Avoiding Work from Home Burnout
One of the many changes we’ve seen throughout COVID-19 lies around the huge increase of people working from home. Unfortunately, along with this new work norm comes the issue of “work from home burnout” as people fear losing their jobs and they struggle to separate work and personal time. Avoiding work from home burnout is a reality we need to deal with, however as many have found, its not easy to switch off when your workspace is constantly available to you, and you want to make sure you keep the boss happy!
With the economy and businesses struggling, the fear of being out of work is very real, leading to the belief we need to make our jobs work by giving more than 110% effort. We fall into the trap of thinking we have to show we are needed, that we have to fit more into our workhours than we normally would if we were at the office, and that we have to be constantly available to show the boss we aren’t slacking off. Unfortunately, without the normal structure of going to the office, the ease of walking a few steps to the home workspace means the boundaries between work and personal time become really blurred, and in some cases non-existent when we allow work to intrude into all aspects of personal life. All of this leads to increased stress and anxiety, unrealistic expectations, fractured personal relationships, fatigue, increased susceptibility to illness and yes…….work from home burnout!
Most of us recognise its unhealthy to let work consume us, however actually implementing steps to ensure we work reasonable hours can be a challenge when working from home. Ideas to help with avoiding work from home burnout include the following.
- Negotiate a realistic start and finish time with your employer
- Create a workspace away from the area you normally relax in. This will help you to identify when you are at work and when you aren’t.
- Have realistic goals about what you can fit into your standard work hours
- Make a point of taking breaks in their entirety throughout the workday. Take the time you usually would at the office for morning/afternoon tea, lunch etc to re-energise, re-fuel and re-focus.
- Let colleagues know your work times and advise them any calls or emails will be attended to during designated work hours
- Ask your family, friends etc to respect your work hours and refrain from interruptions. This will help you to remain focused and get through your workload.
- When you reach your knock off time, log out of emails and turn off notifications until you clock on for your next working day
- End your day with a routine of some sort. This will help your mind and body recognise you are clocking off from work and logging into personal time.
- Leave home at least once a day to get that essential dose of sunlight and fresh air. Something as simple as a walk around the block or a spot of gardening are great for getting the body moving and changing your mindset.
- Be brave. Talk to your boss about work-related issues and stressors. He/she may be more understanding than you think, and you might discover he/she values you and your overall health more then you realise!
- Banish those guilty thoughts surrounding “I should be working”. If you have worked consistently and effectively during your agreed work hours, recognise you have done the best you can in the time you had and that you are entitled to your personal/family time
- Take your sick days and annual leave. They are there for when you need them and will help you to remain productive in the long term.
- Talk to colleagues, friends and family about their work from home experiences, they may have suggestions which will help you to cope
- Seek help if you are working from home and feel it is affecting your mental health. Often unrealistic expectations we place upon ourselves or perceive others are putting on us, can have a huge impact upon happiness. Talking to a Counsellor or your GP are good places to start.
- Value yourself! You deserve time to relax, re-energise and have some fun!
If you feel counselling could help you avoid work from home burnout, call Karen Cummins at Mindful Crossroads counselling services on 0400 416 535 or fill in the “Contact” section on the Mindful Crossroads website to arrange a confidential discussion.