WFH burnout is certainly real and we are all now starting to feel the pressure. Because our days blur into one another - we don’t know our morning from our afternoon from our evening - and we are constantly receiving notifications from work, whether it’s emails, Slack, Teams or Whatsapp messages and phone calls, it can be hard to switch from work to home life or even switch off at all. This can be made all the more difficult when you are looking after children and homeschooling them - it may seem like every task you undertake is fit around something out of your control.
Here’s how to gain some of that control back and avoid WFH burnout along the way.
1. Maintain home and work boundaries
Home and work are slowly blending into one.
Have rituals at the beginning and end of your working day. For example, having a shower and getting dressed into a different outfit, creating a to-do list or talking a walk.
Additionally, have specified work hours. If these aren’t the same as the hours you were previously on or differ from your colleagues, come to some agreement that suit all of you regarding when you will be available. Stress that outside of those times they can contact you but you might not reply. Your colleagues should set their own working hours as well when you’ll not be able to contact them.
Have a dedicated workspace, even if it’s just the kitchen table and either leave it at the end of your working day or clear it away. Don’t use exactly the same space and same set up to play computer games or watch tv in your leisure time.
2. Focus on your most important work
Tackle the big tasks which take a lot of energy and focus, rather than the smaller ones such as replying to emails. They will be hard to start, but will make you feel better when you complete them and more motivated to tick more off your list.
Set yourself some weekly and daily goals so you know how you are doing. Once you’ve tracked your progress for a bit you’ll have a better understanding of how much you can achieve in a time frame and when you are most productive.
3. Schedule your out of hours
As well as scheduling your work life you should also schedule some of your home life as whiteout it life will pass you by and you’ll fail to know what you’ve done with your day. Schedule in activities to do, whether it’s things that actually need to be done such as going to the shops or cooking meals, or things you’d like to do such as getting some exercise, talking a bath or binge watching a box set.
At least at the end of it you’ll know what you’ve been doing with your time, and will take enjoyment from that, rather than just seeing it whittle away and getting de-motivated by not having achieved anything.
4. Go offline
Part of the reason why working from home is so difficult is because, apart from our immediate family, all our interactions are done virtually. Take some time in both your personal and work life to venture offline.
When you have a big work assignment to complete and want to concentrate, set you ‘out of office’ email so that, for that hour or so, you have no reason to check it.
When you are having some personal time, such as going for a walk or playing board games with your family, turn your phone on airplane mode. You’ll enjoy what you are first and foremost doing and will feel all the better for it.
And finally stay away from the news. At first, the coronavirus stats were fun to watch, however now nothing is new or exciting anymore, and there’s no point spending all your time refreshing your feed.
5. Give yourself a break
Don’t beat yourself up if everything doesn’t go according to plan. In these times, not everything will.
6. Find the best solution for you
You are the one who has to live and work at home alongside your family or flatmates, and your day-to-day physical and mental health is most important. So if you’ve found ways of rubbing alongside one another that work, stick to it.