The coronavirus outbreak has caused significant changes in the way we work. To keep everyone safe and healthy, companies around the world encourage their employees to do remote work. Now, work from home or WFH has become a new normal.
Some employees like working from home. It means they can sit in their pajamas all day and don’t have to deal with traffic or crowded subways.
On the other hand, some others find it difficult as they can’t meet their colleagues in-person to discuss the project more effectively.
Either way, in times like these, you’re going to spend much more time working from home than you’ve ever expected before.
Time after time, whether you’re an office-bound employee or a self-driven and independent employee, it’s easy to be affected, feel exhausted and overwhelmed.
With no regular working hours, your routine has changed upside down. You might feel that despite working at odd hours, your work never ends. You tend to tether yourself to your computer and stress yourself out more at home than you do at work.
That’s why it’s crucial to make sure that you take care of yourself and don’t burnout while working remotely. And this article shows you the ropes.
Signs of WFH Burnout
If it is left unaddressed, burnout can make it difficult for you to function well in your daily life.
That’s why understanding signs of WFH burnout in the first place can help you to take the first steps before it affects your physical and mental health.
Here are some of the most common signs of WFH burnout you should look out for:
1) Working All The Time
One of the most visible signs is overworking. So, if you find yourself working all the time in an attempt to appear productive, with not enough time to rest, that’s a telltale sign of burning out.
When in office, you can grab a coffee and have small chit-chats on lunch break. That might help you refresh your mind and recharge your energy as its a small chance of stepping away from your desk. But when you’re on WFH, the case is different.
One thing you can do about it is separating your work life and home life. By asserting clear boundaries, you can have both times for yourself and get your work done.
You still need to set your active hours even when you work from home, so you know when you need to work and take a break. Just because you can work even for 15 hours a day, doesn’t mean you should sit in front of your desk all the time. If you try to do that, it’s easy for you to fall apart.
2) Procrastinating On Tasks
WFH has never been easy for office-bound employees who are fairly new or have just transitioned to the new normal. With so many distractions at home, and some projects are still waiting to get done, feeling overwhelmed can’t easily be avoided.
But, most of them are still determined to work without rest or with very little rest for the first few weeks. They tend to give all their might since the very beginning of WFH, trying to get all the projects done on time.
As a result, they lack the brainpower or bandwidth to absorb or comprehend tasks for the weeks after. That’s why they, or maybe you, then begin to feel the effects of draining, which can lead to procrastinating on tasks.
If you ever feel like your working performance isn’t as good as it used to be and you also tend to avoid the projects, there’s a chance that you’re burning out.
To fix it, try to stick on your new work schedule so you can work at a steady pace and continuously produce quality results.
3) Underlying Restlessness to Do More
One thing you should be mindful of when working from home: working longer doesn’t equate to working better. Extremely long hours of working doesn’t guarantee your quality results.
If you ever feel like you want to do more and more of work and you feel like you can’t stop thinking about the work, then you might actually feel burnout without even knowing.
Trying to do more doesn’t make you efficient with your work. It’s like giving yourself more pressure as you pile new tasks instead of giving yourself time to breathe.
Many employees who transition from office work to WFH feel like they have to do more at work.
As long as you’re efficient with your tasks and finishing your projects on time, you don’t need to jump in immediately and take more load.
Take a breath and take your time checking what’s next on your list. You’re not a full-blown AI machine, after all.
4) Checking Emails Obsessively
While working from home, it’s essential to stay connected with your team and colleagues. In this matter, emails or other project management software are a staple for you and your team.
However, you can’t sit there 24/7 to refresh the inbox and reply to some emails on time, can you?
That’s why it’s not healthy checking emails at night after your work hours. After all, you’re not a robot. So, if you find yourself checking your email inbox now and then (including weekends), it’s hard for you to recharge your mind and tackle your workload effectively.
Don’t be afraid to miss anything out. At the very least, have regular email check-ins in your work hours only. It’ll help you to balance your work life and home life.
To make it easier, try to communicate your active hours with your team and managers so they know when you can be contacted and respond to them in real-time.
5) Allowing Meetings to Run Past Schedule
Since you and your team can’t meet in-person to discuss the projects altogether, video conferencing comes in handy. Even though you and your teamwork separately from each other, it’s crucial to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
On the other hand, because it’s harder to separate home and work life when working from home, it’s easy to let online meetings and video conferences well past your scheduled time frames.
That’s to say, you can’t really enjoy your free time, and if you don’t take any action to fix it, it can lead you to burnout.
It’s crucial to intuitively know when it’s time to set boundaries so you and your team can avoid burning out. Try to gather everyone’s active hours, then find the middle ground to schedule the meetings. This allows you or your team to wrap up and take a short break before moving on to each of your meetings or projects.
It’s not healthy apologizing now and then that you’re meeting ran past its schedule or trying to catch up on tasks.
How To Avoid WFH Burnout & Show Your Support
All these signs above are mostly caused by a blurry line between work life and home life. We’ve talked about quick tips about it.
Now, we’re going to get more in-depth on how to avoid WFH burnout and encourage your teammates to stay healthy.
Let’s geek out!
