The occurrence of workplace burnout is not just limited to those putting in long hours at the office. It is also a threat to the many thousands of people that are now working from home due to the current health crisis.
WHY IS BURNOUT LIKELY?
The abruptness and degree of the shift to remote working, along with the loss of childcare, economic fallout and all of the personal worries that accompany a global health crisis mean the risk of burnout is intensified.
One of the largest contributors to burnout is lack of work-life balance – something which can be even harder to achieve when we work from home. When you are working in an office, clocking off and commuting times create a forced boundary between your work and home life. When these boundaries are removed people have a tendency to overwork, continuing into evenings and weekends.
To combat this, you need to set clear boundaries:
- Create and enforce a clear cut off point where you will stop working
- Clearly define your free time by doing different activities at weekends
- Make your work and non-work clothes different to signal a break from work.
A LACK OF CONTROL
Employees who feel that they lack control over their daily schedules, interactions and time management are at a risk of burning out, and given the current situation, the worry is real.
It has become to easy to swap between professional and personal activities, loosing a sense of control in both situations. Creating a schedule that designates work, family and free time can help you regain a sense of control.
WANTING TO BE THE PERFECT EMPLOYEE
We are part of a workforce that often finds itself online and never turning down a project. This tendency has been exacerbated by the shift to remote working as we worry that people are going to think that we are not fulfilling our work duties at home. The worry of widespread economic downturn and job security has also added pressure for employees to show how valuable they are.
- Set expectations with your manager: clarify what they are, what works for you and what time scales are required.
With the world being very uncertain at the moment, it is a time for flexibility and understanding.
MISSING COMMUNICATION WITH OTHER PEOPLE
Having a house full of people doesn’t stop you from feeling the isolation that comes from working at home. Work colleagues allow for a different type of interaction: a built-in support network that can provide some relief when things get stressful.
Maintaining these social interactions takes more effort when working from home.
- Be deliberate about reaching out and continuing to foster your previous work connections. Phone or video work the best as you can actually see and/or hear the other person.
Feelings of detachment or not caring about our work can also be signs of burnout.
- Managers should ensure they check in regularly with their team members to help in any way that benefits both their mental and physical well-being.
NOT TAKING TIME FOR YOURSELF
With everything else going on, it can be very difficult to remember to add self-care into your schedule, but it is so important to avoiding burnout.
It can be as easy as slowing down for an afternoon and focusing on just one task that brings you pleasure. Maybe you enjoy cooking or talking to your work team and clients, but if you are doing both of those things at the same time, you aren’t really enjoying either one.
So remember that now – more than ever – employers and employees need to pay attention to mental health, keep things in perspective and create a healthy work-life balance.
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