The coronavirus pandemic caused many businesses around the globe to switch to a work from home setup to ensure continued operations. While business owners expressed concern about the productivity of their remote staff, they should also pay attention to the risk of their employees getting burned out.
Remote work can sometimes blur the lines between an employee's personal and professional life, and many who are working from home for the first time may struggle to preserve a healthy balance between the two. Some employees may feel that they have to work round the clock to prove they're being productive, while others may have to juggle the demands of work and home life, all of which can lead to burnout.
The World Health Organization classified burnout as an occupational phenomenon rather than a medical condition. It is characterized by three symptoms:
- Feeling of exhaustion or extreme energy depletion
- Increased feelings of negativism, mental distance from one's work, and cynicism of one's job
- Reduced productivity
In a survey conducted by Eagle Hill Consulting, 58% of employees reported experiencing burnout as of August 2020, with nearly 45% attributing it to their workload in the early days of the pandemic.
Remote work can sometimes blur the lines between an employee's personal and professional life, and many who are working from home for the first time may struggle to preserve a healthy balance between the two.
Tips to fight burnout while working at home
If you're experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned or you find it hard to balance your personal life with your work life, here are some tips you can use:
1. Build a routine
Waking up at the same time every day and establishing a routine helps get you in the right mindset and will help you relax at the end of the day. Here are some examples:
- Morning routine
- Take a hot shower and put on your work clothes.
- Make your breakfast and plan your to-do-list for the day.
- Walk around your home (to replace your drive or commute to work).
- End-of-day routine
- Turn off your computer or laptop and clean your workspace.
- Set your phone on airplane mode or silent while doing chores.
- Listen to relaxing music or watch a movie.
2. Establish boundaries
Just because you're working from home doesn't mean you always have to be available. Establish a work schedule you're comfortable with and follow it to the letter. If you live with other people, inform them of your work schedule so that they'll know not to disturb you.
Avoid work-related phone calls, emails, and video meetings after your shift so you can spend quality time with your family or just lay back with a good book. Working after your shift or even on weekends can lead to increased stress and burnout, which can result in lower productivity in the long run.
3. Take regular breaks
Attending multiple meetings in one day or getting too caught up in a project to beat a deadline can leave you overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted. Building breaks into your day gives you time to relax and clear your mind, allowing you to stay focused, motivated, and productive. So go ahead and have a cup of tea or coffee, fix yourself a snack, or take a nap.
4. Prioritize self-care
Self-care is the practice of doing certain things to improve or preserve your physical and mental well-being. It can help reduce stress, anxiety, depression, frustration, and anger while improving concentration, energy, and happiness. Self-care is different for everyone because each of us has different needs, but some examples of self-care include:
- Getting quality sleep
- Eating healthy food
- Taking a hot bath
- Listening to soothing music
By listening to your body and paying attention to your well-being, you will be better equipped to handle work from home burnout.
5. Take a vacation
Burnout is the result of working too hard, too often. Take a vacation, even if you spend it at home. This will help you disconnect from work for a while and give your mind and body time to recuperate. Do the things you enjoy, or don't do anything at all. Use your paid time off and just sit back and relax.
Work from home burnout is real for many people, but these tips will help you manage and control the factors that lead to burnout to ensure you stay productive.
If you're looking for ways to improve your remote team's productivity, our free eBook "Make remote working work for your business" will show you how to create an effective remote work policy. Download it now.