With the majority of Europe still very much in the jaws of the Covid-19 crisis, many will be working from home (WFH) again. Between repeated lockdowns, the recent holidays, and being ordered by the government to stay at home, the WFH burnout is inevitable. There is little to no variation in our day-to-day lives, and each day seems to merge into one. No wonder WFH is becoming harder and harder. Read on to find out how you can prevent yourself from reaching the WFH burnout plaguing so many.
First things first, it’s important to create a routine that mimics your typical working one. If that means getting up at 7am – despite having no commute – and going to bed at 11pm, then so be it. Creating and maintaining such a routine will let your body know that it is in work mode (as opposed to holiday mode) and therefore adjust its body clock accordingly. Furthermore, creating a good daily routine with regards to waking and sleeping hours should improve sleep quality and therefore your general productivity throughout the day.
If possible, try to separate your work space from your living space. Not everyone will have the capacity to do so, but if this means working at your kitchen table instead of in your bedroom, then that might be a good idea. Anything that will enable you to stop associating your bedroom with work and reserve it for down time will help prevent burnout. If this isn’t possible, then do not bring your work into bed with you. It might be tempting but doing so will completely dissolve the boundaries between work and sleep/ relaxation, resulting in inevitable burnout.
If you are working in your kitchen or another relatively communal space, there may be a certain degree of family-related distractions. Try to minimise these. If you have an office or study, this is ideal. If not, let your family know that you need to focus during X hours – as if it were a regular working day – and therefore should not be interrupted unless strictly necessary. This can be more difficult with younger children around, but perhaps you can take it in turns with your partner and have either mornings or afternoons off parenting (whilst working) duty.
Put your work away
When your hours are up, be disciplined with yourself and put your work away. It can be so tempting to carry on working or keep your laptop out “in case of a work emergency”, but you need to have clear-cut downtime to avoid burnout. If necessary, log out of your work email or turn notifications off so you can switch off from work and be with your family (or whoever you live with).
If your country’s government guidelines allow it, get outside every day. Even if only for 5 minutes. Perhaps, after finishing the working day, you could go for a 15-minute brisk walk around your local park. The fresh air will help to clear your mind and clearly mark the end of your working hours.