For many, the transition from the office to remote working has transformed lives merging professional and personal worlds into a hectic blur. We are only just getting an understanding of what the limits are but by finding the limits, it also presents solutions to overcome these challenges. So how do we negotiate the ever-looming threat of burnout?
For many, the transition from the office to remote working has transformed lives merging professional and personal worlds into a hectic blur. The constant need to juggle work with unfamiliar distractions has challenged many to think in a way that it never has before.
Taking on these challenges however, can put workers on the edge of a “burnout” as stress levels rise, adapting to what will be the “new normal”.
We are only just getting an understanding of what the limits are but by finding the limits, it also presents solutions to overcome these challenges. So how do we negotiate the ever-looming threat of burnout?
Understanding the problem
Working from home is not exactly a new concept. Before the pandemic, a study by financial planning firm Fundera found that nearly 5 million people in the US were working at home for 50% of the week or more. Yet with the trend gaining momentum out of necessity, the cultural undertones surrounding the world of WFH has raised more questions than ever before.
With economic losses dominating the news, people are suddenly stressing more about their short or long-term survival. This panic forces employees to up their effort in almost every department into overdrive as they attempt to show their effort and dedication to their employer.
Whether it is by working excessive hours, increasing workloads or constantly communication with their team, it all contributes to rising stress levels. By pushing themselves, workers hope this protects them from redundancy as businesses look to streamline further if and where necessary.
There is also no respite from the distractions and constant chatter from all aspects of the business which deviate from the task at hand. Working remotely has eliminated tasks that many of us have taken for granted such as talking to a colleague in the hall or elevator, or a receptionist taking phone calls. These practices have fallen by the wayside opening the floodgates for an individual to be bombarded in all directions.
The influx overwhelms the minds and distracts from the task at hand whether it is creating a presentation, editing spreadsheets or handling a conference call. As Shane Muller notes, the “damage has been done. And removal of receptionists and gatekeepers during WFH has collectively let the world barge in through mobiles.”
Conquering the dilemma
The problem may seem like a looming spectre but there are ways to overcome the issues without having to make many sacrifices. As much as technology can be a burden, it can also be the saving grace.
It doesn’t have to be complicated either. It can be as simple as changing the status of how someone appears to their colleagues. Some communication platforms are integrating status markers displaying what someone is doing. It can simply say “busy” or “in a meeting” and utilizing this can show other parties that someone at that time. It’s a simple trick but it’s just as impactful as it would be having a physical notice in the office itself.
Whilst not having a receptionist or assistant available to take calls may leave some people vulnerable to a never-ending cycle of calls, it is also possible to enlist the help of a virtual assistant or team to help manage the inflow of communications.
The whole point of a virtual assistant is to alleviate the pressure and direct non-essential communications much like their physical counterpart would. Many conference platforms such as Skype & Microsoft Teams can allow for an entire team to be created for this purpose acting as an overflow line to direct traffic away from someone who is too busy to take calls and messages every 30 seconds.
By easing the tide, it gives the employer employee time focus on core tasks and re-visit lesser issues at a convenient time. It’s something that Muller has noticed through his own experiences remarking that it’s a “little thing but makes a huge difference.”
Embracing the human factor
As much as we rely on technology for our remote working needs, the human factor also plays a big role in preventing us from burn out. All the small interactions and encounters with colleagues may not seem much at the time but it is clear to see now just how crucial they can be for the daily grind.
Without it, many employees would actually opt to stay at home rather than spend the day alone in an office space seeing it as the more productive option. Therefore, placing a bigger emphasis on finding a balance between work and home can help get the most out of remote learning. Even if it is just meeting up at a safe social venue once a week to discuss business can help refresh the mind and provide the energy needed to overcome a major hurdle.
It generates the feeling of hope which is ultimately one of the biggest energy sources needed to get through the working day. Using these feelings rejuvenates the mind quite unlike any other emotion and it kickstarts the mind into a second wave of productivity.
This second wind provides the energy needed to keep soldiering on and giving 100% in a time where the future has never been harder to see. However, by utilising these feelings and taking advantages of the tools at our disposal, it can help diminish the risk of burnout and keep things moving along the right track.
Need a hand working out how to get your work from home balance right for your team? Contact Us for a free advisory session where we’ll walk you through some best practice strategies you can implement now.