Millions across North America have been working from home (WFH) since the middle of March. As a result, many are beginning to feel the burnout of WFH. The combination of longer workdays, more family-related responsibilities, and isolation is starting to take its toll. A recent survey by Glint revealed that responses discussing burnout doubled from March to April (from 2.7% to 5.4%). As stay at home orders linger, this feeling will continue to increase, impacting our productivity, mental health, and overall attitude towards our work.
For most of us that are lucky enough to work from home, the division between work and home is looking a little blurry. If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed while working remotely, here is how to avoid WFH burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Separation between work and home
One of the biggest challenges of working from home is the unclear division between home and work. It’s easy to feel obligated to continue working when you’re at home. With more effective communication, thanks to the soaring adoption of video technologies, it’s easy to overwork yourself. In fact, the average remote employee works an extra 1.4 more days per month than when working in the office. When WFH, you never really feel like you are ‘off’ of work, and therefore, continue to check those emails.
To mitigate this, create a physical divide between your work life and your home life. Try and set up a home office or workstation where all you do is work. It will help you eliminate distractions and be more productive. When you’re through with your work, try and leave the area for the day. Physically separating yourself from work will help avoid the WFH burnout.
Don’t forget to take breaks and get up from your computer. It can be easy to sit down and not get up for a few hours. If you struggle with this, set a timer or calendar reminder to get up every hour for a couple of minutes and stretch. You will feel a little refreshed if you take small breaks throughout the day.
Maintain a routine
Try and create a routine while working from home, just like you would if you were at the office. Wake up at the same time every day, shower, get ready, eat some breakfast, take a lunch break, etc. Creating a routine will help work, well, feel like work! Maintaining a routine will prevent you from feeling burnt out because it will feel like it’s a typical working day. It will also help you maintain a stricter work schedule, so you don’t overwork yourself. Whatever your routine looks like, stick with it, and it will help create further separation for your work life and your home life.
Block out some ‘me time’
It’s critical to take some personal time during these uncertain circumstances. Most of us have a lot of additional stressors and anxiety right now – finances, feeling contained, balancing work and family responsibilities, and possibly even acting as a teacher for your kids who’re finishing up the school year online. That’s a lot to take on, and it can be challenging to have some “me time.” Block out some personal time each day, even if it’s just an hour, to relax and decompress from all your responsibilities. Turn your phone off, read a book, go for a walk, watch some Netflix, or whatever it is you need to do to unwind.
If you are really feeling overwhelmed, consider taking a day off work. 31% of employees have taken a day off from work for their mental health. If you can do this, you will come back feeling refreshed and able to concentrate on your job better.