5 Ways to Break Up a Boring Workday

Many of us are working from home right now. Some like the change and prefer working remotely – there is no long commute to work, you can dress more casually, and you don’t have to deal with all of the interruptions that are part of office work.

However, working from home has its drawbacks: the lines between work and personal life can become blurred. And it can become a bit monotonous. After all, when your workspace is only a short walk from our bedroom, the scenery isn’t going to change that much.

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To break up the tedium, people may turn to diversions like social media or even online gaming. But these are not the healthiest sorts of distractions from work because people can become caught up in them, developing behavior that is addictive. Activities meant to be a break from work can end up taking people away from their work much longer than they had intended.

But there are other things you can do to break up the sameness of the workday that won’t hinder your productivity, but may actually help it.

  1. A new location

Organizational experts recommend having a dedicated workspace when operating from home. And generally this is good advice. It helps to separate work from other areas of your life. But working in the same location all the time might become a bit too boring.

For a change of pace, you can use different locations around the house as your home office throughout the day. You can work for a while at the dining room table and then the kitchen table or the front porch or backyard patio. For a little variety, you can add decorative touches to your home office, such as paintings, knick-knacks or flowers.

  1. Physical activity

This is another way to break up a boring workday.

Before the pandemic, people went to the gym, ran, swam, and played a variety of different sports. But many of these things are not considered safe now. The pandemic is especially hard on those who liked going to the gym.

When the weather is colder, opportunities for physical activity are fewer. But there are still things you can do. YouTube is a good source for workout related videos, activities that you can do at home. Facebook is another source for workout videos.

When the weather is warmer, there are more opportunities for physical activity outside, such as hiking, walking and running. Find out where the state parks are in your area and get back to nature while enjoying the scenery.

Also, get in some physical activity when you take breaks during the day. Go for a short walk or do some calisthenics or stretching exercises. Deep breathing exercises also help improve your mood and focus better.

  1. Social activities

Take some time during the day to stay in touch with coworkers. For example, you can schedule a virtual coffee break using Zoom or some other digital network like Slack or Google Hangouts. (Note: these breaks would be in addition to any Zoom/video meetings you have specifically for work-related matters.)

  1. Explore

Try out new ways of doing things to boost your productivity. For example, vary the times you do routine tasks and assignments.

  1. A new hobby

This is another way to put a little variety into your life while working from home. Learn a new skill, how to play a musical instrument, read something new. Many of these things you can do during short breaks throughout the day. For example, you can practice the piano for short 15-minute breaks or work on a painting.

If one of the reasons your workday is boring is that you’ve outgrown your position with your current employer, you may be wondering if it’s time to move on to another company.

If so, take a look at Helpmates’ current job opportunities. If one or more look interesting, follow the application directions on the posting. You also can contact the Helpmates branch office nearest you.

Over 65 and Wondering if THIS is the Time to Retire? You’re Not Alone.

If you’re nearing retirement age, you’ve probably wondered: “Is THIS the time to cut the employment cord and retire?”

If so, you’re definitely not alone: even people who haven’t yet reached “full retirement age” (which is about age 66 now, depending on your year of birth) have been thinking of taking early retirement (if they’re at least age 62) or simply calling it quits if they can rely on a younger spouse’s income (or if they feel they’ve enough money saved).

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The main reasons why your age cohort members are thinking this are two:

  • They’ve either been laid off and can’t find work and/or,
  • They’re worried about getting infected by the novel coronavirus and becoming severely ill with COVID-19 if they return to/continue working outside the home.

If you’re thinking of retiring now, some facts:

Additional news you really do need to know…

Let’s say you’re worried about catching the virus because people older than age 65 do tend to be at greater risk for a more pronounced COVID-19 illness. Let’s also say your employer closed its physical location(s) and you’ve been working at home for the last few months, or you’ve been furloughed and haven’t been working at all. But now your employer says its reopening and calls you back on-site. You decide to ask if you can stay at home due to the risk factor.

Unfortunately, your employer is under no obligation to accommodate you under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. (It does have a duty to accommodate you if you’re already covered under the ADA, however.) If you refuse to come in, your employer could let you go and because you “quit voluntarily” you’re probably not eligible for unemployment benefits. (There might be exceptions if your job site “is truly unsafe,” according to the link just provided.)

Of course, if you’ve already been working at home, you always can ask your employer if you can continue to do so.

Not an easy decision (and there’s an understatement)

Unfortunately, for many older workers the pandemic has changed their planned for (hoped for?) retirement schedule. Choosing to retire is not a decision to make quickly; it’s best to sit down (with your partner, if applicable) and crunch some numbers.

If you are an older worker and are looking for work, take a look at our temporary, contract-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities. If one or more appeal to you, either contact the Helpmates’ branch office nearest you or follow the listing’s application instructions.

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