Five Ways to Cure Work at Home Office Fever

Five Ways to Cure Work at Home Office FeverBy Christy Schutz

It may have something to do with my workload lately, or, one could possibly chalk it up to the lovely, sunshine filled days that have been calling me to come outside for a spell, but, I have found myself feeling very isolated and cooped up. Whether it is cabin fever or just the run of the mill side effect of being a Work at Home Woman, I decided to focus today’s post on a few quick tips that will help us to get OUT of the home office more.

1. Take a 15 minute break outside.

Whether it is to walk the dog, or take one of your little one’s outside to play for a bit, a few minutes outside to soak in some fresh air and sun should be one of the perks we enjoy as Work at Home Women. In fact, according to an article published last June in New York Times entitled To Stay on Schedule, Take A Break, there is quite a bit of research to suggest that regular breaks lead to increased productivity and creativity. Not only can rests help our brain “muscle” rest and re-cooperate, but, breaks that encompass some activity like walking are really good for our physical health, too.

2. Eat lunch AWAY from your desk.

I am guilty of eating lunch at my desk about 8 days a week (aka almost all the time). This is another chance to rest, recharge and enjoy a change in scenery that I by dining at the desk, I am missing. And apparently I am not alone. According to a study released in 2011 by Right Management, 65% of employees reported eating lunch at their desks and taking a break for lunch “only from time to time,” and “seldom, if ever.” Research from the University of California-Davis has found that skipping your lunch break, especially to stay focused on a thought-intensive task, will negatively affect your performance. Taking that chance over lunch to let your brain rest helps you to more productively tackle the work once you return.

3. Schedule more face-to-face meetings with your customers and colleagues.

In today’s day and age, it is really easy to conduct most, if not all, of our business from our offices. Through phones, email, text, SMS chat, video conferencing, social networking and more, we can stay in contact and never even leave the house. But, we are relational creatures, and I think there is something to be said for maintaining face-to-face communication with the people we work with. Bizzabo (a company who unabashedly proclaims “We believe in eye contact, handshakes, and face-to-face meetings”), happens to agree. They’ve outlined their case in a clever infographic titled “Face to Face Meetings Are Still Where Business Happens.” Bizzabo cites how despite the fact that users are spending more than 515 minutes connecting digitally via social networks per month, there were over 1.8 million in person meetings with nearly 205 million attendees that were held in 2011. Additionally, they reported that 83% of business professionals believe that developing personal relationships is key in doing business and 53% believe that video conferencing and web-based meetings are a poor substitute to face-to-face meetings. Bottom line is this. Technology is a wonderful blessing that has revolutionized how we do business. But, nothing builds rock solid rapport like in person meetings.

4. Get involved with a local networking group.

Along the same vein as the point above, make a commitment to attend at least one in person gathering per month with a local networking group. There are groups specialized to almost every industry, groups for working women and/or working moms; idea exchanges (like TedX) and much more. Not only does your attendance get you out of your home office, but, it helps to widen your circle of contacts, forge new business partnerships, leverage the goods of services of others in your community and much more.

5. Conduct work in an alternate office for a day or two.

Oftentimes I will crave a change in scenery so badly that I will set up shop in my husband’s office for a day. He is an entrepreneur, so, they are willing to put up with me for a couple of days from time to time. I have some other friends who work from home that will choose to take their laptops and cell phones to the local Starbucks or Panera Bread. I’ve even fantasized about “setting up shop” at the beach, but have worried about whether my cell phone quality would suffer from the crashing waves and ocean breeze. Maybe I’ll choose a day I don’t expect to be on the phone much to test this idea. Results on that to come!
Speaking of beaches… I’m thinking that perhaps a vacation wouldn’t hurt either. But, I think I have already spent another post on that topic!

Are you suffering from cabin fever or spring fever? What tactics do you use to get out of your home office?

Christy Schutz, is a communications professional and freelance writer focused on topics like employer/personal branding, career management, personal development, women in the workplace, and female entrepreneurs. She enjoys putting 16+ years of experience in the advertising, recruitment marketing, employee/internal communications and special events industries to good use by helping others to discover, develop and market their own distinct calling or mission. This Tampa Bay, FL-based Mom also keeps herself busy by raising 4 kids, caring for her husband & doting on her dogs Petey and Daisy!

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