Show of hands: how many of you remote workers thought you would still be working from home in November? Yeah, neither did I. It has been a long eight+ months for most of us, and what seemed like a nice treat might be the bane of your existence. Working from home can be fantastic, but millions of remote workers are on the edge of a burnout. However, with a few tweaks in your day and good habits, you can combat this feeling and keep productivity rolling strong. Here are three signs you are on the verge of a WFH burnout (and how to avoid them).
You haven’t established WFH boundaries
Not everyone has the luxury of a quiet, at-home office to work from. In reality, you are probably working on your dining room table or the couch. And while your temporary setup might have been nice in the beginning, the lack of boundaries is starting to diminish your productivity. However, you may not have that leisure if you are also trying to facilitate your children’s distant learning or keep your dog entertained.
No matter what your work setup is, you have to set boundaries for yourself. Establish working hours (if possible) and create a space where all you do is work. If your entire home and day consist of working, you will quickly start to feel burnt out. Create healthy boundaries for yourself to improve your mental health, productivity, and job satisfaction.
You feel the need to respond instantly
While working from home, it is easy to feel the guilt of not responding to an IM or an email right away, even if it’s after your “working hours.” I get it; it’s hard to resist the urge to reply to a co-worker when you are off work but just a few feet away from your laptop. This is where you need to exercise self-control. It’s okay to read the message, but that doesn’t mean you have to respond right away. Of course, if it’s a work emergency, go ahead and reply. However, if it’s just a normal message, it can probably wait until tomorrow.
So many remote workers are on the verge of a burn out by always being available. It’s easy to do so or just think to yourself, “it will only take a few minutes. I can respond to that now.” But after eight months, that mentality starts to take a toll on you. Just like when working in the office, you are not always available, and that is okay. We must realize that we don’t need to instantly respond to every message to prove that we are working. If you struggle with this, put your email on do not disturb, or set quiet hours so that you don’t even see the messages come through at a time you set for yourself.
You don’t take any time off
It can be challenging to take time off right now. Let’s be frank; there isn’t a whole lot to do as far as vacations go. Regardless of our current circumstances, it is essential for your mental health and productivity to take time off. We earn vacation and PTO days for a reason; don’t be afraid to use those days to take a step away from all the chaos and relax. Even if you are just hanging out at home, taking a day off here and there is so rewarding. It makes you feel refreshed when you return to work and will help avoid WFH burnout.
And this doesn’t have to be a week-long vacation. This can be taking a Friday off to make a long weekend or taking a half-day to go enjoy some nice weather. So, if you have the time off, don’t be afraid to use it. The longer you put off carving out time for yourself, the closer you will be to a WFH burnout.