It’s been more than half a year since the pandemic caused a lot of businesses to enact work from home orders to keep employees safe from the virus. With America still getting thousands of new COVID-19 cases a day and vaccine development still underway, the end of your remote working journey is nowhere in sight.
The Ups and Downs of Remote Work
Working from home has a few benefits for some people. Prodoscore, a productivity intelligence software provider, found that employee productivity rose by about 47 percent in 2020 despite the pandemic and work from home policies. There’s also the ever-popular Stanford study, which found that remote work resulted in a 13 percent performance boost for employees. However, the author, of the latter paper recently discussed the possible productivity pitfalls of working from home as well.
He stated that his study, only workers with a home office could work from home. They also returned to their offices every fifth day of the week for in-person collaboration. Some people, who have no choice but to work remotely during the pandemic don’t have a home office. They have to work in their bedrooms and living rooms, often distracted by their family members or roommates.
Going to the office isn’t safe, too.
The Consequences of Burnout
The absence of choice and little to no work-life balance are what make working from home stressful for some employees. This constant feeling of stress can lead to burnout. And when you’re too physically and mentally exhausted because of work, productivity is nearly impossible to achieve. Burnout can also lead to physical and mental conditions, like fatigue, insomnia, elevated blood pressure and vulnerability to diseases.
So what can you do to prevent getting burnt out when you’re working remotely?
- Don’t be afraid to take breaks — Not everyone can focus properly when working from home. If your tasks get too much to handle, don’t be afraid to take breaks. Take 15 to 30 minutes off to rest your eyes and back, walk around the block, or eat your favorite snack food. If you feel you’re at your limit for the week, don’t be afraid to take a vacation or sick day. Take all the naps you want. Give yourself a treat by ordering takeout from that restaurant you’ve been eyeing or visiting your massage therapist. Don’t let productivity get in the way of self-care.
- Get Yourself in a Rhythm — You won’t be in the direct vicinity of your boss or even your other co-workers when working from home. This gives you the liberty to loosen up a bit, waking up just minutes before you log in and eating breakfast while working on your early morning tasks. These habits may seem delightful at first, but they actually throw you off your routine. Pretty soon, you start to lose track of time and end up working overtime because you were too comfortable. Follow your pre-pandemic routine. Get ready for work by waking up early, eating breakfast, and even showering before your sign-in. This way, you’re comfortable and energized for your tasks. Divide and conquer your tasks as though you need to get home before rush hour starts. This way, you’re motivated to get your work done on-time instead of slacking around because you don’t have to worry about your commute.
- Set Proper Boundaries — When you don’t have a separate office to work in, the boundary between home and work can be blurred significantly. When this happens, you end up feeling like you’re living the same day over and over and that life is just passing you by. One way to avoid this awful feeling is to set physical and mental boundaries when working from home. Create a dedicated work station in your home that’s away from your room and other distractions. This can be a spare space in your kitchen or one of your home’s empty rooms. Stick to your routine and take scheduled breaks. When your workday is over, it has to be completely over. Don’t respond to work messages or do extra tasks after your shift unless they’re extremely urgent.
Make sure to do what you love, like working hobbies or communicating with loved ones during your free time, too. If you must combine leisure with some type of work, try looking up inspirational business movies. You may be taking a break from work, but the right flick could still recharge your brain-at-work.
By creating these boundaries, you get to focus on work when you need to, and enjoy doing what you love without worries.
Working from home isn’t for everyone. As such, some employees may be more vulnerable to burnout than others. You don’t want to be in a constant loop of mental and physical exhaustion, especially when you also have to worry about the effects of the recent pandemic. Use these suggestions to keep yourself burnout-free while working remotely.