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home : columns : dear harriette August 13, 2020

5/28/2020 8:04:00 AM
Employee working from home keeps gaining weight

DEAR HARRIETTE: Working from home every day and staring into a computer screen is making me nuts. I feel like I sit all day long. And I have the extra weight to prove it. It's horrible. I don't even want to get on the scale to see the damage I've done to my body. I'm mortified by the thought. I'm grateful to be working, but this isn't sustainable. I am on teleconferences all day long, and I am forced to sit at my desk, not moving for hours. My smartwatch screams at me to stand up, but I keep sitting because that's where the meetings happen -- on my computer. What can I do to take better care of myself? The end of this way of working is nowhere in sight. I don't know if I am going to survive it. -- SOS

DEAR SOS: Can you elevate your computer so that you can stand during some of your calls? That is one way to get you out of that chair. In between meetings, stand up, stretch and walk around. Just like the guidelines to avoid getting carpel tunnel syndrome, every 20 minutes you should stand and stretch your body, including your arms and legs. Listen to your watch and stand.

Beyond that, figure out a time of day when you can exercise. If you can start your day an hour earlier, get up and either do a series of exercises in your house or take a walk. Move your body to get the blood circulating. In the evening, be sure to stretch again. Since you aren't as physically active as you used to be, eat less. Dramatically reduce your carbohydrate intake, too. Wear clothes that don't stretch. This will help you to keep track of your physical expansion.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have hired two young people to work with me on a project. It's good because everybody can work from home. Their work is mostly research, but it does involve talking to a number of people they don't know. I've been training them on the questioning process so that they can gather the data properly. So far, that is going pretty well. What is harder is getting them to realize that they have to look professional even though they are working from home. All of our calls are videoconferences. These kids are showing up looking like they just rolled out of bed with disheveled hair and the same sweatshirts every day. I know we are working from home, but it is still work. I need to drive home the point that this is a professional job, and there are expectations. How can I get them to comply? -- Dress for Work

DEAR DRESS FOR WORK: You have to be direct with them. Call them on their attire, and tell them what you expect them to wear when they are talking to you and when they are contacting others. Point out that even though you are working remotely, this is a professional engagement with specific expectations. Write them down so that your team is clear about what they are. The more direct you are with them, the easier it will be for them to follow your rules.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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