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Work-Life Balance: Preventing The From-Home Fifteen
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Work-Life Balance: Preventing The From-Home Fifteen - Executive Leadership Articles

Work-Life Balance: Preventing The From-Home Fifteen

Executive Leadership Articles

Work-Life Balance: Preventing The From-Home Fifteen

Home Sweet Office
More and more workplaces are allowing at least occasional work from home, much to the delight of most people so blessed. The advantages are many and obvious, among them no commute time, flexibility, convenience, and of course the comforts of home. Yet as many learn very quickly, there are a few unexpected (and a few expected) pitfalls with these arrangements, and it’s not a bad idea to approach prepared. One side effect we may not see coming is a dismaying weight gain, an undesirable consequence of some pretty desirable changes.

The From-Home Fifteen
Most of us remember, whether we fell victim or managed not to, the Freshman Fifteen, that almost predictable weight gain we put on during our first year after high school. The combination of decreased physical activity, increased free time, and in many cases unlimited trips through the cafeteria line catch our bodies unaware. Most office dwellers won’t experience such a steep drop off in exercise, but there may be one for commuters taking public transportation. But the easy access to the fridge can’t be underestimated, and it can be compounded by what is likely to be a decrease in stimuli in the comfort of our homes.

One strategy, at least initially when you’re getting established in your home workspace, is to work in your home office as closely as possible to the way as you’d work in your real office. This means getting dressed in what you normally wear, taking breaks when you’d normally take them, and snacking the way you’d normally snack. Nobody’s saying you have to go to the vending machine and pay two bucks for a fifty-cent bag of chips, but if you normally have a handful of trail mix at around 10:00, do the same thing in your new environs. Likewise, it may not be necessary to pack a lunch, but you might find it useful for telling you when you’re done. This is one of those desirable changes we mentioned: there’s nobody around to tell you to stop. But, you know. There’s nobody around to tell you to stop!

Step Out for Lunch
If you normally go out for lunch, see if you can work out something similar in the early days of working from home. You’ll find that a time restriction and good conversation with a friend who can meet you will be good for your mental well-being as well as your personal food boundaries. This is especially useful if you can get out and walk! A few extra minutes of sunshine, fresh air, and moving about can be a real difference-maker.

Just Step Out
Although we advocate strongly for starting off with a routine similar to the one you’re used to, it would be silly not to make adjustments now that you sometimes work from home. Start your adjusting with the things that take advantage of the new arrangement and are of personal benefit. This is why you’re being given the work-from-home choice, after all. Rather than forty-five minutes in traffic twice per day, you can spend forty-five minutes at the gym and forty-five working on that novel, for instance. Start off with one change at a time, so it’s easier to assess the overall value it adds (or subtracts) from your life. When you make a hundred changes at once, it’s difficult to tell which were bad decisions. Find those spaces in your day and environs for getting in the always-elusive daily exercise, even if it’s just a walk around the block. It’s one of the true advantages of working from home.

Naps are Your Friends
We have supported professional nap times for ages, and we’re not stopping now. But again, start with something akin to your regular routine, and add a daily nap time when it makes the most sense. Remember, it’s a nap, not a hibernation, so keep it to a set time and stick with it. Healthy minds are important to healthy bodies, and you’ll often find that a good power nap (in place of, not in addition to!) is better than a snack, a cup of coffee, or a cigarette.

No Excuses, but Be Patient
That two-dollar bag of chips has been a mainstay because it’s all you’ve got. But now that you work from home, you really have nearly unlimited control over your choices. Put yourself in a position to make good ones, whether it’s fresh-and-healthy snacks in the fridge or healthy options for lunch down the street. Keep in mind, though, that you’re in new professional territory. The jolting reality of college life led to that Frosh Fifteen, and it took you a whole summer to figure out how to avoid a Sophomore Sixteen. Similarly, it’s going to take some trial-and-error to ,master the healthy part of working from home. Take a deep breath, embrace the positive possibilities, and explore them with a healthy attitude. You’ll find that healthier living is a true benefit of flexible working arrangements.


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Work-Life Balance: Preventing The From-Home Fifteen - Executive Leadership Articles

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