December 30, 2020

Practical Tips to Help You Avoid Burnout While Working From Home

The global pandemic notwithstanding, more and more people are negotiating for more flexible working hours, which often means remote working and a lot of working from home. For any employee, the level of flexibility therein accorded is something short of a dream come true. While it might not be an option that works for everyone, it’s an arrangement that’s now preferred by most employers, and most people who preferred the order of commutes to and from work and getting things done by a specific time have had to get on with the way things are now.

But even with the flexibility and the extra layer of freedom that comes from working from home, one thing is clear – more than ever, the risk of burnout is at a high. And with burnout, there’s the drop in productivity, which only harms a company’s bottom line, not to mention individual health. So, how do we go about it? How do you draw the line between work and non-work tasks, personal and professional lives? With your afternoons blending with the evening and the weekdays blending with your weekends, and consequently a very little sense of time off, how do you keep up or maintain your flow, mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing? And more importantly, how do you balance work and family without burning out completely? 

In this article, we share some tips for avoiding burnout while working from home. 

1.Set Boundaries - Physical and Social Boundaries 
In a paper published by Arizona State University’s Blake Ashforth, some of the ways in which you could create demarcations to show transitions from your work to the non-work roles involved the use of boundary-crossing activities like putting on your work clothes or even commuting to ‘work’ even if work is a café or a park. These actions represent physical and also social indicators that show that there’s been some change – that you have changed from the ‘work you’re to the ‘home you.’ 

Such boundaries offer a short term solution to your boundary issues with the transitions and the bit where you dress up for work, even working from your home office, sending signals to your brain to show a change. When you change back to your home clothes, it will mean that you no longer need to be working actively, which allows you to relax and switch off your ‘work brain.’

2.Create Work Budgets 
This could also be described as setting and maintaining temporal boundaries. This is a critical element when it comes to your work engagement and wellbeing since it has to do with time management. Coming up with time budgets is especially important when you work with teams – where some parties have kids and household responsibilities while others are more flexible. This is pretty much the situation that most of us find ourselves in, which makes the traditional 9-5 unrealistic. 

To ensure elder-care and childcare responsibilities are catered for without affecting your performance at work, consciously come up with a work-time budget that works for you without being too restrictive or disrespectful to others. Whether you have children or not, you could practice creating a more intentional work time budget by incorporating an ‘Out of Office’ reply for specific hours of the day. Doing this allows you to focus on work, uninterrupted. You could also notify the rest of the team that your responses will be slower or that you won’t respond as frequently as you normally would. 

Keep in mind, however, that even with the temporal boundaries and knowing that you will only focus on work well when your child naps, it’s important for company leaders to come up with structures to ensure coordination and management of the pace of work – this would mean virtual check-ins, as well as the creation of virtual workspaces or coffee as a healthy disruption.

3.Focus on the most important work 
Want that feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day? Focus on your most important work. Working from home is, in no way, the time for endless busywork, which means that you must devote your energy to the top priority tasks. Be careful not to be in a position where all you do is project an appearance of productivity, even when you aren’t really productive. In other words, avoid multitasking and interruptions. Also, you should avoid being the employee who’s ‘on’ all the time because this puts you at a higher risk of burnout. 

Along the same lines of temporal boundaries, avoid trying to squeeze in email and work responses whenever you have a few minutes to do so, even during movies and weekends – this is detrimental to your wellbeing and also counterproductive. So, learn to carve out specific non-work time and give yourself mental space. If this means switching off your Netgear Armor wireless internet access to specific devices for a day during the weekend or for some hours, you should do it.  
Other tips 
- Carve out your specific space for relaxing, even if you opt for a comfortable, luxurious chair 
- Practice self-care – sleep in and practice mindfulness. 
- Take a day off 
We are working harder and much longer today, more than ever. What this means is that we need to take breaks more than ever. We also need to set limits and say no more, especially if we are to remain productive and effective. If you have been struggling to find balance, we hope that the tips shared above help you navigate your working from home schedule better.

While you're at it, you may want to also check this infographic that may help you work from home efficiently:

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1 comment:

  1. For those whose having a hard time mixing worklife to personal life, working at home would be a tough call. Just because you work at home, doesn't mean it is easy.


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