How to Prevent Burnout in Remote Work
The rapid growth of remote work has brought about numerous benefits, such as increased flexibility and improved work-life integration. There are many home-based work options out there, and it all sounds great, but many of us fall into the trap of blurring boundaries between work and personal life. This inevitably leads to a higher risk of overwork, anxiety, and even burnout.
As remote workers, we often work longer hours, feel increasingly isolated, and find it difficult to disconnect from work-related responsibilities. However, there is a solution to avoiding burnout by implementing effective strategies in order to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
In this article, we teamed up with experts from job aggregator Jooble to look at some practical steps to take to prevent burnout in remote work.
1. Establishing boundaries
Probably one of the greatest challenges of working from home (as well as a significant contributor to burnout) is the blurring of boundaries between personal life and work – especially when there are young children in the mix. Finding the right work-life equilibrium can be tricky, but it can be done by implementing some practical strategies.
The first step is to define specific working hours. Set a time when you will be fully focused on work and communicate this clearly to family members. This is your “do-not-disturb” time. Make sure your children understand this. Mom and/or Dad are working. Mom and/or dad are working to pay the bills and put food on the table. It’s necessary, and it’s important.
If you have a dedicated office or workspace set aside in the house, all the better. This will help to clarify work time as opposed to family time. The rules are simple: if you’re not at your desk, you’re not at work, and everyone in the household has your undivided attention.
That brings us to another issue. When not working, resist the temptation to answer work-related calls or constantly check work emails or messages. Train yourself to “clock out” when work is over for the day. This also means closing all work-related applications, turning off notifications, and mentally shifting your focus to family and your personal life. Yes, you are allowed a personal life.
2. Injecting some positivity into your day
Get into the habit of a morning routine that sets a positive tone for the day. Do an activity that energizes and prepares you mentally. This could be some sort of exercise, a quick run, meditation, or journaling. Starting the day on a positive note will make you feel a whole lot better (and braver) and set you up for a more relaxed and confident workday.
Equally important is taking regular breaks throughout the day. It’s common for remote workers to become so engrossed in their work that they neglect taking breaks. No, working from home doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to regular breaks.
Breaks are essential for maintaining focus, renewing energy levels – and staving off the dreaded burnout. Step away from your workspace. Take short coffee breaks between tasks and set aside a longer break for lunch. Use this time to make yourself a salad or a sandwich.
Stretch, move around, go into the garden, or take the dog for a walk. Allow yourself the luxury (necessity) of recharging your batteries. And no, you don’t have to feel guilty about it. Believe it or not, these little breaks can be a great tonic to boost your mood.
3. Me time
Many remote workers are often so caught up in the merry-go-round of balancing work and family that they forget to take time out for themselves.
Me-time is all about you. It means consciously making time for activities that you enjoy. Activities that make you happy. Do things you find pleasurable and relaxing in your downtime, such as a hobby, gardening, or cooking. Believe me, this can go a long way to help you recharge mentally.
4. Social interaction
Working remotely can often be isolating, leading to feelings of loneliness and disconnection from the rest of humanity. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you have to become a hermit!
Escape from your bubble. Go out there and socialize! Meet up with friends for coffee, drinks, lunch, dinner, or a night out on the town.
Spend some quality time with loved ones. Visit family or invite them over for dinner or a game night. Nurture these relationships for emotional support, a sense of connectedness, and the opportunity for laughter, fun, and joy.
Human connection and social support are essential for emotional well-being. And emotional well-being is, well, a dagger to the heart of burnout. A killing blow, in fact.
Burnout in remote work can be avoided. Or fixed. All it requires is a conscious effort and proactive strategies to maintain a healthy work-life balance. By implementing these strategies, you, too, can thrive in your remote work environment.