Check-in With Them Regularly
Don’t only use video conferences for the discussion of your project. Try also to use it to catch up with everyone. Ask everyone how they are holding up. Make time for small talk and do fun things.
If you want, you can also have coffee breaks or lunch breaks with them, just like at the office.
All these things can help you and your team to maintain the connections you had at the office. So, whether you’re checking on how they are through chat or calls, this will give you an insight into how they are and their well-being.
Utilize Communication Tools
While working from home, communication is one of the biggest hurdles you face. That’s why you need to utilize communication tools like Slack, Zoom, Basecamp, and more to close the gap.
You can also make use of animated explainer videos as tools for training purposes or tutorials.
It’s relatively common knowledge that explainer videos are such a powerful tool in advertising campaigns, but do you know that it can also be an excellent medium to take your communications to the next level?
You can use explainer videos to share guidelines and key information if the text-best explanation isn’t enough.
A well-crafted explainer video uses endearing characters and riveting storytelling so the viewers can retain the crucial information much better and more effectively.
Set Longer One on Ones
It’s crucial to regularly communicate and check for the projects you and your team have been working on. As the team is dispersed, one-on-ones communication is handy to give quick, instant feedback.
With one-on-one meetings, you can get more insights about what challenges the team is facing, as well as the challenges they’ve been struggling at what actions are needed.
It won’t only help each person on the team level up, but also they feel they’re not alone and will feel understood.
The face-to-face interaction helps everyone on the team still be motivated and avoid the feeling of loneliness that can lead to WFH burnout.
Encourage Your Staff to Setup Workspaces
Not everyone on the team is a big WFH fan. The transition to WFH can disrupt their focus and affect their productivity. Now that they don’t have an option, they can at least try to adjust to it.
One of the best ways to make WFH less painful and burnout-free is setting up a comfortable workspace. It doesn’t have to be a dedicated office with a separate room and a fancy chair.
Whether it’s a simple desk in the corner of their living room or a small space in their bedroom, even just a laptop and few notebooks at the end of the kitchen table, encouraging yourself and your team to set up their workspaces would mean a lot to them.
It’ll help get them used to the new normal quickly and improve their work efficiency.
Maintain Temporal Boundaries
Value everyone on the team’s right to disconnect from all the work-related things at the end of the workday. It’s incredibly crucial to give everyone, including yourself, a break from work and spend their off time with the loved ones.
Clear temporal boundaries are not only critical for well-being, but it also helps everyone on the team to keep their work-life balance. That way, they feel energized and can start the work with a good mood the next day,
If you find yourself sending an email late in the night to the team, add a note or subject line that they don’t need to reply immediately. Let them know that it’s not urgent.
Tips to Keep Your Employees Inspired
Working from home for an extended period of time isn’t the easiest job. It’s easy to feel unmotivated, stuck, lonely, exhausted– all the bad feelings you could ever mention.
When you and your team feel low in the mood, though, you are likely to think much more negatively. And with WFH, it’s easy to affect one employee to the next with negativity.
You’ll be more likely to let that sink in and interfere with the work that can lead to low-quality results and productivity. But, don’t worry, we have some quick essential tips to keep your team inspired below– especially if you’re a manager or business owner:
#1. Create Remote Employee of the Week/Month For Motivation
What matters in teamwork is helping everyone feel recognized and appreciated. By creating a reward system, like choosing the best employee or team member every week, it’ll help boost their motivation.
When they feel like their hard work is valued, their satisfaction and productivity will rise. As a result, they can stay motivated or even improve their excellent work.
If one employee becomes an employee of the week, others will be inspired to enhance their work performance and increase their level of productivity at the WFH environment (of course, while considering their limit as well).
#2. Create Team Shout Outs to Engage Them
With different personalities and preferences, engaging employees, and making sure that they’re motivated continuously and inspired even when in a WHF situation isn’t smooth sailing.
One of the handiest ways you can do is creating a team shout out to engage them.
This can range from letting a particular team know their hard work on a project feels valued. Or giving compliments to an employee on a well-done presentation online.
Giving your employees their well-earned recognition will not only encourage them to work efficiently but creates an environment that they can look forward to every day.
#3. Remote Onboard New Employees With Videos
If your company has some new employees at times like these, it’s impossible to give them one-on-one training.
But, compelling explainer videos will help them to get them closer to the company’s corporate culture, to obtain new skills, and to stay informed about the latest trends in the office.
Moreover, explainer videos are versatile and affordable, so it’s an excellent option for companies that have to reassess their budget for their operation in this tough time.
Focus On What’s Important
When it comes to WFH, it’s easy to fall into the trap of losing focus, leaving you exhausted and sometimes even burnout. Loneliness, new routine, and the odd working hours make WFH quite challenging– for some employees with the sudden transition amid this pandemic outbreak.
However, supporting yourself and your team through this time can boost their productivity and avoid work burnout. The key here is you have to understand when you should work, and when you should take a break. And don’t you even try to mix them up.
Once you nail the know-how of WFH, this new normal is not actually hard as you thought it was.
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Originally published at https://breadnbeyond.com on May 21, 2020.