Many workers had never worked from home before the pandemic swept the country back in March. And most don’t want to return to the traditional 9-5 grind.
As author Olga Khazan points out in her recent Atlantic article, Work From Home Is Here to Stay, “Anecdotal evidence indicates that people working remotely are currently working longer days.”In addition to the financial benefits, i.e., no longer having to pay for office space, employers who were once hesitant to offer work from home policies are changing their tune because newly remote employees are proving that they can get their work done from anywhere, even under the most unpleasant circumstances.”
Technologies like Zoom and Google Meet have made it possible not only to work from home but successfully work from home, even if it requires working with a team.
Being a digital nomad has its perks. Still, there can be a dark side. After the initial novelty of working from home wears off, burnout and loneliness can impact remote workers more than their in-office counterparts. Twenty percent of remote workers report struggling with feelings of loneliness and professional isolation.
Here are some of the best practices to avoid burnout when you work from home.
Sticking to a morning routine can help you create structure in your day. It can be tempting to sleep in longer than usual or check emails from your phone before you get out of bed but having a consistent morning routine sets the tone for a productive day.
“Creating a morning routine is not focused on who can accomplish the most or check off more boxes than everyone else. Instead, it is about allowing yourself to begin your day with confidence, peace, and a positive attitude,” writes Jodi Clarke, MA, LPC/MHSP for Very Well Minded.
There are numerous benefits of starting the day slowly. Enjoy coffee, practice yoga, or journal about the little things you that make you grateful. Ticking off the small tasks raises your self-confidence enough to propel yourself forward.
Your morning routine might include exercise, but even if it doesn’t, you should 30-minutes a day moving your body. Exercise can improve mood, provide consistent energy levels, and help counteract the long hours of sitting associated with working from home.
Holding up with your laptop on a messy desk or kitchen table doesn’t set the tone for a happy day. The results of several research studies reveal that rooms with bright light, both natural and artificial, can improve health outcomes such as depression, agitation, and sleep.
Invest in little things that instantly brighten your surroundings. Scented candles, flowers, or a white noise machine are small upgrades that make a big difference in your environment.
It can be tempting to eat chips straight from the bag when you’re working from home in your PJs, but scheduling time for regular healthy meals is essential. Just as you’d break for lunch away from your desk at the office, be sure to give yourself the same courtesy from the comfort of your home.
Many remote workers feel like they can’t leave their desks. They fear appearing lazy or absent from work. It can be especially true for self-employed remote workers. But regular breaks away from your screen are crucial for preventing burnout and eye strain.
The general rule is 52 minutes of work, followed by a break for up to 17 minutes. WebMD also recommends following the 20-20-20 rule. Look away from the screen every 20 minutes or so and look at something around 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. Blink often to keep your eyes moist. If they feel dry, try some eye drops.
Remote workers must self-regulate. Remember that everyone is entitled to an off-day. Give yourself time, but don’t stay in that headspace for too long. Show yourself grace. Finding small ways to re-spark energy will ultimately reignite your passion.
Having a quitting-time routine is just as important as having a morning routine. Working from home can blur the lines between work and relaxation. If you know you’re quitting at 5 p.m., plan something to look forward to away from your computer to encourage you to stick to a healthy routine.
Perhaps, it is trying a new recipe, reading a book, or calling a friend. Making it an interactive activity can also help you avoid loneliness.
There are so many opportunities to connect with like-minded people in online spaces. Facebook groups, Twitter chats, Slack communities, and other forums are great ways to engage with others throughout the day.
You can search for online communities that share your hobbies or goals. Push yourself to engage in conversations, share challenges, or simply say hello. You never know where you might find a friend.
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