How to unplug during the relentless workday

January 29, 2021

Jen Farr

Your final alarm goes off (after a few snoozes) and it’s time to start your day. You begin your morning routine, which includes choosing from one of three work-from-home sweatpant ensembles, making a coffee and looking through your inbox and Slack messages ahead of your 9:00 a.m. meeting. The next thing you know, your back hurts, you’re hungry and you look up from your laptop to realize that you haven’t moved from your workspace in six hours.

Sound familiar? Us too.

While many of us were already taking the occasional work from home day before the pandemic with minimal to no issues balancing productivity and wellbeing, something feels different now that this has become a long-term reality. Spontaneous coffee runs and trips to our colleagues’ desks are no longer an option and it can be tough to hold ourselves accountable for taking mental and physical breaks.

So, what can we do to ensure we are prioritizing time for ourselves during the workday to avoid burnout?

Schedule breaks into your calendar

As communications professionals, we understand that it’s not always for a lack of trying – sometimes workloads just don’t allow for a proper lunch break or a mid-day stretch, and that’s okay. But the key word here is sometimes. If you notice this is becoming the rule rather than the exception, consider blocking off time in your calendar to ensure that you are fueling your body and mind throughout the workday. You might find that taking 30 minutes out of your afternoon to briefly unplug will result in more productivity than if you had powered through the whole day without pausing for a moment to recharge.

Connect with colleagues

We know it’s not the same as the conversations in the kitchen at lunch time or the laughs and banter during Friday happy hour (or wine cart, here at K&P), but allow yourself time throughout the day to check in, share fun articles and GIFs, and casually chat with your colleagues. Talking about non-work-related things can feel unproductive – and of course, everything in moderation – but staying connected and bonding as a team is incredibly important to sustain momentum while working remotely.


Even if it’s just a simple walk down the street or a lap or two around your living room, short breaks of physical activity can be an excellent way to re-energize and finish off the rest of your day with focus. It doesn’t need to take a lot of time; you can even start with a quick 10 minutes. If you’re looking for something a little more substantial than a walk, here are some 10-minute online workouts you can try from any location.

The longer remote work continues, the more important our ability to create mental space for ourselves during the workday becomes. No matter what your work from home routine looks like, we hope this serves as inspiration to carve out some time for yourself. You deserve it. Just remember to be gentle with yourself along the way – we’re all still figuring this out, and one way or another, we’ll all get through this.

Have a question? Interested in finding out more?