeteria. Either way, there are others around to motivate us to take breaks and eat. It is a social affair.
However, when we workshift, we are often alone at lunchtime. And when we are alone, we sometimes will just keep right on working. Before we know it, it’s 3 PM and suddenly we snap out of our work zone and realize we are starving. That’s when the bad decisions happen. Instead of heading to the kitchen to make a good lunch, we reach for the leftover Halloween candy or another cup of coffee.
Food is your fuel. It is essential, if you are going to stay in peak working condition, that you eat. So always have healthy food on hand. Have pre-made soups, chopped veggies, lunch meat and whole-grain bread in stock so when lunch hour hits, you can make something healthy fast. And set an alarm on your phone or computer to go off at lunch time so you remember to take a break.
Use your time
The minute you start workshifting, you suddenly have more time. Often, up to a couple of hours of former commuting time per day is now wide open. And, the first time a blizzard hits on a weekday, you will appreciate working from home even more. So what are you doing with that time? Maybe you are going to work an extra 2 hours Monday to Thursday so you can take Fridays off, if the boss is up for that. Perhaps you will start doing a yoga program for 1 hour a day. Maybe now is the time to start that blog!
Whatever you decide, appreciate the time that has been given back to you now that you don’t have to commute anymore. Do something meaningful with it.
Workshifting is a wonderfully quiet and peaceful way to work. But sometimes it can get kind of lonely. You sort of miss those casual chit-chats with Donna from accounting. You sometimes wish you could do the lunchroom thing again. If you’re feeling a bit lonely in your cozy home office, there are some things you can do.
Make a monthly coffee or lunch date with your colleagues and go hang out with them in person. That face-to-face contact, even if you email or talk on the phone every day, is important. And if you are in a different city from your team, then just take yourself to the coffee shop once in a while. Often just being around other people while you’re working is enough.
Social networks are also a great way to fight workshifting loneliness. I highly recommend Twitter as a way to take a break and say hello. There are thousands of “Donnas from accounting” on Twitter that are happy to share a brief chat anytime.
Overall, workshifting is a great way to work. By following these tips, you can ensure that it remains a positive and healthy experience!
Photo Credit: C.C. Chapman