Are You at Risk for Chronic Burnout from Working at Home?
For many, the new “normal” work routine involves getting out of bed, heading to the computer, and logging in to work. Gone are the breakfast/coffee on the go, rush-hour commutes, and so much more. The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted our workplaces from the office to our living rooms and kitchen tables.
While it’s true that this has been good because it’s kept employees safe and slowed the spread of COVID-19, it has also caused a few other issues to arise, including increased stress levels and, eventually, burnout.
What is Burnout?
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), an individual can be diagnosed with burnout if they exhibit the following symptoms:
- Decreased engagement
- Negativity/cynicism about your job
- Exhaustion/energy depletion
- Decreased productivity/efficacy
Unfortunately, the adverse effects of burnout can go beyond workplace responsibilities, extending into your home and social life. Additionally, it can increase your risk of developing certain chronic illnesses.
What Causes Burnout?
Because burnout is due to prolonged, chronic stress in the workplace, it’s critical to recognize and understand the indications of workplace stress. Some of the most common workplace stressors include:
- Long hours
- Job security concerns
- Heavy workload
- Lack of work/life balance
Signs of Burnout
While it’s true that dealing with stress is just part of being human, and perhaps these uncertain times are elevating your stress levels, it’s critical to pay attention to signs of prolonged exposure to stress. Following are a few early warning signs of burnout:
- Short temper
- Stomach/back problems
- Low morale
If you are experiencing any of these, consider discussing with your supervisor or manager to address your stress issues.
Tips for Preventing Burnout While Working from Home
There are a few things that you can do to decrease your stress levels and therefore your risk of burnout while working from home. We will discuss a few of those below:
Create a schedule
Working from home is convenient. You don’t have the commute, so it can be hard to step away when your day is over. This typically means that you end up working much longer hours than normal. However, don’t feel like you have to do this. Instead, set a schedule and only work the hours you would if you were in the office.
If you start to feel stress creeping in, don’t go into panic mode. Take a deep breath and consider all of the tasks that need to be completed. Write them all down and then put realistic deadlines on them.
Set up a Separate Workspace
Many remote workers have set up at their kitchen table or in their living rooms- but if you want to separate work from home, you need to set up a separate area where you can work. This way, you can focus on your work when you’re working, but you can also step away and decompress once the day is over.
Focus on the Things You Can Control
You know what is expected of you in your job description. Take larger tasks and assignments and break them down into smaller, easier-to-manage steps.
One way to decrease stress and clear your mind during your workday is to change your scenery. Take a quick walk around the block, step outside, or whatever works for you. Get up and walk away. The point is to give your mind a rest.
When you have a lot to take care of, you might be tempted to rush them. However, when you rush, you’re only punishing yourself. You increase your risk of making a mistake. When you start to feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath and slow down.
When you’re working, try to think positively. Avoid negative thinkers and acknowledge what you’ve accomplished, even if you mentally congratulate yourself.
Communicate and Be Honest
Though you’re working from home, you’re still part of the team and thus should be communicating with them. If you need some extra help because you’re feeling burnt out, ask for help! Don’t think that just because you’re not in the office, you’re removed. You are still part of the team, and communication is critical for that.
If you are experiencing burnout, contact your manager/supervisor to see if they can help you or direct you to someone who can. You may also find it helpful to talk to other women as they may help take some of the stress off of your shoulders.
Another option is to find Bevmax Office Centers near you. This is where you can set up office space and not have to worry about it being in your home.