Work from home burnout: How this new burnout is affecting employes during COVID-19
2020 June 03
51 percent of employees who are working from home are experiencing burnout. While struggling to find a work/life balance and stopping burnout is nothing new in any industry, working from home burnout is new in office life. COVID-19 has switched the way traditional office life for most employees, and a new burnout is happening in the United States.
Working from home has so many benefits such as flexibility in work hours, more family time, more time for hobbies, fewer distractions from coworkers, but at the same time, the lines are blurred between work and home life! Employees, who are fortunate enough to work from home, are dealing with a whole new set of working problems and stressors that were never an issue before. (Unless you have been working remotely for years).
These new stressors are dealing with roommates and children, zoom meetings, lagging WiFi, loneliness, anxiety, uncertainty, a blurring of days, not being able to leave their homes and so many other stressors.
In December of 2019, it was estimated that 60 percent of employees were experiencing burnout. As employees headed into 2020 with new hopes and expectations, COVID-19 has changed this completely. Home was once the place for many employees to get away from their work lives, but as employees are at home working all day, these changes of “escaping” to their safe place are now blurred.
In the same study as above, while work is no longer necessarily the cause of burnout for a number of employees, the same symptoms are showing in their personal and professional lives while at home.
What are the symptoms of burnout?
There is no medical diagnosis for burnout. The MayoClinic explains that, “this is a state of physical or emotional exhaustion or stress that causes a lack of accomplishments and loss of personal identity.”
It is not common to feel cynical at work, a lack of motivation, reduced excitement or creativity, constantly tired or losing yourself in the process of working. There are a number of reasons why burnout occurs such as:
- A lack of infrastructure
- A lack of support
- Management expectations
- Self expectations
- Workplace dynamics
- Extremes of activity (always chaos or always super slow)
These reasons are some of the most common reasons why burnout occurs and this can turn into an employee feeling frustrated, cynical, unmotivated, constantly stressed, moody and exhausted. When these symptoms prolong for quite some time, this can cause emotional and physical problems at home and work.
The risk in all of this whether it be working from home burnout covid or being at the office burnout is that employees leave, lack clarity within their own positions and feel less valued than other employees.
Many of us working from home right now keep asking, “why am I so tired?” Well, there are a plethora of reasons that range from personal to work related, but one of those can be from the lack of “shutting off”.
An entire day or afternoon of Zoom meetings does not leave much time to run errands or finish other work related matters, which means employees are finding themselves working odd hours while home to make up for those “missed” times during the day.
This is one of the main reasons why you might find yourself so exhausted while working from home. We are less likely to get up and go for walks, make our lunch or do other activities that we were doing at the office. This can cause a bit more sluggish moods and tiredness.
How can a company help their employees with working from home burnout?
The first thing that any company out there can do is make sure their management and supervisors are communicating with their employees regularly during this time! In times of uncertainty, it is imperative that a leader communicates with their employees to make sure that all questions are answered and to assure employees that everything is going well.
Another thing to do is make sure to let go of the reins a bit. As long as employees are working eight hours a day, does it really matter what times? In the same sense, do not micromanage. You hired a team to do the work, and as long as the work is being done and properly done, then just let the reins go a bit. Everyone is doing their best, and employees who feel micromanaged can feel working from home burnout earlier.
Just because everyone is working from home does not mean that PTO should not be used! This is what causes burnout in employees! Encourage employees to use their vacation time, sick time and PTO because it is theirs! They have worked hard, and deserve time to themselves.
Be empathetic. Each person is dealing with a different battle each day, and a pandemic is only making situations harder. If one employee who is a super productive employee is now falling behind, reach out and find out why. Offer help, support and anything else needed.
Working from home burnout covid is not going to go away anytime soon, but can be mitigated with employees setting boundaries with their workplace.
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