At some point in your career, you might feel symptoms of burnout. While this is common for in-office employees, this also can easily happen if you work from home.
69% of remote employees have experienced burnout at some point and it’s more common than you think.
But why is this? Well, because of the blurring of boundaries between work and personal life, it is easy to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and fatigued. But you can help prevent it and maintain a good work-life balance.
Below I’ll share some signs of work from home burnout and tips to help you avoid it going forward.
Symptoms of Work From Home Burnout
In order to fully understand burnout and how to improve your work from home experience, you’ll want to easily recognize the symptoms. These have been some of the more common work from home burnout symptoms:
- Becoming easily distracted by other things during work hours.
- Feeling more negative about your remote job and work overall.
- Having brain fog when it comes to work, becoming forgetful, and losing productivity.
- More irritable with work and disconnecting from your tasks.
- Your motivation has completely decreased and actually starting work is a struggle.
- You notice your sleep patterns have changed or more disruptive.
- Anxiety or depression settles in and disrupts your daily routines.
And you may even experience more than the above too. But if you notice your mood has changed and things at work have been more stressful, you might be experiencing burnout.
What triggers the work from home burnout?
There is no simple answer to this as it is usually personal to your experiences.
It might be having a difficult time taking breaks to eat, work out, or spend time with family. It could be stressful work deadlines along with busy family life. The possibilities of what creates your burnout working remotely can – and will – vary from person to person.
I’ve been there before as career and personal life collide in the same space. But was able to have open conversations with co-workers and then I worked towards removing some root causes of the burnout.
But can you prevent work from home burnout altogether ahead of time?
Tips to Avoid Work from Home Burnout
Remote work has many benefits, but you still can easily experience burnout. Before you let it get that far, here are some preventative measures you can take to make working from home an awesome experience.
1. Set your boundaries
It is essential to separate work from personal life, even when you are working from home. Set specific work hours and stick to them. Avoid checking work emails, turn off Slack or Microsoft Teams, and avoid taking work calls outside of work hours.
2. Create a designated work area
Having a designated workspace can help you mentally separate work from your personal life. This could be just a dedicated desk, a quiet room, or even a specific corner of your living room.
Ideally, you don’t want to have your home office in your bedroom, because you want to separate your relaxing space from work. Of course, you can make that work if it is your only option. But find a space that keeps work and personal more separate.
3. Take frequent breaks
Regularly scheduled breaks throughout your work day are VERY important for avoiding burnout. It’s really easy to stay stuck in front of your computer screen for hours, which can put a strain on your mentally and physically.
It’s one of the bad habits I often have working remotely. I get into deep focus and forget to take a break! I’m still a work in progress, but I’ve become much better at it.
So what can you do on these breaks? Take a few minutes to stretch, take a walk, read a book, or simply relax. This can help you recharge and return to work feeling refreshed.
4. Prioritize self-care
Have you ever heard the phrase “Treat yourself?” Well, that’s exactly what you need to do to help avoid remote work burnout.
Take time to eat well, exercise, read a book, take a nap, or whatever it may be that is relaxing or interesting to you. Make time for your hobbies and any activities that you enjoy.
5. Stay organized
Keep your work area organized, and maintain a to-do list to help prioritize tasks and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
6. Use technology wisely
Technology can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to working from home. You’ll have access to many platforms to help you maintain communications and get your job done. However, technology can also be overwhelming.
Use tools like email filters, notification muting, and auto-responses to manage your workload and reduce stress.
7. Connect with colleagues
Working from home every day can lead to feelings of isolation, so it is important to maintain connections with your colleagues. Of course, if you are more introverted, this might not bother you much at all!
However, maintain communications with colleagues and find ways to socialize outside of work. One quick thing you can do is set up virtual coffee breaks, which allow you to socialize, recharge a bit, and connect with your remote co-workers.
8. Stay in touch with friends and family
Although connecting with your remote co-workers is important, don’t forget about those people in your personal life outside of work.
It’s a great way to still socialize and limit any isolation feelings you may have. To avoid burnout, set aside time to catch up with friends and family regularly.
9. Avoid overworking
Easier said than done and this ends up being one of my main problems!
It can be tempting to work longer hours when working from home, but overworking can lead to burnout. Set realistic goals and avoid working on weekends or during personal time.
And while you may have considered working two remote jobs, you may set yourself up for potential burnout if you consider that path.
10. Create a reward system
A personal reward system can not only be motivating but help keep you focused and energized. It won’t prevent burnout completely, but it’s a step that can contribute to improving your mental state.
Set up some weekly goals that if you meet, you’ll reward yourself. This could be a favorite snack, activity, or something you genuinely look forward to. It keeps you focused, but also helps you be more positive in your work.
11. Stay hydrated
Don’t underestimate the power of water! It’s so easy to neglect this when working from home, I’m always forgetting to take sips consistently.
Drinking enough water is super important for overall health and well-being. Keep a bottle of water nearby, and make sure to drink plenty throughout the day.
12. Get enough sleep
Sleep seems to prevent and help with a lot of things in our lives. And getting rest is also essential to help avoid burnout. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule and avoid staying up late working in front of screens.
13. Avoid distractions
Since you are working from home, you may have just as many distractions as you would in the office. Of course, these distractions are a bit different.
You might have family around, Netflix calling your name, personal email going off, etc.
It can be easy to get distracted when working from home, so it is important to minimize those distractions and have a dedicated workspace. Turn off or silence unessential notifications, close non-browser tabs you don’t need and focus on your work.
14. Seek support
If you are unsure of how you’ll prevent burnout or feel the stress bubbling, then it’s the right time to seek support. Reach out to your friends, family, or a mental health professional for ongoing help and support.
15. Take time off
The simple way to avoid burnout? Take time off from work. Hopefully, your company offers decent vacation days that you can use or even unlimited PTO.
Taking time off is critical for avoiding burnout. Plan a vacation, take a random day off, or extend your weekend time to more than two days.
Work from home burnout is a growing concern among remote workers, but it can be avoided with the right strategies.
By recognizing the signs and setting boundaries, you can reduce stress and avoid burnout. Always remember to take care of yourself when needed and seek support when you need it.
Remote work can be a game changer for you, but don’t let burnout get in the way of your experiences in this setting.