In this post, we’ll explore tips for working from home to combat burnout, increase productivity and reintroduce work/home balance. These worked for me and I hope they do the same for you!
When the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, many Americans quickly had to turn their home into an office. I only started working from home in October of 2020, but since then I’ve learned how wonderful, yet challenging remote work can be. According to Global Workplace Analytics, about “25-30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021”. That’s a good chunk of people and that number might be growing as companies begin to offer more permanent work from home options to their employees.
Whether you’re one of the many individuals who is just starting a work-from-home job or a seasoned veteran, I’m sure you’re well aware of the impact this opportunity can have on you. If you’re struggling to find that work/life balance at home, you aren’t alone! This post will give you some tips for working from home in 2021 and strategies I’ve discovered to become the most productive, all while easing and preventing the inevitable burnout we all face at some point.
Working From Home Has Great Benefits, but Sometimes YOU Need to Find The Balance
There are many benefits of working from home. Some of the shining beacons are sleeping in a little longer, dressing in sweatpants all day, and saving loads of money by not having to commute. I’m sure you can think of a few more and some unique perks that pertain to your own life. What can we say? Working from home is good, too good at times that it’s easy to get lost in the flexibility. The flexibility of working from home is enticing to some, but when the lines blur between work life and home life, many people feel burnt out. When work is a room away (or in your bedroom) it’s always calling, and really hard to shut off. I have personally struggled with setting boundaries between the two. Often I find myself working longer into the evening and even opening up my laptop on the weekends (which no one is asking me to). Something I think we can all relate to is trying to unplug after a long workday. When you work from home, sometimes it feels like we never “leave the office”.
What is Burnout?
First, let’s dive into what burnout is. Burnout, according to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, is “physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion accompanied by decreased motivation, lowered performance, and negative attitudes toward oneself and others.” Burnout isn’t just caused by one thing. The prolonged stress about work, finances, family, and the pandemic are massive contributors to burnout. This pandemic has thrown our world on its side and forced many of us to find new ways to make a living and fundamentally survive. Yeah, this year has contributed to burnout, but there is hope, and you can start to make that change. When you observe and become aware of what’s causing your burnout, you can target it and take steps to introduce balance back into your life. When it comes to working from home in particular, I’ve found that having the discipline to implement these changes drastically improved my mental state. It can do the same for you if you stay consistent and follow them.
My Tips For Working From Home
Stick to a Schedule
A consistent work schedule is crucial to productivity. Start work and end work at the same time every day. That also means taking a proper lunch break and smaller breaks throughout the day. My suggestion is to set reminders on your phone so you know when to take a break.
Separate Your Workspace From Your Chill Space
Not only does sticking to a schedule create structure, but so does setting physical boundaries. If possible, set your desk as far away from your living room or bedroom. This allows you to wake up and “commute” to work versus just rolling out of bed into your desk. Having a proper desk and ergonomic chair will especially set you up for success.
A Clean Space = A Clean Mind
Along with the previous tip, try to make your workspace as clutter-free as possible. Doing so will allow your brain to focus more on the task at hand, not on the clutter around you. I find it to be distracting if I see clutter around me! At the end of the day, I like to clean up around my workspace so I am prepared for the next day.
Get Dressed, It Makes a Difference!
Although it may be tempting to stay in your pajamas all day, getting dressed in different clothes can signal that it’s time to get things done. I feel better and more confident when I put on an outfit and get ready. Getting dressed shakes things up and changes the dynamic. You don’t have to sacrifice comfort either, there are lots of comfy outfits and alternatives to your PJ’s. For me, it’s more about the act of changing and getting ready than it is what I’m actually wearing.
Avoiding Household Chores in the Middle of Your Workday
One of the major boundaries you can set is not doing various “home tasks” throughout the day like laundry or dishes. Sure it is convenient to do that but pay attention to how it affects your day. Personally, I find I end up working even later in the evening when I step away to get some extra chores done. Also, this plays into the strategy of separating the home life and work life.
Do Something to Signal the End of Your Workday
I love either going for a walk or doing yoga in the evening to help decompress after the day. After a long day of sitting in a chair, getting active is the perfect way to “put away” work. And, it gives me something to look forward to!
Implementing These Tips For Working From Home Will Help You
I hope you found this post to be helpful. If you did, share it with a friend! These simple strategies have made a dramatic improvement in easing the work from home burnout in my life and they can do the same for you. The hard part is not giving in to the temptations of blending work and home. Having the discipline to stick with these strategies will truly reinforce a healthy work/life balance back into your life. Overall, working from home has really been a blessing and I’m glad to have the option during this pandemic. It will be interesting to see how the dynamic changes as we get closer to normal!
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