5 tips to beat work from home burnout

We’ve been banging the work from home drum for years now, but even we can see that it’s not for everyone – at least not full time. Since the pandemic kicked off, many workplaces have adopted a hybrid model where possible – that’s when employees work a couple of days at home and spend a couple in the office.

But if you’re having to work at home all the time, there’s a chance that you could be getting tired of being stuck in the same spare room and sick of staying at home all day. If this sounds like you, here’s how to beat work from home burnout.

What is work from home burnout?

Work from home burnout is simply that feeling where you’ve had enough of working remotely. Also known as work from home fatigue, it results in a lack of motivation and feelings of dissatisfaction with your job and current set up. It can also leave you feeling disconnected from colleagues, especially if some are back at the office.

Figures from Ben – he all-in-one employee benefits platform for any company – highlight how serious the problem of burnout is among UK workers:

  • 52% of employees feel burnout, and “signs of burnout” have increased by 24% throughout 2020
  • 96% of employers provide mental health resources to staff, but only 1 in 6 employees feel supported by these resources
  • 79% of people feel “at or beyond workload capacity”
  • Burned-out employees are 63% more likely to take a sick day than happy and engaged employees

How to combat work from home burnout

If you think you could be suffering from work from home fatigue, you need to do something about it straight away. If not, your work could start to suffer and this can have all sorts of knock-on effects for your professional and personal life. For instance, if you start procrastinating you can quickly find yourself working longer hours while being less productive. This can eat into your home life and cause issues there as you are never switching off from work.

Here are five tips to overcome the burnout.

1. Work out what the problem is

There are any number of reasons why you might be suffering from burnout when working from home. Firstly, although we’re not a massive fan of the morning commute, it does serve to break up your day – something you don’t have when working from home as the furthest you probably have to travel is from your bed to the kitchen.

Working from home can also mean there’s a lack of privacy or personal space due to sharing the space with family members or housemates. Then there’s the blurring of the boundaries between work and home life, as well as feelings of isolation due to living and working alone.

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s worth trying to get outside or at least have a change of scenery wherever possible. You could even do the old remote worker favourite of telecommuting from a local cafe or coffee shop – not only does this get you out of the house, you can also meet up and even network with other people.

2. Try the Pomodoro method

Time management can be an issue when working from home, especially if you keep finding other household tasks to keep you otherwise occupied. When this is coupled with the fact that we all work better at different times of the day, keeping on top of your workload can be tricky when you step outside of the office environment.

So try using the Pomodoro Technique, which sees you work in bursts of 25 minutes. Set a timer for 25 minutes to focus solely on work, before setting another five-minute timer as a break straight after. Rinse and repeat four times before taking a longer break.

3. Turn off your notifications

It’s hard to get anything done if your emails or phone notifications are constantly pinging at you. Even if you think you’re good at ignoring them, notifications can subconsciously leave you with a nagging feeling that you’ve a new task to be done. This is known as the Zeigarnik Effect.

So turn your notifications off and put in a block of time later in the day to check them (this works well with the Pomodoro Technique).

4. Look after your mind and body

Exercise is important for a healthy mind and body. We’re not talking a daily game of chess and iron man marathon training every day, but just some basics to keep everything in shape. Going to the gym or for a run is a great way to break up your day, clear your head, and keep your body healthy. If you don’t have the time, money, or inclination, you could instead do a work from home workout. Yoga is also a winner when it comes to clearing your mind and keeping your body in shape.

As a bare minimum, you should drink plenty of water and do regular breathing exercises.

5. Brain-dump at the end of your working day

With no post-work drinks or commute home, it can be tough to switch off at the end of the working day. If there are any work-related issues on your mind once you’re due to clock off, write it all down and pick it back up when you’re next working. This helps get it out of your head, making it far easier to switch off in the evenings.