Across the United States, millions of Americans have made a transition from their typical workplace to working remotely due to COVID-19. For some people, this is a happy break from their daily grind of sitting in traffic and working in a cubicle. But for some people, this sudden and drastic change has taken a toll on their mental and emotional health, as well as their productivity, resulting in burnout.
For workers who are used to conference rooms, team meetings and sticking to a schedule, COVID-19 has completely undone their routine and created a new normal for the time being. One risk that workers and employers alike face in this time of uncertainty is “work from home burnout”. The risk is substantial as the lines between work and free time are becoming blurred.
Work From Home Burnout
Some feel that they need to be working around the clock, checking in constantly to make it known they are indeed working. Afternoons will blend with evenings and days into weekends when people work from home. Burnout should be a major concern for employers and should be addressed in their daily conversations and considered in their business insurance coverage.
So, how can employees continue to be productive while staying away from burnout and working too much? How can we separate our work duties when work is now done on our couches or in our living rooms where our families are? What can be done to help each other cope?
Here are a few ideas for acknowledging and preventing burnout while working from home.
How can I work productively from home?
Working from home options offered by employers isn’t a new concept, and, in fact, has become more of a popular benefit in attracting new employees. But with COVID-19, working from home has changed from a job perk to the only way things are getting done for some workers.
But even if employees work at a job where at-home work is an option, having to pull a full week’s schedule from their home office or living room has brought up concerns about burnout and productivity.
It’s important for workers to try to maintain boundaries between work life and home life, even under the same roof. In the short-term, it may be a good thing to not have to catch a train to work or put on a business suit or heels.
But there needs to be clear boundaries about work-life balance in order to stay productive. This could mean creating a schedule and a goal for each day, or getting dressed as you usually would when heading into the office. This could also mean getting out the door at the same time you usually would every morning and driving to get a cup of coffee or going on a walk. While you end up back in your home office, going through these motions will help to break up the feeling of being trapped indoors.
Workers can also stay productive indoors by giving themselves breaks like they would at the office and a hard stop at the end of the day. By doing this, they can make sure they are avoiding blending their days together and blurring the lines of work duties and family duties.
How do I stop being isolated working from home?
When we change the way we get work done, or it’s changed for us, it’s normal to get out of sorts for a while. This includes feeling isolated from everyone, even if we live with friends and family. Our daily routines have been upended, which means we don’t get to see our desk buddies or our happy hour friends.
It’s important to know that isolation can impact our mental health, making us less flexible, more anxious, and less productive in the long run. Workers should find things that make them happy and offer up a break from their daily monotony. Throughout the day, workers should take time off for a hobby or a video call with a friend, family member or their favorite co-worker. This will help them to give their brain a rest while also connecting with people they miss, but look forward to seeing when they are able to again.
Another way that isolation can be avoided is to get outside for a walk, say around lunchtime. Getting a change of scenery, even if it’s just in your neighborhood can provide a reprieve from the same square footage of your home you see throughout the day.
Focus on important work
Another way to avoid burnout is to focus on top-priority tasks instead of just busy work. This will help you keep focus and provide mini-goals to reach throughout the day. While working from home, employees can feel pushed to over-work and get distracted with smaller tasks that may be more immediate.
Working around the clock, even on important tasks, isn’t the right thing to do. Instead, employees need to write out their daily tasks and coordinate with their co-workers and supervisors to make sure they are on track. Having this structure will also help employees feel like they have some control of their day, even during times like these.
What is the best small business insurance?
Currently, the insurance response landscape is up for interpretation in terms of the effects of COVID-19. Time will tell how the virus will work into claims related to mental, physical, and emotional health of employees. Local and state governments are already creating initiatives to offer free mental health services to people suffering from burnout or anxiety, or struggling with suicide.
Businesses should prepare for the potential of these types of claims and others, such as covering workers who get injured in their home but wish to pursue workers’ comp benefits. Companies should get business insurance to help limit their exposure to major and minor claims, protecting their future beyond COVID-19 and being prepared for whatever will come after.
About Byrnes Agency
At Byrnes Agency, we offer insurance solutions that can be tailored to meet your specific needs. Whether you’re looking for personal policies or commercial coverage, we have the right coverage for you. To learn more about our products, contact us today at one of our two locations.
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