Ask any remote employee, and they’ll tell you there are pros and cons to working from home. Sure, they love skipping the commute. But they may hate how isolating remote work can be. The latest data shows that 69% of remote workers experience burnout symptoms.
What are the symptoms of work-from-home burnout, and what can employees do to avoid this unpleasant state?
How Can You Prevent Burnout When You Work From Home?
What is Work from Home Burnout?
Burnout isn’t all in your head. The World Health Organization (WHO) lists burnout as a work-related medical condition caused by, “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Burnout symptoms stemming from working from home include:
- Decreased work productivity.
- Trouble concentrating on work.
- Headaches, indigestion, or even chest pain.
- Negativity about working.
- Exhaustion and feeling unmotivated.
- Sleeping problems or changes in how much or how little you sleep.
- Irritability and feeling short-tempered.
- Anxiety and depression.
These symptoms can negatively affect the quality of life for the at-home worker. What can be done to alleviate these symptoms? How can you support your remote teams so that burnout isn’t a factor?
Helping Your Remote Teams Avoid Burnout
Talking openly about burnout with your teams is an important way to raise awareness around these symptoms. Then you can make suggestions about how to address burnout. This could include:
- Encouraging breaks throughout the day. By law, workers are supposed to take breaks throughout the day, but when you’re working from home, these rules become a little hazy. As an employer, you can set the expectation that your teams will go offline for breaks, lunch, or even block out calendar time for focusing without the distraction of email or IM. Normalize these breaks, and you will help head off burnout and increase productivity.
- Normalize exercise and health (including mental health) first. We’ve lost the natural breaks throughout the day from a commute, then coming home, then going to the gym. It’s easy for remote workers to roll out of bed and get to work. It’s also hard for them to draw the line between when the day is over and where home life begins. But making time for exercise can do so much for alleviating burnout symptoms. Exercise is a mood enhancer and stress reliever. As an employer, you can work with your health insurance company on proactive initiatives that will encourage employees to get up and get moving.
- Train your managers to respect employee boundaries. It’s easy just to keep working throughout the evening. Each day can stretch into the next one when you’re a remote employee. Managers can shoot a text or a Slack to an employee after hours as they get an idea, simply because boundaries can blur when you work from home. So, try to articulate to managers that communicating with employees after 5 pm is a no-no. Also, talk with your teams about setting boundaries. The computers should go offline after the day is complete. Otherwise, your employees will end up working a lot more than their daily schedule. This is not good for helping them avoid the phenomenon of burnout.
Ready to Prevent Burnout?
FoxHire is an employer of record (EOR). As a manager of the hiring and employment processes, we understand the importance of a healthy and productive team. If you’re searching for a hiring partner to help you manage the employment process, we can help.