Working from home used to be a perk. But these days, it is all about survival. You have to deal with tons of different factors to get through a workday-from clock-watching bosses to household chores piling up.
And as the pandemic stretches on, more and more American employees feel exhausted. Monster, an online job-hunting platform, surveyed hundreds of employees last July and found that 69 percent of them experience burnout symptoms while working from home. That’s a 20 percent increase from a similar survey conducted in early May.
Despite feeling burned out, many employees take less time than they normally would. Some canceled their summer vacations, hoping to spend their paid time-offs (PTOs) in the last quarter. After all, going on a holiday these days can be stressful due to intermittent lockdowns in various places. But what about merely taking a day off to relax at home? Many workers won’t also do it. They feel the threat that they could lose their paycheck or get salary cuts if the recession continues. So they spend more time working to maximize the opportunity to earn and somehow show their bosses they’re worth keeping. That added pressure to work harder while their home and the world are in shambles only made them feel more tired.
If you feel the same about the daily grind, here are some strategies to make your current situation better:
Create A Routine-And Stick To It
By this time, you have probably adjusted to a routine that somehow mimics your pre-COVID-19 schedule. Instead of spending the morning preparing for a long commute to work, you probably do a 30-minute jog. Or instead of getting a drink after shift, you log in to your personal Zoom account for a happy hour with friends. But why do you still feel too tired from your daily work? It could be because you have created an unrealistic routine and found it difficult to stick to it, or your work has sneaked its way to your “me” time.
One important thing to focus on when creating routines is to be realistic. Consider your current home situation. If you’re a single person living alone in a condo unit, you might reasonably fit in an hour of yoga three times a week. But if you’re an area manager working from home with three kids doing home school, a 10-minute of Duolingo or 30 minutes of YouTube each day could be a more realistic way to relax.
Also, it’s crucial to be deliberate about creating solid boundaries between work and personal life. For some, it might mean turning off their work phone once they clock out. For others, there may be a need to schedule non-work time on your office calendar to let your boss and colleagues know when you won’t be reachable. These measures could help you follow your daily work-home life routine more consistently.
Use All The Help That You Can Get
Seeking help, in this case, is possible in two ways. One is to use all the help that you can get at work. It isn’t easy to prioritize rest when you have too much on your plate. While it’s vital to show your bosses you’re valuable by going the extra mile each time, understand that your body has limits. If you’re not careful, you might find yourself feeling exhausted and anxious to do tasks that are used to be simple.
The same goes for business owners and leaders. With a reduced staff and other workplace issues, you might find yourself doing more things or taking more projects than you normally would. Be smart about these new projects by taking all the help you can get. Perhaps, instead of forming a new marketing team for a new product, why don’t you outsource some services? You can hire SEO, social media, and pay-per-click companies to help get the word out about your new product. This way, you also don’t put too much pressure on in-house staff, who may have to deal with other changes in their workload these days.
If you feel overwhelmed at some point, another thing you can do is get help outside work. Many therapists are now available over the phone or Zoom. You can get teletherapy to deal with your anxiety better. If you lack the means to pay for sessions, reach out to support groups online or close friends.
Figure Out When Enough Is Enough
Still feel burned out even after trying to make a healthy routine and using all the help you can get? Perhaps, it’s a sign that you need to move on. Figure out what’s stressing you out, and if these are external factors that you have no control over, then, maybe, it’s time to quit and pursue other endeavors.
This pandemic pushes companies to take extreme measures to stay afloat-increasing workload, rolling back benefits, and hiring freezes. No matter what you do or say, the organization may be unable or unwilling to create changes or revert to old processes to make your work situation better. And in those cases, it’s time to move on. As long as you build an exit plan, you can get through this pandemic safely.
Workplace burnout isn’t a new concept-it’s a usual hurdle that professionals need to overcome. But now that we’ve brought work home while the world outside is full of uncertainties, burnout becomes harder to deal with. So, we have to be kinder to ourselves and give ourselves a break when we need it the most.
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