When I was still working at the office everyday, I always wished there was an option to work from home. I loved the thought of being able to multitask and get a head start on the week’s chores. For example, I could already load the laundry and the dishwasher during office hours. Also, since I didn’t have to commute to work, that would be both money and time saved.
During the first few months of lockdown, I was happy to be able to work from home, and I still see it as a privilege until now. But to be honest, long periods of working from home can take a toll too. I am lucky that I am able to go to the office to work when I want to (as long as Auckland is at alert level 1). So I sometimes go there to work once every week or so, for a change in scenery and to catch up with some colleagues. However, most people aren’t able to do that. According to a survey, 69% of employees are feeling burned out while working from home.
So, why do we feel burnt out from working from home?
- There are expectations to be available/online all the time. It becomes unclear when your work-mode starts and stops.
- There’s more pressure to perform and achieve. With you not being physically present at your place of work, there is an invisible need to prove that you can still perform well, if not better. So we sometimes (if not most of the time) take on more workload than our capacity, which is ultimately unsustainable.
- Distractions at home can make the environment unprofessional and less conducive to getting work done.
Here are some tips on how to deal with work from home burnout:
- Set boundaries and keep them. I think this is the most important tip. Turn off your work laptop and work phone when you are done working for the day (not too late, hopefully).
- Establish a routine. I find that I can work better when I wake up earlier and have time to prepare and eat breakfast, wash up, and dress up, instead of going straight to work in my jammies.
- Designate a workspace, if you can. This can help set the environment and have a bit of separation between home and work.
- Take breaks. Even if you are working at home, take a 10-15 minute coffee break. Take time to enjoy your lunch break as well.
- Actually, it’s better if you can take a day off. I know we can sometimes feel guilty of taking a day off when we’re already working from home, but a day or two without having to think of work can do wonders.
- Remember that it’s okay to talk about it and ask for help. Talk to your manager about your concerns and ask for help when needed.
I know some of the tips above may not be applicable to everyone. But hopefully, there is a tip or two that can help you manage the feeling of burnout. Do you have any other tips to share?