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Working from home simply isn’t for all of us – and that’s okay. While the COVID-19 pandemic has inspired half a decade’s worth of digital acceleration, there are certain people who long for that more traditional office environment allowing them to separate work from home. For many, it’s the uncertainty about when working in this way is going to end that’s causing them issues.
Nonetheless, the world hasn’t given us much choice, and so for many, getting used to working from home is going to be essential to preventing burnout while carrying out your duties remotely. Fortunately, we’ve outlined our top tips so that you can start to identify your mental exhaustion before it creates a problem.
1. Take Advantage Of The Flexibility
Whether working remotely suits you or not, one obvious plus to being in the comfort of your own home is that you can take advantage of the flexibility working from home provides. Unlike in the office, you aren’t chained to your desk and people aren’t there to start chattering if you go off to take a breather. Remember, there’s no shame in getting up to go and make a coffee, or taking a few minutes to do a bit of laundry. Enjoy the flexibility while you can and make the most of the time at home you would never have been able to enjoy previously.
2. Get Up And Walk
Mentally it can be draining sitting in front of a laptop on your own every day. The office naturally provides that necessary bit of lighthearted relief you need to get through a working day but without the workplace banter or watercooler chats, days spent working from home can be a bit dim. Therefore, take the time to get up and go for a walk and give yourself a breather. According to an Australian study that took place in Melbourne, breaking up long periods of sitting with even just a light intensity walk can have a profound effect on counteracting fatigue, thereby preventing burnout.
3. Take Regular Breaks
If walks aren’t really your thing, then make sure you are still stopping to rest and giving your eyes a break from the screen. One activity that has proven popular among remote workers is meditation.
If you’ve got a virtual pitch coming up in the afternoon and you are feeling a bit burnt out by lunch, then meditating could help get your mind focused and have you back on track in no time. Some of the best meditation apps are free to download and are available for both iPhone and Android users. This makes it super simple to squeeze in an hour’s calm at lunch before the stress of a busy afternoon of remote working!
4. Know When To Stop
After a hard day’s work, it’s more crucial than ever to know when to stop. Digital acceleration has meant that we’re often only at the end of a phone call, text message, or IM notification but that needn’t mean we let our colleagues bug us about something that could wait for tomorrow.
It’s important to put your work-life balance first in order to avoid burnout. While it might not seem like much to answer an email quickly there and then, colleagues will get into a habit of contacting you late at night knowing that there is a chance you’ll get back to them. Keep work and home separate and you’ll be able to prevent burnout while working remotely.
5. Have A Dedicated Workspace
Not all of us are lucky enough to have access to dedicated office space but if you are still working from your couch or are slouched up in bed, then you are never going to be your most productive.
Burnout often stems from not having separation from one thing to another and if you are working where you are sleeping, eating or relaxing, then having that level of separation is going to be extremely difficult. Invest in a proper desk and work away from the other parts of your home that you tend to relax in after hours. Getting your posture right is important too, as that will help to alleviate physical pain, as well as the mental stress working from home can often cause.
6. Make Time For Family
If you are working from home during coronavirus, then you might also be homeschooling your children whose education establishments are currently closed. This is a clear cause of burnout among many home workers, as it is almost impossible to juggle both tasks.
That said, it is still important for you to make time for family while working remotely. In a time where we are seeing fewer of our colleagues and friends, having strong family connections can provide the emotional support you may need to get through a period of remote working.
7. Communicate Regularly With Colleagues
If you are a bit of an extrovert, then the lack of interaction with colleagues may be causing you the most grief during the lockdown. Sitting in a home-office space without coworkers can make the best of us feel very isolated.
What is important is to establish regular communication with your colleagues and ensure you are all balancing your workloads appropriately. Don’t struggle on your own because nobody is offering to help you. Keep in contact with colleagues and you are sure to beat that feeling of burnout.
8. Reclaim Your Commute
This might sound like a strange tip but one of the biggest reasons for burnout among remote workers is the LACK of a commute. Our train journey home or walk to the office is often the only time we tend to get to ourselves where we might enjoy our favorite podcast, listen to music, or binge-watch a Netflix series.
Be sure to make time for this lost hour of your working day, even while working from home – we bet you have missed it more than you think!
9. Be Kind To Yourself
Finally, be kinder to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up about not being sat at your desk for every minute of your remote 9-5. The freedom of flexible, remote working means that we can enjoy working from home.
Sometimes it can feel like you are never doing enough and that you are constantly behind but the truth is, you will always have something on that to-do list. Take a step back and ask yourself when your last break was, or mull over everything that you’ve already achieved that day. You must resist the urge to be ‘always on’ as doing so is the fastest way to cause yourself to burn out and start to perform poorly.
Hopefully, our recommendations will keep you in check while working from home. What is most important is to identify burnout early, as its effects are much tougher to reverse.
Nevertheless, if you stick to these tips, then you will be able to identify and prevent burnout before it gets on top of you.
Remember, working from home isn’t for everyone and there is life outside your house or apartment. If you’re ever feeling anxious, then make sure you take on as much of this advice as possible and you’ll be sure to feel better.