Overcoming Burnout in Remote and In-Person Work

Job burnout is a reaction to chronic workplace stress that can be characterized by feeling exhausted, becoming irritable or cynical at work, not functioning well, and feeling less motivated to do your job. Burnout can affect both physical and mental health leading to recurring illness.

Some of the possible causes leading to job burnout can include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed from a heavy workload
  • Lack of communication and support from a supervisor
  • Unclear job requirements
  • Not having a social support network
  • Work-life imbalance

Employees that have the option of working from home may experience additional causes:

  • difficulty with setting up a daily routine and boundaries
  • maintaining social connections

Developing self-care and coping strategies can be helpful. The following tips can help you regain a sense of well-being.

Work-life balance. Many employees who were able to work remotely realized they were lacking balance before the pandemic and have valued having it while they were at home. Ending your workday on time, logging off email, and setting aside some time each day to enjoy favorite activities unrelated to work can benefit you whether you are going to the workplace or working remotely. Taking vacation time can reduce stress and help you live a more balanced life.

Make self-care a priority. Be good to yourself on a regular basis. Get a healthy amount of sleep. Relax with meditation or yoga. Try to get some physical activity most days – go for a run, take short exercise breaks throughout the day or go for a lunchtime walk. Take time to read or listen to a podcast. Set aside time in your week for hobbies and favorite things to do. Spend time with family & friends.

Communicate with your supervisor. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your workload, ask your supervisor for help in managing it or see if it’s possible to have a flexible schedule. Clarify your job requirements. Focus on the aspects of your job you enjoy doing.

Set up a daily routine. If you are not going to your workplace every day, it’s important to have a routine and boundaries when working from home. Establish a start time and end time to your day. Take time for your lunch break. Have an effective work from home set up with a comfortable chair and desk or table. Put your laptop away when you are done for the day.

Maintain social connections.  If you aren’t seeing your co-workers in person, schedule time to catch up via Zoom to talk about things unrelated to work. Make plans regularly to keep in touch with friends.

If things don’t change, consider your options and find what is best for your mental and physical health:

  • Take time off
  • Reach out for help from an employee wellness program or a mental health professional
  • Schedule a career counseling appointment to get career-related advice

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