Working remotely has many pros and cons. Some employees have fallen into unhealthy habits because there are no social boundaries at home. In contrast, others struggle with work-life balance since they can’t leave the house when needed for childcare or other family emergencies.
The pandemic caused employers to close offices which resulted in millions of people working from their homes. While that saved them time commuting, it also took away a lot of structure enforced in the office environment. Working remotely has no set hours, and it also led some parents to struggle with childcare and distance learning. Some employees developed unhealthy habits and lifestyles. Some employees work late into the night, have reduced physical activity, and cannot disconnect.
Over time, the distractions, unhealthy lifestyle, and the little things about work can top up and lead to burnout. Let’s find out more about burnout in the work-from-home setup and how you can avoid it.
What is Burn Out, and Why is it Bad?
Burnout is a pandemic in the modern workforce. It was first identified as an issue among employees in high-pressure societies, but it has spread to other workforces.
Almost 70% of employees are experiencing symptoms like negativity, stress, and exhaustion because they do too much overtime with unclear expectations. It is caused by a lack of autonomy.
Feelings of burnout can result from continual emotional, mental, and physical fatigue caused by stress that has gone on for a long time and hasn’t been addressed. Employees will continue to feel overwhelmed by a demanding work schedule and feel that they cannot keep up with the pace.
Symptoms include a loss of passion for work, frequent headaches, sleep disorders, too much drinking, eating unhealthy foods out of boredom, weight gain/loss due to stress eating, an inability to complete projects on time, or feeling unmotivated.
Tips to help you avoid burnout while working remotely:
1. Take Short Breaks
Working long hours is a common complaint among remote employees. Because of the flexible work schedules, you may not take breaks to accomplish more tasks. Working from home should not feel like being stuck in an office. While it might be okay for some people, other employees have been known to overwork themselves, leading to physical and mental fatigue.
To avoid burnout, try to take a break from work every two hours. It’s understandable if you have a busy schedule, but taking breaks can help you recharge and accomplish more in the long run. When returning from a short break, consider making a list of everything that needs to be done for a significant project.
2. Enjoy the Flexibility
Remote jobs give you the freedom to have a flexible work schedule that makes up for your day job. You might be tempted to overwork yourself because of the flexible hours, but it’s essential to know when to switch gears and take time off if needed.
If you have been working long hours every day, take the weekend off. If you can’t do that, then plan for a vacation or rest days when needed.
3. Create a Routine
The flexibility of remote work means there is no set schedule; however, creating a routine will help you stay focused. Creating your routine doesn’t mean looking at your watch and finding the next task. Instead, it would help if you made a schedule that fits your lifestyle.
Every remote worker has their way of working, and some like to start as early as 5 am while others might not feel productive until later in the day. A routine will help you set boundaries and know when it’s okay to take breaks or work on a task.
4. Communicate with Loved Ones
The work-from-home life can make communication more difficult. You might be tempted to stay away and focus on your tasks to avoid distractions, but the reality is that communication should be a priority.
Loved ones and friends need to understand how you’re feeling, especially if you’re dealing with burnout symptoms. It doesn’t help if they constantly ask when you’ll be available because it might make you feel like you need to prove yourself.
5. Set Boundaries
Remote work can affect your personal life when boundaries aren’t set. In this case, work-life balance becomes harder to maintain. Work-from-homers should know how much work is expected of them on a specific day to optimize their working schedule.
Set boundaries for when you work overtime or when there is a heavy workload. It’s also important to know when you need a break and can leave early. Saying no if you’re feeling overwhelmed is another way to set boundaries.
6. Watch Out for Signs of Burnout
Physical symptoms will be the first sign that your body is dealing with unwanted stress. It might be a headache, backache, or overall fatigue at the end of the day.
If these symptoms don’t go away, you might have to take a break from work and rest for a few days. These symptoms can also show that your body is overcome with stress, so it’s important to monitor yourself while working remotely.
7. Practice Self Care
Your well-being is more important when you are working remotely. People who are less stressed are more likely to have a positive attitude towards work.
Working from home is different for everyone, but you should always take time for yourself, even if it’s just taking a walk during lunch or checking your email at set times.
It’s essential to monitor how you feel because burnout happens when people are overworked for too long. Not only is it bad for your mental health, but it can also affect you physically when you’re always tired.
When working from home, it’s crucial to find the right balance when you’re busy with work and family life. Taking breaks will help keep burnout symptoms at bay, so you can enjoy working remotely.
The remote work revolution is a great thing, but it’s not without its challenges. Remote workers need to be vigilant about burnout. You can initiate a dialogue with your company regarding how they can maintain good performance despite the distance from colleagues and other stresses of being WFH.
Striking that balance between work life and personal life and staying connected with your outside world will help you handle those challenges more efficiently and perform better at work too! What are some things you’ve done to keep yourself sane while working remotely? Please share them in the comments below!