5 Tips For Avoiding Burnout Whilst Working Remote

According to a July 2020 survey of 1500 respondents by FlexJobs and Mental Health America (MHA), 75% of people have experienced burnout at work, with 40% saying they’ve experienced burnout during the pandemic specifically. In addition, employed workers are more than 3 times as likely to report poor mental health now vs before the pandemic (5% vs 18%). There are a number of personal factors that play a part in this, not least health paranoia and anxiety bought on by a very unique moment in modern history.

However, professionally, there is one key variable that has surely contributed to these worrying statistics. That is a change in working conditions. With the majority of the world obligated to an at home set-up at some point in the past six months, it has been an awkward transitional period for many. The issues of childcare, isolation and cramped conditions constantly ruminating in the psyche of the remote worker; often with no sense of escapism midweek. Even for those lucky enough to be offered the flexibility of a hybrid structure, the threat of burnout is ever present, as we juggle lives between our office and work personas. With that in mind, we’ve compiled five tips to help you maintain your mental health and wellbeing in the new work world.

 

1. Create a schedule, make a to do list

 

At the beginning of each day, take a little time to draw out a to do list and a schedule for the day. The process of physically ticking items off can bring peace of mind and help give you a real sense of completion and accomplishment. This ensures that tasks don’t feel overwhelming and are instead approached piece by piece. If you are working from home, this can also help to mimic your work environment in a small way, by monitoring your progress and making your day feel purposeful, rather than just a random jumble of incomplete tasks.

 

2. Establish boundaries between your work and home life

 

This is so important. One thing that will give anyone burnout is not switching off and constantly letting your brain obsess and ruminate over work. It’s essential that you create boundaries between your work time and leisure time. This doesn’t necessarily mean sticking to a 9-5 or 10-6 schedule when working from home. Different routines work for different people and you will know what works best for you. However, choosing some sort of cut off time, whether that’s 6pm or 8pm, can give you a mental break and ensure that you take full advantage of relaxation time. At that cut off time, shut off your laptop and put your work things away. Exit your office space and go and do something you enjoy. If you’re an employer or manager, you can help your team by implementing a new system, for example, where they don’t have to answer their emails or slack messages from a certain time. Just a little something to let them know that their leisure time and mental wellbeing are is important. 

3. Go outside, exercise

 

Even if it’s just a twenty-minute walk, get out there, get some fresh air and move. It really cannot be underestimated what this can do for your mental health. It is literal escapism. Escaping from the four walls of your kitchen turned office for a short jog or run is a great way to not only reboot your brain, but also to get some invaluable endorphins pumping around, lower cortisol levels and generally contribute to improved physical health. Keeping your body strong and fit will help you to deal with everyday stresses and minimize your chances of becoming run down and ill.

 4. Spend quality time with those you love

 

For those that do not live alone, one of the big perks of working from home, particularly within a hybrid structure, is seeing your loved ones more. However, that positive is completely negated if you don’t plan real quality time. One way that you can take full advantage is by scheduling in time. As clinical as that may sound, it’s actually a great way to enjoy what ironically will feel like impulsive fun. Cook a fancy meal for your partner at lunch, take your little one to the park for a kick around. The more you actively plan out activities with the ones you love, the more you’ll appreciate this time and the pros of remote working will shine through, making you more contented and present.

5. Manage your health

The recent rise in poor mental health as a result of COVID, has led to an increase in the abundance of material freely available to those seeking help. Whether it’s yoga, mindfulness or talking therapies, the resources are there if you need them. If you’re looking for apps that you can routinely access to maintain positive mental health, Calm and Headspace are both fantastic for breathing exercises, meditation and bedtime stories. Because who doesn’t want to be lulled to sleep by the dulcet tones of Stephen Fry or Matthew McConaughey.

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