For many, the COVID lockdowns signaled an improvement in their lives, with working from home meaning less time commuting, more time with family, and more control over their working environments. For others, however, the time proved stressful and many reported feeling tired or burnt out. And burnout can have serious consequences – over three quarters of people report feeling burnout at some point and those who do are more likely to take sick days or go to hospital.  

This burnout can have many causes: it could be difficult to manage the divide between family and work, it could be putting increased work demands, or it could simply be the time away from an energizing work environment. Whatever the cause, it is important to recognize burnout as soon as it starts to appear and address it head-on to ensure that you can perform your tasks to the best of your ability – and hopefully with a sense of enjoyment as well.  I have found the following tips helpful to manage burnout in my career.

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  1. Clear communication 

Because you may not be going to the office, or everyone in your team is not at the office, it becomes a bit more difficult to know what everyone is doing at some point. It is therefore more important than ever to communicate effectively about your workload. Whenever new work comes in, discuss the priority order with those around you. If everyone is clear on what can be expected and when, you won’t have to grapple with an unmanageable workload or unrealistic deadlines.  

2. It’s not just about the work 

Often, when we feel burnt out, it is not just as a result of work. Diet and exercise, for instance, may also play a role. Also make sure that the lighting in your workspace is at the appropriate level. By adopting a holistic approach, we guard ourselves as much as possible against the effects of burnout. Working in short bursts and doing breathing exercises can also assist in strengthening your body to combat burnout.  

3. Get to the root cause 

We all get irritated at work – it is one of those unavoidable things. However, if the irritation persists, it could lead to burnout. So, when you feel that you are constantly irritated, take a step back and make a list of all the things that are within your power to change and start to change them. For those beyond your control, you may want to ask a superior or ask for a team meeting where you can all discuss solutions to a problem that is probably making everyone less productive. The business has probably already invested a lot in you and want you to succeed. Therefore, if you show that you are also looking for ways to be more productive, those around you are bound to support you.  

4. Make contact 

One thing the Covid lockdown has robbed from us is the informal chats we had around the watercooler. Be sure to make time to chat to your colleagues in an informal setting, just to maintain the sense of camaraderie. It is often in these informal chats that people become aligned in terms of working better together.