At a time when the lines between work and home are increasingly blurred, more workers are experiencing remote work burnout. A survey conducted by online employment platform Monster last July 2020 among 284 employees in the US found that 69% of them have noted feeling burnout symptoms while working from home.
While the pandemic might force us to continue with this setup for the next several months or years, it’s important for us to adopt tools to manage or mental health and well-being. Here are our top tips for staying cool in the face of work-related stress during COVID-19:
Understand that your feelings are a valid, normal response to stress
Listen: It’s okay to not be okay. We might be months into the pandemic, and some of us may still be safe and comfortable at home, but fear for our own safety, financial security, and the safety of our loved ones is enough to cause us stress and hamper our productivity. Remember to be compassionate with yourself, and to allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling.
Don’t be ashamed if you aren’t always productive
It might seem like working from home allows us more free time, given that we no longer have to endure long commutes going to the office. Given this increased amount of time, we might chastise ourselves for not being as productive as we should be. We are still living in very stressful times, and it’s okay to not be operating at 100% all the time.
Establish a regular routine at home
Having a definite work schedule will prevent your work life from seeping into your personal life, especially in a work-from-home setup. Some people start their days the same way they’d prepare for a normal workday, pre-pandemic, for example, by working out, taking a shower, having coffee, and getting dressed, before making the trip to their desks. Don’t forget to set boundaries as well for logging in and out of work by keeping work-related messages and tasks only within work hours, and making sure that your bosses colleagues know about it.
Don’t forget to take a break
Studies show that people who work from home tend to work 1.4 days more than those who work in an office. This increased time spent on work could easily lead to more stress and burnout, if not managed well. Give yourself time to decompress by taking a break. Whatever suits your fancy, whether it’s stretching, meditation, a quick workout, a single Netflix episode, or a quick video game session, giving yourself that boost of dopamine in between work can make you feel good, and even help boost your focus once you settle back into your tasks for the day.
Connect with your colleagues for support
As most of us will continue to be isolated for the foreseeable future, keeping in touch with people, particularly our colleagues, is more critical than ever. Replacing the usual watercooler catchups with casual video calls or messaging will go a long way in fighting loneliness and isolation, and might even lead to sparking new ideas for work.
Seek professional help when things get too much
Sometimes, it’s not enough to just be pulling ourselves back on our own feet, or seeking the help of our friends. If you have tried different ways to manage burnout while working from home during the pandemic without any success, you might benefit from guidance from a mental health professional who could help you get to the bottom of your problems. Speak with your employer if your company might have a mental health support program, or benefits to access these kinds of services outside of the company.