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How to Help You and Your Team Beat WFH Burnout

“You can do anything, but not everything.” – David Allen – Creator of the “Getting Things Done” productivity system.

Burnout. A feeling that is easy to reach and difficult to manage, but once one has mastered the art of proactively managing this unwelcome feeling, not only will you benefit from it, but others
in your life will too.

So, what is burnout and what does it look like in the workplace? Burnout is defined as a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Some ways this feeling can come out in the workplace is by feeling overwhelmed, emotionally drained and/or unable to meet constant deadlines.

In the year of 2020 there was a widespread shift in almost everyone’s work environments, “zoom meetings and kitchen-tables-turned-class-rooms-and-home-offices,” as Bobbi Thomason wrote in the article, Help Your Team Beat WFH Burnout. This shift turned into our “new normal” as we turned our calendar’s page to 2021 and then to 2022, and with that “new normal,” there is still no separation between work and home, with workdays bleeding into our evenings, and our weeks bleeding into our weekends- there is minimal separation between work life and life outside of work.

With our environment today, it may seem difficult to create those boundaries for several reasons like sending or receiving emails after hours or working in an environment that is with your family or roommates instead of your coworkers.

So, how do we create healthy boundaries to avoid WFH burnout?

5 Ways to Beat WFH Burnout:

Ashira Prossack, an internationally recognized communication trainer and coach, wrote an article with Forbes, detailing 5 ways to help beat workplace burnout.

1. Establish healthy boundaries

While this may seem like a given, healthy boundaries are harder to establish than they look, especially in our remote environment. In a paper written by Blake Ashforth, he describes that there are “boundary crossing activities” that we partake in to distinguish between our work life and our home life. These activities include commuting from home to your workplace, going through your morning routine prior to work, and even just putting on your work clothes. Obviously, with working from home we lose a lot of these “boundary crossing activities” which makes it hard to transition from “work you” to “home you”.

If you aren’t sure where to start, here are some ideas:

  • Always get yourself ready for work. You do not need to go above and beyond, but even just getting out of your pajamas helps to get you in a different mindset.
  • Do a morning walk before you sit down to work. With working from home there is no more morning commute, so replacing that commute with a walk around the block, or even a walk to grab a coffee before sitting down to work will be able to help distinguish between transitioning from “home you” to “work you.”
  • Designate a specific spot for your work area. This space could be a desk in your living room, a chair at the kitchen table, or even a home office, if you have one. The point of this is to create a space where you are mentally in work mode and once you step away from this space, you can step away from work mode. Thus, allowing you to establish another boundary!

2. Give yourself a break

When work seems to be overwhelming and you feel stress starting to overcome your thoughts, be aware of that and allow yourself a 5-minute break and then come back to what you were doing. Too often do we try to overcome those feelings with the mentality that working hard can overcome anything. While working hard is important, if we push these overwhelming feelings of stress down and ignore them this will eventually lead to burnout. So, when you are feeling like this, allow yourself some time to step away from what you’re doing and come back to it. In your time away you can walk around your house, listen to your favorite song, eat your favorite snack, etc. to get you back on track for your day.

3. Create a routine

Having a routine helps you keep track of your day, so that you are not feeling like all your time is dedicated to work. Some ways to do this can be making time for breaks in your day and actually taking those breaks away from your computer or doing something in the morning to help energize you for your workday.

4. Prioritize your health and wellness

Health and wellness are not a one size fits all, so it is important to find out what works for you and your body to help make you feel ready to take on the workday. Some ways to help with that is getting enough hours of sleep each night, eating at appropriate times during the day and even getting some exercise in even if it’s just a walk around the block!

5. Reach out to a friend or colleague

With working from home, there is less face-to-face interaction with colleagues, making it easy to feel disconnected or isolated in what
you are feeling when the opposite is true. Reaching out to a friend or colleague and expressing how you are feeling takes a weight off your shoulders by allowing yourself to talk about it, and who knows, you just might be helping someone else too!

Working From Home (WFH) is becoming the new normal for most individuals across the world, and with that, creating and implementing healthy boundaries to distinguish between a work life and a home life is crucial to avoid burnout.

Do you have other tips on how to beat WFH burnout? If so, hit reply and let us know!

This blog was written by Kayla Schabbing, Talent Strategy Coordinator at Wejungo.