10 ways to avoid burnout while telecommuting

Working from home full time can have advantages and disadvantages. Learn ten ways to get the most out of the experience and avoid the negative effects.

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I have been working from home for 18 months now, and since the experience went well, my global business has closed our physical location nearby. This means that I now work remotely 100% of the time.

Many of us were thrilled at first, faced with a commute-free working life, lower gas and car maintenance costs, fewer expensive lunches, more in-person interruptions, and no not worry about picking up germs in the workplace.

SEE: Well-Being at Work: How to Support Your Team’s Mental Health (Free PDF) (TechRepublic)

But everyday reality has set in; be within the same four walls all the time; feeling of isolation; the need to balance work and family life to get the best of both worlds.

I saw the potential for burnout. It is a common test.

Jennifer Dudeck, SVP and CPO at Red Hat said: “We recognized early on that working from home all the time creates complex challenges. Being separated from colleagues we are used to seeing in person creates feelings of isolation and even grief. a common emotion when we adapt to change. It doesn’t just refer to the death of a friend or family member. Grieving also refers to the feeling or group of feelings that can arise after any change in our life. We’ve all been through change, and there has been an exceptional amount of change to respond to recently. “

Jeff Harper, Director of Human Resources at HashiCorp, commented on the negative impacts of a poorly managed work / life balance: “Ironically, not making time and space for yourself in the pursuit of performance. at work can lead to decreased performance through loss of perspective, creativity and motivation. In the short term, this lack of balance can lead to poor decision-making, resentment and, eventually, burnout.

“In the long term, people with an imbalance between work and family life can experience significant physical and mental health problems and have a higher likelihood of conflict in their personal and professional relationships. We encourage employees to take care of themselves and also offer benefits that provide meditation, mental health and home office facilities, as well as company-wide and corporate mental health days. organization, and paid leave. We also offer training on managing time and productivity and setting a sustainable pace. “

SEE: Research: Video conferencing tools and cloud-based solutions dominate digital workspaces; VPN and VDI less popular with SMBs (TechRepublic Premium)

I’ve designed these ten tips based on my own experience and feedback from Dudeck and Harper to help you go the distance:

1. Go with the basics

The basics here are common sense: take breaks when needed, but stay focused, exercise and eat well, get a good night’s sleep, and assess your work style to find out what works best for you. Implement any necessary changes, such as aligning your calendar to match this style.

2. Have a dedicated workspace

I cannot stress enough the need for a dedicated workplace. Browsing the house with a laptop, maybe even working on the couch or on the patio sounds glamorous, but you need a predictable place to get things done or you’ll probably feel disoriented and unmotivated. Even if it’s a place at the end of the dining room table, make it official.

3. Avoid distractions

Where appropriate, build an alliance with your family, especially a spouse who could also work from home. Work with them to reduce the risk of being interrupted while on duty. You will feel less rushed and more productive.

4. Spend your time appropriately

Keep a dedicated schedule for when you are on duty and off and stick to it. It’s not just when you are working and when you are on leave; it’s what you do throughout the day or evening. I have two jobs – my day job and my technical writing job – and I make sure the work doesn’t overlap, otherwise it gets too disorienting and I can’t concentrate properly.

In short, when you have completed a phase of your work, do it.

5. Divide your workplaces

It can be a difficult task, but if you have the resources, separate your home and work computers and work in two different places. One place for 9-5, and the other for your post-work activities. This will help you separate your tasks from each other and transition accordingly.

6. Look for flexibility but avoid recreational activities

It is one thing to be able to devote time to proper effort, whether at work or at home, during your time at home. It’s another to have a fun break (other than a lunch hour). You couldn’t do that in the office, so pretend the same discipline applies here. It’s all too easy to get down a slippery slope for entertainment between meetings. Save it for after 5.

7. Use flexible time to your advantage

Working from home means you get some perks that you didn’t have at the office. Calculate the hours you intend to invest each day, and take advantage of the opportunity to take a break and meet critical home obligations. For example, go to the store during the week when things are calm (as opposed to the weekend) and invest the hour you spent shopping on Wednesdays into an hour of work on Wednesday evenings or Saturdays.

8. Try to do something different every day.

The feeling of déjà vu is the most difficult thing I have faced while working from home. Whether I’m riding a bike, running, or walking with my dog ​​in the woods, I try to make every day different in my free time so that I don’t feel like every day is Groundhog Day.

9. Keep socializing

Time spent with people is the key to preventing burnout in the home. No one wants to feel like they’re living in a cave. Don’t just entertain people, but meet friends and associates elsewhere. Getting out of the house for an hour can be rejuvenating.

10. Engage with your management chain and associated teams

Ideally, management should support a tightrope of home-life balance, ensure workloads are appropriate, and help provide advice to resolve any issues. Surveys to gather feedback and implement solutions should be a key component.

One more thing you should be doing already: turn on your video camera in those Teams or Zoom calls. Face to face interaction helps build bridges and maintain focus.

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