10 Jan How to Avoid Remote Work Burnout
Imagine… sitting at the kitchen table, sunlight peeping through the blinds, sipping a freshly brewed cup of coffee with all the add-ins you want, dressed in sweat pants, and staring at the computer.
While it sounds like a writer’s heaven, in today’s remote work world, it’s a reality for more than 4.7 million U.S. workers. And for many remote workers, it’s considered to be a lot hotter and much lower than heaven.
Despite the perks of no travel time or having to dress for the office, many people experience remote work burnout.
What is remote work burnout?
The term “burnout” was coined in the 1970s, when a psychologist saw employees begin to lose motivation and get depressed after working too hard. ‘Burnout’ became the term to describe physical and mental exhaustion, a lack of engagement, and lack of job performance.
According to Owl Labs, “Remote work burnout is when employees fall into a state of emotional or mental exhaustion caused by prolonged stressful professional experiences, and is signaled by feeling emotionally drained and not being able to meet the demands of your workplace.”
How to avoid remote work burnout
How can you help your employees to avoid remote work burnout? The top three struggles that people who do remote work experience are EPresenteeism, isolation or loneliness, and struggles in communication.
Most Human Resources managers agree that remote workers struggle with ePresenteeism. According to research from LinkedIn and the Mental Health Foundation, “the extended period of remote working has encouraged a culture dubbed ‘ePresenteeism,’ meaning employees feel that they should be online and available as much as possible even if out of hours, or if they are unwell.”
The way to combat this culture of EPresenteeism to avoid remote work burnout is to provide remote workers with clear and defined work expectations. In our technological world, it is easy for workers to feel as though they need to be available 24/7 because they are not going into the office.
2. Isolation, Loneliness, and Abandonment
Another great struggle that causes remote work burnout is isolation or loneliness. While the introverts who work from home are giving themselves high-fives all day for a job well done with no random office chatter, the extroverts are suffocating. They thrive and gain energy from the people around them. Working from home, especially if they live alone, creates feelings of isolation, loneliness, and abandonment.
Those who are struggling with feelings of isolation, loneliness, and abandonment due to remote work can be revived through Zoom meetings (with the camera on), getting out into nature during the lunch break, and being proactive in contacting coworkers via internal communication systems–even if it’s just to share something funny. It’s not an unwise use of time; it’s a way to help maintain morale and boost mental health.
Another way to help your employees avoid remote work burnout is to communicate clearly. While it seems like a no-brainer, employees often struggle with understanding expectations. For example, in the office, they were aware that they weren’t expected to attend to the projects until the next workday when they left for the day.
However, when you never leave your workspace because it’s your living space and emails and instant messages go directly to multiple devices, it’s easy to feel the burden of expectation to get things done–NOW. So many remote workers feel added pressure to show their value to avoid being let go or downsized.
Therefore, communicating when projects need to be completed is essential, especially when contacting remote workers “after hours.” Also, to boost morale and increase mental health, remind remote workers what they bring to the table. Encourage them when a job is completed with excellence. Most people will work harder and be more productive when they feel as if what they are doing is appreciated by their superiors.
Care Plus Solutions is America’s first EAP and is headquartered in New York and has offices in New Jersey. Over the course of the company’s 46 year history, their brand has remained firmly rooted in the rich history of the EAP field, never losing sight of the fundamental purpose of the EAP; delivering personal and quality services to those in need. It is fair to say that Care Plus Solutions is the gold standard in the field of Employee Assistance.