5 Tips to Avoid WFH Burnout
Work from home (WFH) has been on everyone’s mind. The global pandemic brought millions to work from home for the first time last year. When you’re at home, the lines between work and non-work became blurred in new and unusual ways, and many of us who are working remotely for the first time are likely to struggle to preserve healthy boundaries between our professional and personal lives.
No one said working from home was easy. Often we feel that to be productive, we have to work all the time. Afternoons will blend with evenings; weekdays will blend with weekends, and little sense of time off will remain. For many, this leading to eventual burnout.
If you think burnout just means being exhausted from your job, think again… Burnout is known to cause a litany of physical and mental conditions including (but are not limited to) irritability, loss of sleep, feeling lethargic, feeling unmotivated, anxiety and sometimes, depression.
While this may be difficult to digest, there are strategies to nip WFH burnout in the bud before it gets too bad. Below, we share some tips on how you can avoid burnout and stay positive while working from home.
1. Set boundaries
One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from burnout is to create boundaries for your day. While a lot of that has to do when and how much you work, it also has to do with where you work. It's essential to have a dedicated workspace so that you can separate your work from the rest of your life.
You don’t need a corner office at home to make this work. All you need is a dedicated workspace that lets you walk away at the end of the day (like you would at the office).
2. Use “rituals” to start and end your workday
A physical workspace helps you separate work from the rest of your home life. But you need to pair physical boundaries with mental ones as well. Rituals are symbolic actions performed at key moments that help us maintain our habits, switch contexts, and keep work at work. These could include: showering and putting on work clothes in the morning, making a coffee, planning your daily to-do list or going for a walk to replace your morning commute. In the evening, this could be closing all browser tabs and cleaning up your desktop, setting your phone in aeroplane mode as you cook or putting away your laptop to read a chapter of a book.
3. Focus on your most important task
While working from home, we often feel compelled to project the appearance of productivity, but this can lead to focusing on more immediate tasks instead of more important—a tendency that research suggests is counterproductive in the long run, even if it benefits productivity in the short run. When faced with an increased workload, particularly if you find yourself juggling family and work tasks, you should prioritise the important work at the start of your day.
4. Wear blue light blocking glasses
Office workers are estimated to spend almost a third of their day looking at a screen - and that doesn’t count the time spent scrolling through social media. Long hours sitting in front of a screen is thought to be harmful to your eyes. The displays expose us to blue light, which over time can cause digital eye strain giving us tired eyes, blurred vision, headaches and broken sleep. Add blue light blocking glasses to your work wardrobe to protect your eyes from harmful rays, increase focus, help you to sleep better and reduce the chance of burnout.
Check out our full range of blue light eyewear HERE.
5. Protect your free time
The biggest problem when it comes to working from home is a lack of clear segregation between work and personal hours, but the reality is, you do have control over when you’re available. 132 billion business emails are sent every single day. And many of them come in outside of work hours. To protect yourself from WFH burnout, you can’t be a slave to your inbox at all hours of the day. This often comes down to communicating expectations. Have a conversation with your clients and team about when you’ll respond to messages (and when you’re offline) and stick to your schedule.
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