Three Ways to Defeat Working From Home BurnoutWritten by Carly Simon-Gersuk
Pandemic fatigue is nothing new. It has been over a year since we have turned our kitchen tables into offices and classrooms, but there is a glimmer of hope nearby. With the increase in vaccine distribution and hopes for herd immunity, kids are back in school and organizations are discussing protocols for returning back to the office. In the uncertainty of returning to an office full-time or part-time, if you are like me, you may be feeling worn down waiting.
A study conducted late summer 2020 found that more than two-thirds, 69%, of employees were experiencing burnout symptoms while working from home (1). This was a 20% increase from a similar study conducted in early May. Despite work burnout, most workers were taking less time off than they normally would and many still do not have plans to take any time to decompress.
As workers may experience work-from-home burnout, it is imperative for organizations to create an inclusive remote culture to reduce low productivity, anxiety, and stress. Individually, we can take actions ourselves with these 3 ways to defeat working from home burnout.
It is time to take your nature prescription and reap the health benefits you will get from the outdoors. So put on some sunscreen, grab a hat, and head outside to enjoy many health benefits. From soaking up vitamin D to exercising, opting outside will boost your physical and mental health. Research suggests that spending just 20 minutes in a park, even if you do not exercise while there, is enough to improve your well-being (2).
Sunlight is a powerful tool from bone health to mental health. Studies suggest that soaking up vitamin D helps fight against various conditions from cancer to depression. Furthermore, getting outside can also lead to more exercise. Whether you walk along the beach, hike up in the mountains, or play a sport, get your body moving. Exercise can lower a person’s heart rate, blood pressure, and stress level.
Shut down your computer, turn off your phone ringer, and walk away from your work area —disconnect from your work. On average, employees reported working more than 3 additional hours a day, 15 hours a week, since going remote (1). That 15 hours is like having another part-time job. Whether you need to physically leave your home or go into another room, set boundaries to keep yourself from overworking and fatiguing.
Set attainable hours so you start and stop working for the day within reasonable times. Schedule a lunch break and other times in the day to get up from your desk and go to another area. Whether you enjoy lunch in your yard or meet a friend virtually for coffee, make a conscious attempt to take a break. Lastly, you can come up with an end-of-work ritual — a way to disconnect and make it hard to restart work.
Take initiative and communicate to your manager, team members, family, whomever, that you are feeling a lack of drive. Chances are you are not the only one feeling rundown or unmotivated. Without face-to-face interactions at work, it can be difficult to feel motivated or notice shifts in your or others’ behaviors.
There is a strong link between social support in the workplace and reduced levels of burnout. Positive social interactions with co-workers will factor into happiness and productivity. There are plenty of highs and lows working from home, and we are all in this together. So speak up for yourself and chances are you are also speaking up for someone else.
There are plenty of ways to defeat working from home burnout before it gets too bad. Start with these three ways — opt outside, disconnect, and communicate — to start benefitting your work, physical, and mental health.
Written by Carly Simon-Gersuk