Tips to Avoid WFH Burnout

child playing with parent working in the background
By Guest Author
Posted by: Unison

You can work on and on for days before you realize you may be suffering from burnout. Are you trudging to your desk each morning? Do you feel you’re stuck at your work and have no gas in the tank to perform assignments?

The lines between work and non-work are blurring in new and unfamiliar ways, and many of us who are working from home for the first time are likely to struggle to preserve healthy boundaries between our work and personal lives. With household distractions like children, pets, laundry, entertainment, and cooking, it may feel impossible to stay focused on work during business hours.

The risk of burnout is high right now. Take a moment to check in with yourself – and use these tips to to avoid work-from-home burnout.

Dedicate space to yourself
Being stuck inside your home for the majority of the day is tough. And when your home is small (raises hand), it can feel as if every day the walls are moving in. Carving out a dedicated workspace in your home can help you draw a line between your personal and professional life. Additionally, it also makes your family members understand that you have work to do and frequent interruptions can affect your productivity. Don’t carry your work to bed or a drawing room; this is the space where it should all begin and end.Just carve out a relatively quiet and tidy workspace with no external distractions (that is NOT your bedroom), where you can focus on your work. 

Set expectations
Instead of worrying if you’re doing enough at work or at home, take the time now to talk to your team and your family about your day-to-day schedule and how to handle any exceptions or emergencies, especially if you’re a parent working from home for the first time with your kids.

Stick to your daily schedule
We are creatures of habit. Routine helps us physically and mentally prepare for our day. When working from home: resist the urge to work overtime or check in after hours. Instead, keep up or set up good personal habits like getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, going outside often, eating a healthy diet, and making time for hobbies, relaxation, and connecting with family and friends. 

Keep in touch
Since working from home means you can’t have a casual chat with your coworkers, you need to make an effort to communicate more instead of less, both to have the information you need to feel you’re working well and to keep connected when working remotely. You have to be more deliberate with your social interactions when working from home. It takes a little more effort, but continue to reach out to your co-workers: Slack them, set up a quick video check-in and lean on them the way you would at work.

Work from home brings a more flexible schedule, and you should see this as an advantage. Though you’re expected to follow a work schedule, that doesn’t mean you should become too rigid with it. Once in a while, it’s okay to play with your kids outside, have lunch with friends, go out for a coffee, etc.

It can feel like you’re never doing enough since you can practically always be working when you’re home. Resist the urge to be “always on” and always available to your manager and colleagues. Instead, make time for yourself mentally, and physically — make time to stretch between meetings, take short breaks to recharge, and remember, everyone is doing their best, including you!