Whether you’re a manager, a freelancer, or an employee, working from home has rapidly become the new normal. Businesses have found they can save on office costs by letting employees work from home at least some of the time. Meanwhile, employees gain greater flexibility in attaining work-life balance, and save time and money on commutes. The effect of the work-from-home shift has been transformative on business; it’s also dredged up new stressors and challenges that need addressing.
Work-from-home burnout, for instance, can quickly become a problem if left unattended. Isolation and a lack of structure affect some workers adversely, which in turn can impact productivity and cause a host of wellness issues. The good news is that managers and team leaders can do a lot to combat these potential problems—by ensuring that employees working from home have what they need to do their job remotely, build channels to stay in contact with other team members, and help them better manage their work-life balance. Meanwhile, employees must take a proactive stance in seeking their own balance. While every company is different, a few general tips can help you figure out this balance in your operations. Whether you’re a manager, a freelancer, or an employee, avoiding burnout is essential.
Managers have the task of implementing a company’s operational policy, while also meeting the needs of workers below them. This becomes much more complex in a work-from-home model, where managers must juggle multiple schedules to determine who is and is not coming into the office. Cleaning schedules must be adjusted, issues like overtime need to be resolved, and in some cases, hot-desking and similar features of the new normal will come into play as well.
Managers juggle multiple tasks throughout each day and the responsibilities of the position often entail a great time commitment. This means that managers are just as susceptible to work-from-home burnout as anyone—and in fact, may even be more vulnerable. Working 12 to 16 hours a day might be considered normal for many managers, as well as working weekends. When that bleeds into personal time—as it can when you work from home—burnout can readily follow.
Promote better work-life balance for yourself as much as other team members.
- Specify times during which you are off the clock and unavailable, including weekends.
- Find expedient ways to keep in contact with others.
- If you work from home, schedule time in your day to take breaks and run errands. Even a walk around the neighborhood for a few minutes can help.
Applying the same techniques to your team can encourage better work-life balance in them as well.
Power tip: Home in Evernote is a fantastic way to organize and streamline your day. It’s fully customizable to show you only what you need, and you can make adjustments and add reminders with ease.
Freelance workers are an increasingly large percentage of the workforce. Most of them work from home, so it’s no surprise that they are extremely vulnerable to burnout.
Freelancers often follow a feast-or-famine work cycle. As such they tend to take on as many projects as they can comfortably fit in when they are available. Left unattended, this can lead to fatigue or worse, especially if they’re working from home—which can upend a healthy work/life balance.
Find balance for your work-from-home cycle as a freelancer in order to avoid unnecessary fatigue and burnout.
- As a freelancer, you can be your own best friend by learning to say “no” to projects when your schedule is full.
- Blocking time off regularly and working to balance your daily itinerary are both great strategies that enable time for other parts of your life.
- If you can, look into outsourcing certain parts of a project to help alleviate some of the pressure.
Power tip: Freelancers can prepare for meetings, pitches, and other events by creating notes and linking them to Google Calendar events. That helps reduce stress and avoid feelings of burnout.
Full-time employees working from home often do so on a set schedule. While they have flexibility in how they organize their day, they must also perform most of it on their own, with no one else to connect with. That’s also a major contributor to work-from-home burnout.
Consider these suggestions to combat the fatigue:
- Rediscover your purpose for working. If you’re seeking renewed purpose in your work, start from a beginner’s perspective. Look at your overall goals, as well as the day-to-day things you hope to accomplish, and make adjustments accordingly.
- Establish a sense of control at work. The past few years have been stressful for everyone. Setting boundaries for your work—daily hours and goals—can help you reestablish a sense of control over your work life.
- Learn to say “no.” A healthy work-life balance takes effort, and sometimes that means prioritizing your needs over the company. You can aid that at home by establishing set hours for work-related communication, weekends off, and similar acts of self-care.
Power tip: Tasks lets you customize your game plan as much as you need. Set larger goals and break them down into more manageable daily items, while separating from your other life to-do lists—while concentrating them in one place!
Rest, even if you’re not tired
Everyone benefits from rest and breaks, though what resting looks like depends on who you are and what your interests are. It could mean exercising or indulging in your hobbies, a half-hour episode of your favorite TV show, or even just resting on the couch and doing nothing at all. Whatever rest looks like for you, make sure you plan for it and schedule rest time every day.
WFH shouldn’t be exhausting
Working from home can leave you drained at the end of the day and have an impact on your mental health, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, with the right tools and an eye on practical means of achieving work-life balance, you can make the setup work for you and avoid burnout. Make time for yourself mentally and physically. Take short breaks to recharge, stop checking emails once your shift is done, and remember that your best will look different every day.