Whether you’re still working entirely remotely, or you have a hybrid schedule, working from home can take its toll. Though we often associate burnout with long hours at the office, our work-from-home days can be just as exhausting, if not more so. With fewer barriers between work and personal and more distractions throughout the day, professionals need to be proactive when it comes to taking care of themselves while working remotely. Here are a few simple strategies you can incorporate to help prevent burnout from sabotaging your success:
Create a Commute
While under normal circumstances a commute might just seem like an inconvenience or waste of time, working from home can often highlight the true value of that time. Whether it’s a ten-minute train ride or a twenty-minute drive, that window of time between leaving the house and arriving at work is a key transitional window. It helps you move from your personal life to your work life, navigating the clear division between the two. It’s a time for your brain to switch gears and for you to mentally prepare for the workday ahead. When you’re working from home, the twenty steps to your desk hardly serve as a transition period. If you’re having a hard time getting started in the mornings, consider giving yourself a “commute”. Even just a short walk around the block can help. Adding a bit of movement, some fresh air, or a change of scenery can help you switch more smoothly into work mode.
It’s not just during this morning “commute” that movement can be valuable. When working from home, it’s particularly easy to get stuck in the same spot all day long. We’re trying to keep our work focus, and that can often mean we restrict ourselves to the same table and chair each day. Creating a workspace in your home that allows for a bit of movement is key. Maybe you have a counter you could stand at while doing a bit of work, perhaps you clear a bit of space next to your desk for some stretching, or maybe you even set a timer that reminds you to take a few short walking breaks throughout the day. This movement can help you feel alert and productive and help you avoid the physical pain that goes along with sitting all day.
Stick to Your Routines
When you’re working from home, routines can be the key to consistent work and lower stress. When we operate without routines, we often waste significantly more time transitioning between tasks and we can tend to feel less grounded. Especially when you’re not surrounded by other coworkers, routines can give you the structure needed to stay on track. Something as simple as starting each morning with the same few tasks or ending your day by making a fresh to-do list for the following day can help create a framework.
Respect Your Boundaries
It’s so important to maintain boundaries between work and personal, and that can become even harder when working from home. My first suggestion would be to cut yourself some slack here. Set reasonable expectations for yourself so that you’re not asking for the impossible. Once you know what you can expect from yourself, establish your boundaries to support that. For example, maybe you start work an hour later so that you can tackle a few chores around the house to prevent them from becoming distractions during your workday. Or maybe you turn off all notifications after 6pm so that work doesn’t infringe on time with your family.
How are you staying healthy while working from home? Have you started to feel any symptoms of burnout? No matter what your schedule looks like at the moment, it’s important to check in with yourself and make sure you’re setting yourself up for the most successful balance possible. Do you have any other tips for avoiding burnout? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
VP – Retail Market Leader