How to Prevent Burnout When Working Remotely
Each of us has a certain personal limit, surpassing which hits us hard, leaves us vulnerable. Unfortunately, our reserves of strength are not endless, so it is imperative to maintain balance at all levels: physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional.
Sometimes overworking yourself can lead to burnout – a state of apathy and exhaustion, which makes us feel drained of strength, confuses our feelings, leads to loss of joy, and taste for life.
Nowadays most of us are forced to handle all our affairs and meetings remotely, which only adds to nervousness, upsets the balance between work and personal life, and makes a threat of burnout even more imminent.
Defining and Explaining Burnout
The World Health Organization has recognized burnout as a real problem. In January 2019, it was included in the International Classification of Diseases. Burnout is not classified as a medical problem, but it is included in the list of factors that affect the population’s health and may be the reason for seeking medical attention.
Burnout is caused by chronic stress in the workplace that employees can’t overcome. It happens when a person has troubles separating work from leisure, spends excessive time as well as effort on the former, which depletes their inner resources much faster.
Working during a pandemic, many employees started working remotely, which makes burnout an immediate threat. When working from home, we often lack a proper schedule and, therefore, push ourselves to constantly be online. For example, work correspondence can go well into the evening, which makes it difficult to disconnect from work, which can elevate levels of anxiety in no time.
What Causes Burnout
Burnout is often caused by external reasons. Some factors that can negatively affect an employee’s emotional state are:
• Excessive workloads – tasks appear constantly and seem to be never-ending.
• Not enough support from team and leader – people are not willing to cooperate, help, give pieces of advice, explain.
• The effort is not being validated – for some people, it is essential to feel special and to be recognized for their achievements, even if they may look not so important.
• Insufficient reward – employees do not receive any perks for their efforts, well-done projects, the closing of successful deals, etc.
• Vague requirements and poor criteria for evaluating work – the employer did not provide clear KPIs and the employee gets assigned to various types of tasks that may not be within his expertise.
• Unclear prospects – employee holds one position for several years and does not go up on the career ladder.
• Not enough vacations/excessive work during weekends – people have no time to have a rest, switch from work mode, and have some time for themselves.
Key Signs of Burnout
An early sign of burnout can be over-commitment to a specific project or task. The employee plunges into the process, ceases to control work time, gradually going beyond his usual schedule. At some point, when their expended forces outweigh the return, a feeling of motivational and physical exhaustion appears. Then the person begins to gradually distance himself from his work duties, which become less emotionally significant to them.
In such situations, negativism and cynicism often appear, and the likelihood of devaluation of one’s own achievements gradually increases. Unfortunately, tracking as well as stopping the process of burnout at early stages is very hard, so you should always keep an eye out for early signs of burnout.
The following signs will help you understand if an employee is experiencing burnout:
• Complaints about continuous fatigue, lethargy, and drowsiness that do not subside throughout the day;
• Lack of former initiative and interest in the work process, loss of energy;
• A negative assessment of one’s own achievements and an underestimation of competency;
• Distancing from colleagues;
• Concentration on processes that do not require immediate attention, but ignoring real problems that need solving ASAP;
• Violation of work schedule, inability to follow it;
• Indifference to customers;
• Disregard of previous hobbies;
• A sense of work’s meaninglessness;
These are just a few signs you should keep an eye on, so they could be handled properly as well as in due time to avoid escalation.
Now that we are more familiar with burnout, it is worth mentioning that it is not only limited to workers. Everyone regardless of age and occupation can experience it.
If you show symptoms of burnout as a student, it would be wise to get assistance with your academic tasks. Such aid can be provided by Subjecto – a service governed by Linda Ferguson, which offers help with an academic writing task and other projects that may arise during the education process.
Due to constantly staying at home, switching between processes becomes more and more difficult. The factors that increase tensions can range from the lack of personal space for work at home, to the absence of routine actions like having lunch in a café or meeting with colleagues for a Friday night out. Options that previously allowed us to “take a breather” in the middle of the workday are no longer available. All of this makes working from home during quarantine extremely challenging.
However, it is quite possible to replicate such a routine at home – just come up with specific enjoyable activities you can do at home and include them into your daily schedule. For example, dine at a specific time and only at the kitchen table, relax only on the couch, without mixing the actions and locations together. This will facilitate your moving around more even within your home.
How to Prevent Remote Employee Burnout
One great way to provide employees with proper support and communication when working remotely is holding individual and group meetings at least every two weeks, where you discuss personal schedule, tasks, well-being, and just communicate. This will help you track changes in mood, keep in touch will your staff. Timely personal communication is the main way to solve the problem.
Adhere to following rules when working remotely, and try conveying how important such actions are to an entire team:
- Prioritize: plan daily activities according to importance and urgency.
- Strictly follow a schedule, take frequent rest breaks.
- Encourage breathing practices that help relieve stress and anxiety.
- Implement a daily exercise routine – even a simple stretch or yoga will help employees feel more active, motivated.
- Advocate against unnecessary noise during work time: TV, music, etc.
- Finish workday with meditation – it will help separate your daily work from evening activities. Meditation benefits are countless, especially when it comes to better productivity at work and relieving stress.
Remote Employee Burnout: First Aid
Remember that diagnosing burnout when working remotely is much more difficult. Unfortunately, limited space and a dynamic environment make it occur more often. If, despite all your efforts, you are faced with remote employee burnout, help determine its causes and prevent the consequences:
- Minimize/eliminate factors that cause stress and anxiety.
- Discuss personal tasks, check for overload, assist accordingly.
- Mentor and help out with ongoing tasks, projects.
- Check-in periodically, evaluate condition;
- Discuss a plan of overcoming burnout, preventing it from happening again;
- Advise employees to get healthy sleep, timely nutrition, and regular exercise.
- If possible, allow rest for 2-3 days of rest for restoration.
It is important to pay attention to an employee’s psychological state, the general well-being of your team, and yourself, since the result of the team’s work depends on the emotional state of every staff member. Remember that if your employees are experiencing difficulties, then your whole company is vulnerable. This is especially tough when you have limited ways of monitoring everyone’s activities, like during remote work.
Working from home gives freedom, but at the same time can make people hostage to their workaholism, susceptible to depression, anxiety, stress. To avoid burnout, take our advice – put your own and your employee’s well-being first.
Marques is a successful and experienced writer and editor, who had been creating online content on various topics for years. His carefully acquired notions and unmatched creativity allow him to write engaging educational content that readers of any age and occupancy can enjoy. Marques is focused on guiding his readers through perilous seas of online knowledge, figuring ways to properly deliver relevant information. Besides work, Marques likes to partake in bowling and golfing.
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