The pandemic drove a massive increase in the number of people who worked at least part of their schedule from home. By the end of 2020, nearly three-quarters of workers (71%) had a remote component to their routine. This was more than three times the rate seen in pre-COVID days.
Of course, not all these people will stay home once the pandemic passes. However, a large chunk of the workforce will continue in hybrid or remote schedules.
But is this a healthy way to work?
Some data say “no.” One study, conducted during the heart of the pandemic, showed that more than two-thirds of at-home workers felt some form of burnout symptoms.
Some of this undoubtedly had to do with the stresses of the pandemic itself, as well as the difficulty of navigating the transition to a WFH routine. However, there are fundamental challenges to overcome with an at-home routine.
There are steps you can take. Here’s how you can identify burnout in a WFH setting and the steps you can take to improve your relationship to your job:
How You Know If You’re Getting WFH Burnout
Burnout isn’t like a broken leg, an ailment that appears suddenly as a result of a traumatic incident. Rather, it more resembles cancer: quietly growing inside you until it manifests itself through massive consequences.
Like with cancer, early detection is the key. By knowing some of the biggest signs of burnout, you can recognize the issue before it starts to impact your life. Here are some red flags to look out for:
You Can’t Stop Working
It’s five o’clock. If you were at the office, you’d be packing up and heading out. But since you’re at home, you keep cranking away. It might feel like you’re in the zone. But actually, this kind of aggressive devotion to your job can signal upcoming burnout.
You Can’t Start Working
The opposite is also true. Without a strict morning routine and a mind-clearing commute, you have trouble getting started in the morning. Sometimes that can be a sign that you aren’t engaged in your job or that you’ve reached your mental limit.
Your Performance Suffers
You excelled at your key performance indicators (or KPIs) back when you went to the office each day. Now, you notice them slipping. You have trouble concentrating and you feel your productivity waning. Those are clear signs of an impending burnout.
You Suffer Physical Symptoms
Burnout may seem like a strictly mental affliction. But it can carry over into your body as well. Frequent illness, headaches, insomnia and general stress-related symptoms can alert you that your WFH routine is wearing you down.
What You Can Do To Avoid WFH Burnout
You need to detect burnout before it impacts your career or home life. Once it makes its first appearance, you still need a strategy to prevent it from getting worse. Here are some techniques you can use to lower your WFH stress and get back on track:
- Prioritize Your Goals: Yes, get your work done. But make sure you save time for personal goals as well, including family, friends, and hobbies.
- Keep Office Hours: Schedule your workday like you would if you went to the office.
- Reach Out to Coworkers: Build social connections with your coworkers, even if you only communicate remotely. Use messenger, text, video conference, and other tools to create a career support system.
- Plan a Vacation: Take time off to recharge and maintain your long-term mental health.
- Make Sure You Like Your Job: Burnout might be a sign you’re in the wrong position. Look closely at your situation and ensure you’re in the right spot.
Contact Recruiting In Motion today to find out more.
If you have doubts about your current WFH position, you have options. Turn to a strong recruiting partner, like Recruiting In Motion, to find the perfect situation for you.