The ability to work from home was once a coveted benefit. But, today, working remotely is a new norm for professionals in a variety of industries. As COVID-19 led to stay-at-home orders, companies had little choice but to arrange telecommuting options. However, as pandemic-related stress mounted, burnout quickly followed.
Now, the burnout isn’t solely due to telecommuting. Instead, it’s the cumulative impact of the pandemic, particularly the dramatic changes to daily life everyone is enduring. If you are wondering what’s leading to the rise in remote worker burnout, as well as what you can do to defend against it, here’s what you need to know.
The Cause of Rising Burnout Among Remote Workers
Many professionals and companies had to transition to a work-from-home model quickly. Adapting to the new paradigm was challenging for many, including the technologies involved and the lack of in-person interaction with their colleagues.
Additionally, fears about job security spread fast, increasing stress levels. In some cases, unmanageable workloads also played a role, particularly since getting support when working remotely can be challenging.
However, there is also more to the story. Many professionals also need to juggle increasingly complex personal responsibilities. For example, when schools closed, parents became their children’s teachers, putting even more on their plates. The cumulative burden can be incredibly hard to bear, especially for those who have limited support because of new restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the virus.
Together, the associated rise in stress increases the likelihood of burnout. Until the situation calms, the rate of occurrence may continue to rise among professionals.
How to Stave Off Burnout During COVID-19
There are things professionals can do to limit their chances of burning out. First, it’s wise to establish a formal working schedule and set boundaries about after-hours contact. Often, when people work remotely, it seems like they are never officially off-duty. Since their office is always a few steps away, there could be an expectation that they immediately respond to all requests, regardless of the time or date.
Professionals need downtime to rejuvenate. As a result, it’s wise to discuss boundaries with your manager. Outline when you are expected to be available and when you aren’t. During periods where you’re off-duty, resist the urge to check in on work. Turn off your email notifications, silence your phone, or take other steps to keep work activities from intruding on your personal time.
Additionally, once a schedule is in place, set reminders to end your workday at the proper time. It’s easy to not realize what time it is, causing you to work more hours than you should. By setting reminders, you can make sure you wrap up at the right moment.
Finally, if you’re overburdened, ask for help. Your manager might not be aware that your workload has become too much to handle, so you need to have a candid conversation about your responsibilities. That way, they can help you come up with a solution, decreasing the odds that you’ll become a victim of burnout.
If you would like to learn more about how to decrease stress during these difficult times, the team at The Squires Group can help. Contact us today and see how our stress management expertise can benefit you.