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Avoiding the Work-From-Home Burnout: Our Top Strategies

Remote work has been growing in popularity over the past few years. With advancements in technology, it's now easier than ever for employees to work productively from home or a location of their choosing. While remote work certainly has its perks like flexible scheduling and no commute, it also comes with the risk of burnout if proper boundaries and self-care are not implemented.

Signs of Burnout Some common signs of burnout for remote employees include:

  • Feeling exhausted all the time
  • Lacking energy and dreading upcoming meetings/tasks
  • Becoming irritable and impatient with coworkers
  • Feeling unmotivated and disengaged from work
  • Having difficulty concentrating and completing tasks efficiently
  • Doubting abilities and confidence in skills
  • Physical symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, change in appetite

If you find yourself relating to some of these experiences, you may be dealing with burnout. The good news is there are strategies you can try to help avoid complete burnout as a remote employee.

Create a Designated Workspace

Even if you are working from home, treat your remote work like a job outside of the home. Create a designated work space that you can leave at the end of your workday as part of establishing boundaries. Whether it's converting a spare bedroom into a home office or just utilizing a desk in the corner of your bedroom, define the space where you will get into "work mode".

Stick to a Routine

One of the biggest struggles of remote work is lacking structure and routine like you'd have in an office setting. Avoid this by implementing set hours when you start and end work each day and take scheduled breaks. Creating and sticking to a daily routine can help boost productivity and mental health.

Take Breaks and Separate from Work

While it's important to stick to a routine, it's equally important to take intermittent breaks and disconnect from work mode. Get up and take a short 10 minute walk outside, stretch, grab a healthy snack, or meditate. Build in longer breaks between meetings when you can completely separate from your computer to avoid screen fatigue. Stepping away from your desk throughout the workday prevents burnout.

Limit Work Distractions

From television noise, pets, children, and house chores, distractions are everywhere when working from home. Try to limit distractions in your workspace and avoid multitasking. For example, schedule family time, chores, and errands outside of work hours. While limiting every distraction may not be possible, reducing multitasking promotes better concentration and less stress.

Leverage Tools and Technology

Take advantage of available technology to help stay efficient and organized when working remotely. Apps for video conferencing, file sharing, time tracking, project management, and more can streamline your work and minimize stress. Automating repeat tasks through technology can also help avoid burnout.

Prioritize Social Connection

Lack of social interaction with coworkers can contribute to potential burnout and feelings of isolation. Make an effort to connect with colleagues through video chat, instant messaging, phone calls, virtual coffee dates, and more. Bonding and chatting about non-work related topics helps you stay connected.

Unplug Outside of Work

Be diligent about unplugging from work when you've completed your workday to recharge. Avoid checking emails and taking work calls during your off-work time. Disconnecting allows you to refocus and be fully present with family, friends, and your own hobbies and interests.

Get Moving
Don't neglect your physical health while working remotely. Take regular movement breaks for stretching or quick workouts to improve energy and relieve muscle tension. Maintain an exercise routine outside of work as well, whether going to the gym, taking a walk/jog, doing home workouts, playing sports, etc. Movement boosts endorphins and reduces stress.

Prioritize Quality Sleep

Burnout can quickly occur if you're sacrificing sleep in order to lengthen your workday. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule that enables you to get 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. Follow proper sleep hygiene like limiting electronics use before bed and creating a restful environment. Proper rest ensures you have the energy to avoid burnout.

Evaluate Your Workload

Take stock of all your tasks and assess if you have a reasonable and manageable workload. Are you taking on too many responsibilities? Discuss workload concerns and time management challenges with your manager. Delegate tasks if possible. Don't be afraid to speak up if your workload is becoming unsustainable.

Reframe Your Mindset

Adopt mindset shifts that set you up for avoiding burnout. Have self-compassion and acknowledge you're adjusting to different stresses of remote work. Let go of perfectionism and realize tasks may take longer when working remotely. Celebrate small wins. Express gratitude for any aspects you enjoy about remote work. Reframing your mindset can help you be resilient against burnout.

Know When to Seek Help

If you've tried implementing the above strategies but are still struggling with burnout, don't hesitate to seek professional assistance. Speaking to a therapist or counselor can help provide you with healthy coping mechanisms. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Investing in your mental health ultimately allows you to be both present and productive.

The transition to remote work can be an adjustment, but utilizing these tips can allow you to thrive while avoiding burnout. Remember to listen to your needs and practice self-care. Maintain boundaries between your work and personal life. While remote work has its benefits, your health and well-being should remain the priority.