4 Tips for Preventing Work Burnout
When the nation switched primarily to at-home working, many employees rejoiced. Working from home meant no commute, no business casual, and none of the usual office distractions. But with reduced staffing, reshuffled priorities, and a new reliance on ever-present communications technology, workers are reporting high levels of burnout.
Let’s take a look at what’s contributing to our feelings of burnout, and what we can do to prevent it.
Being Always “At Work”
One of the biggest challenges of working from home is that you effectively end up living work. It’s the same phenomenon as when you travel for your job: even when you’re in your hotel room at the end of a day of meetings, you still feel like you’re on the clock. To minimize this burnout factor, workers need to draw a line between their work and home lives. You can do this by creating a separate office space in the home or, if the option is available, even claiming an area outside of the home such as a hot desk in a coworking space. If space is an issue, something small like a blanket, cushion, or even a lap can be used to delineate “work” and “non-work” spaces and times.
Being Tied to Technology
Having email, voice chat, and messaging software on our phones can be hugely convenient. It can also be a major source of burnout. When your phone is dinging, beeping and buzzing at all hours of the day, it’s easy to feel like there’s no escape from the demands of work. The same is true of real-time messaging software on our computers. These are great for facilitating communication, but they also make workers feel like they need to be available to respond to every message at any minute throughout the day (or night). To minimize technology-induced burnout, turn off your notifications and alerts, and make a point to set your status to “away” or “do not disturb” outside office hours.
Being Always on Camera
Zoom meetings great for attempting to mimic face-to-face meetings, and for giving us that rare glimpse of humans outside of our immediate household. But they’re also a unique kind of exhausting. Our brains are busy trying to process conversational cues, weird silences, and group chats, all while battling that awful feeling that because we’re on camera, we’re being stared at. The easiest way to battle Zoom burnout? Turn off your camera. If that’s a no go, try to sit off to one side so that you don’t feel so much like a performing animal. You can also request to keep the meetings to a minimum: chances are you won’t be the only one asking!
Being All About Work
When you’re stuck at home with nothing to do but work, it’s easy to find yourself working longer hours, checking your email at night, or logging on over the weekend. This is a surefire recipe for burnout. If you find yourself living and breathing work, take a step back, and give yourself space to rediscover the things that matter to you. Read a book, go for a walk, bake some bread, or pick up a hobby. Once the various elements of your life are back in balance, you’ll find that the looming specter of burnout takes a step back.
At Optimum Coworking, we value work and productivity, but we know that we’re only able to perform at our best when we create space for the many other dimensions of wellness in our lives. By stepping back, attending to our social, emotional, creative, and environmental needs, we can keep burnout at bay while continuing to work at a high level.