Loneliness and Burnout
According to the State of Remote Work 2018 study, 21% of workers believe loneliness is the number one challenge with working remotely, and many believe their moments of loneliness impact productivity, connection to teammates and all-around wellbeing. In addition, a 2018 Gallup study revealed that 23% of employees reported feeling burned out very often or always, while an additional 44% reported feeling burned out sometimes. However, these statistics were obviously before the global COVID-19 pandemic. Now, millions of employees have made the transition to remote work on top of “stay at home” and “shelter in place” orders. The lines between work and non-work are blurring in new and unusual ways, preserving a healthy work-life balance is becoming more difficult, and feelings of isolation are on the rise. This makes remote workers at an even higher risk of experiencing both loneliness and burnout.
How to Prevent Loneliness and Burnout
- Stay Connected with Co-Workers: If your organization has created ways to connect with your co-workers, such as a virtual watercooler or a virtual coffee break hour, participate in them. Talking and catching up about nonwork-related topics can combat feelings of loneliness and instantly boost your mood.
- Stay Connected with Friends and Family: Set aside time each day to talk to and check in on your friends and family members. It could be a Facetime coffee date, signing up together for virtual yoga classes, a lunchtime call, an evening chat, or any type of virtual communication that helps you feel socially connected.
- Create a Schedule that Works for You: Sticking to a 9-5 work day may not be possible if you have young children at home or are caring for any elder family members. Create a work schedule that works for you, communicate that to your boss and team members, and then stick to it.
- Follow a Routine: Burnout can happen quicker than you think while working from home. One of the best ways to combat it is to stick to a healthy routine. Go to bed and wake up at the same times you normal would, allowing yourself 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Eat healthy meals and snacks throughout the day, stick to a workout regime, and make time for your hobbies.
- Separate Your Home and Work Life: If you have the space, create a home office where you can complete your work. Start each morning just like you would before a normal work day, and then change into your version of “work clothes” to help you separate from home life.
- Create a Signal: Typically, leaving the office would be your signal that the work day is over. Since your office is now at home, create a way to end your day. It could be changing back into comfortable clothes, going for a run, starting dinner, or whatever helps you start to decompress from the work day.
- Disconnect from Work: At the end of each day, shut your office door or put away your work materials and turn off your email notifications. This will help you stick to your work hours and allow yourself to fully relax and recharge.