As remote working has become increasingly popular and necessary due to COVID-related restrictions, we’re seeing a rise in ‘burnout’ amongst remote workers. Studies have shown that one third of remote workers are unable to unplug from work, leading to feelings of exhaustion and detachment.
What is burnout?
Burnout is a feeling of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion due to prolonged or extreme stress. It can cause feelings of helplessness, frustration, irritability, and loss of interest in both work and personal life.
Why has burnout increased with remote working?
A study of 1,200 remote workers in Europe found that 37% of them suffer from burnout; more than double that of non-remote workers. This is likely due to several factors:
- Lack of boundaries – Many remote workers struggle to set boundaries between their work and personal life, leading to a feeling of ‘always being on’;
- Unrealistic expectations – Remote workers may feel the need to respond to emails at all hours, due to stress from managers or peers
- Loneliness – Remote workers can also feel lonely and disconnected due to a lack of face-to-face interaction with colleagues.
How can we avoid or manage burnout?
Burnout can be prevented or managed with a few simple steps:
- Create a schedule – Set specific times for work, and stick to those times. This will help to create boundaries between work and personal life.
- Take regular breaks – Schedule breaks throughout the day to give your mind and body a break, and take short walks or stretch to reenergize.
- Stay connected – Make sure to stay connected with colleagues and friends, either through video calls, emails, or text messages.
- Set realistic goals – Don’t overcommit or set unrealistic goals for yourself. Take on only what you can handle and accept when you need help.
Burnout is a real issue and it’s important to be mindful of your own mental health and take steps to manage and prevent burnout, especially while working remotely.