No doubt, working remotely from home offers several advantages and unique opportunities for both employers and employees. However, it also comes with one primary drawback — a higher risk of work burnout. According to statistics, 86% of people who work from home experience burnout symptoms. That’s an alarming number!
In this article, we’ll walk you through various measures you can put in place to avoid burning out while working remotely. In addition, we’ll also explore what job burnout is and why it is more common among people who work from home.
1. What is Job Burnout?
According to WHO, burnout at work is a syndrome resulting from chronic work-related stress that has not been managed effectively or successfully. More often than not, a person suffering from job burnout will experience these three symptoms:
- Feelings of energy depletion or extreme exhaustion
- Feelings of bitterness or negativity toward the job in question, leading to mental distancing from work
- Reduced professional proficiency and efficiency
In addition, a person suffering from job burnout will usually experience sentiments of lost personal identity and reduced accomplishment. Unfortunately, your co-workers will usually have no idea about what you’re going through, as remote work means you’ll typically not see them face-to-face.
That said, what exactly causes job burnout? We’ll examine that in a minute.
2. Reasons for Remote Work Burnout
Several surveys show that the frequency of job burnout is on the rise, especially since the boost in the number of remote workers. Experts believe that “flexible work schedules” plays a critical role in pushing these numbers higher.
How？ 70% of professionals who work from anywhere (WFA) and have “flexible” schedules are now working longer hours every day. In other words, many workers simply do not know when to stop or take a break due to the absence of office hours constraints.
Furthermore, due to the nature of remote work, many employees also put undue pressure on themselves by trying to be available at all hours of the day. So, how do you know if you’re suffering from or close to job burnout?
Common Symptoms Associated with Work-related Burnouts:
- Inability to concentrate
- Irritability towards co-workers
- Being unnecessarily critical or pessimistic toward work
- Little or no satisfaction from achievements
- Lack of enthusiasm for work
Now, here’s the million-dollar question — how do you avoid the job burnouts that come with working from home?
3. How to Avoid WFH Burnout?
While it may be impossible to eliminate burnout in remote work (or even the physical workplace), you can drastically reduce its occurrence. The following paragraphs provide a guide to lowering job burnout cases when you work from home.
(1) Create a comfortable office area
Remember, you’ll spend a lot of time in your home office. Therefore, it is crucial to make it as comfortable as possible. This way, you’ll have one less reason to become irritated or frustrated with your work. Here are some tips you can try:
- Keep your office area clean at all times
- Acquire indoor green plants — they can reduce stress and boost your mood
- Let natural light from the sun come into your workspace
(2) Eliminate Distractions
Understandably, distractions are commonplace in the office — remote or not. But, here’s the problem. Distractions keep you from the task at hand, which increases the duration you’ll typically spend completing that task.
So, ultimately, you’ll have to spend more time working, making it seem like work takes all your time. On the other hand, eliminating distractions will help you get through work faster. Then, you can focus on your other engagements — family, friends, hobbies, etc. The Pomodoro technique can help you get more productive with your time.
(3) Create a timetable for your daily task
Another trick to avoiding work burnout is creating a timetable for all you have to do in a day. This way, you know all your deliverables and obligations for the day. More importantly, you know when you’re done with work — as soon as you’ve ticked off all the items on your list.
But, remember to balance things out and not overload yourself with work. Software like Notion can help you create a work timetable that enables you to keep your daily schedule in balance.
Pro tip? Remember to add break periods for rest and food to your timetable. Check out how Evernote does it.
(4) Maintain contact and efficient communication
Communication is vital, especially when you work remotely as team members are not in the same physical location. However, aside from aiding productivity, good communication can also reduce burnout occurrences.
For instance, use audio and video conferencing equipment. When you communicate promptly, your co-workers are aware of deliverable timelines and potential issues and make relevant adjustments without stressing you out.
(5) Maintain remote social relationships
Remote work is no excuse to estrange yourself. After all, the internet and Audio Visual Collaboration Equipment allow us to connect with people regardless of distance or location restraints. So, it is usually best to take advantage of this.
Social relationships with your co-workers can be instrumental in helping you avoid burnout, as you can foster connections that go beyond work. Besides, talking to someone who can relate to similar work issues can make those issues seem lighter.
(6) Be kind to yourself
Finally, you’re a primary determinant of whether you experience job burnout or not. So, take it easy on yourself. Remember, there is more to life than work. So, be kind to yourself.
You don’t have to go so hard every day. Sometimes, take some time off work to rest and enjoy time away from the job. Also, don’t be so hard on yourself when mistakes happen. Human beings will always make mistakes. So, instead, seek out a way to rectify them.
Pro tip? Work will always try to stress you out. But it only happens if you let it.