The COVID-19 pandemic has created a new remote workforce. It’s working well, but it’s very different, and there are issues worth addressing. Today, let’s discuss at-home worker burnout and give you a few helpful tips.
It looks like regular burnout, except there’s no escape; you’re already home. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are asking the same people who have been pleading to work from home for years to work remotely; it’s mandatory. Somehow it no longer feels like a privilege.
This doesn’t mean they aren’t thankful they still have a job, but there are a few things that could make one a little grumpy. For example, many people who were furloughed are getting paid up to four times as much as people working 40 hours from home. It’s nobody’s fault, but your at-home workers might feel a bit had.
The number one reason for remote-worker burnout is the lack of separation between office work and housework, which creates a feeling of no downtime. It can be maddening to work from home, then work on the house, the car, etc. So here’s our first tip:
Keep to your schedule. Businesses that have switched to remote are probably keeping the same hours of operation. Remote workers tend to keep flexible hours. After all, it is simple to check your email at 11 p.m. and get ready for the next day.
However, if you let the boundaries that you typically operate under lapse and put in time off the clock, you may be doing more work than you should. Maintain a regular business schedule and enjoy your off-hours.
Another major stressor for the remote worker is the distraction of home. Your spouse or partner, your bored children, your pets, or even the lure of social media, streaming videos, or video games. We suggest:
That’s a no-brainer, but how? If at all possible, have a dedicated workspace where you can shut the door. You need focus to do your job efficiently, and distractions cut down on the time you are actually working. This leads to you getting behind and stressed out and then working longer hours to compensate, which can leave you feeling burned out.
Remember that employers are flying by the seat of their pants too. While they may have been wrong, clearly they had concerns about how working from home would affect their product or service, or you would have been working from home long ago. The COVID pandemic forced businesses to depend on remote workers to stay afloat. Maybe when this situation is resolved the work flexibility will remain, but you may also not mind going into the office as much.
Knowing that your employer is doing their best to keep you safe and employed while other small businesses are going under should help your mindset. Here are a few more tips to keep your morale up:
Get up early and get dressed – Keep your normal office morning routine. You can skip the suit and tie but get dressed and ready to work. Since you don’t have a commute, you can use that time with something constructive besides catching up on sleep, like walking the dog or having a healthy breakfast.
Watch your nutrition and exercise – The COVID-19 might as well refer to the pounds many of us have gained. Set an exercise schedule, include hourly stretches, and make sure to have low-calorie snacks on hand. Good diet and exercise help your mental health.
Until there is a vaccine, this situation is far from over. Some companies will reopen and go back to the office, but many businesses will keep remote workers until there is a reason not to. How workers handle the at-home issues will be a big determining factor in the future use of remote work.
What do you think? Do you have any suggestions to help workers get through this period? Will you be allowing your staff to keep its remote work flexibility when COVID 19 is done? Leave your comments below.