7 Tips to avoid burnout whilst working from home

Work-related burnout has always been a thing, however, some of us may find it even more prevalent in our lives since working from home during the pandemic. In fact, the Office of National Statistics found that 30.3% of those working from home due to the pandemic have worked more hours than usual. Therefore, whilst there are some advantages of WFH such as saving money and more flexibility, some of us may find the work-life balance challenging without the physical boundary of going into an office. Here are 7 top tips on how to avoid burnout whilst working from home; 

  1. Set boundaries

Setting boundaries is important in any aspect of your life. By setting work boundaries and limits, it helps you to not compromise other areas of your life such as your health or spending time with loved ones.

Without these, some of us can often allow our work to consume our lives such as working through the night or weekends and skipping lunch or breaks which is often a recipe for burnout. By having some “ground rules”,  they help you to have more control of your time.

Setting physical boundaries such as a designated workspace at home could also help you to distinguish between work and rest, which emulates going into work and going home to unwind. This means that once you’re sitting at your workspace, you are “at work”, and you’re no longer “at work” once you leave, helping you to establish somewhat of a boundary and structure.

  1. Practice self-care

Prioritising self-care is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy and balanced work-life (and no, it doesn’t just come in the form of face masks and candles). Self-care can be anything from setting boundaries, taking your breaks, not missing your meals due to work, or simply making time for you and the things that you love.

This not only gives you something to look forward to during your workday but also helps you to relax and recharge before diving into work again. Often, it can seem like life is coming to us at 100 miles per hour, and so it’s important to take some time for yourself rather than trying to push through work constantly or when you feel completely overwhelmed. Rest. Recharge. And go again! It’s one of the key ways to avoid burnout and feel the most productive.

  1. Try to finish your work on time 

When working from home it can become easy to get distracted, whether it’s your family, your pet, your phone, or that pile of laundry you’ve been avoiding.

This is where boundaries come into play as they help you not get completely distracted. For example, rather than doing housework during your working hours, try to leave it until after work. This is because the more non-work-related things you do during your working day, you will have to spend time outside of work, such as through the night or the weekend, to complete your workload. 

Whilst this structure may work for some, for example, parents may have responsibilities throughout the day, for others it could lead to feeling overwhelmed. This is because it causes you to procrastinate which can easily pile up into an overwhelming workload that calls for last-minute cramming AKA a complete recipe for burnout.

Keeping your workspace tidy may also help you to become less distracted and more focused.

  1. Take breaks

Taking breaks is key - not only to productivity but also to your mental wellbeing. It’s important to allow yourself to take breaks, whether it’s a day off or regular short breaks throughout your day.

Make it a priority to set time aside for regular breaks during the working day (set an alarm on your phone if you have to!). This is because when working from home, it can be easy to allow yourself to sit at your desk all day. Taking breaks for lunch, exercise, or relaxing can help you to recharge and feel refreshed going back to work which helps you to focus more.

  1. Don’t forget your holiday leave

A lot of us may have neglected our holiday leave since working from home. This may be down to having more flexibility at home so you don’t feel the need to, feeling guilty to take time off whilst you’re already at home, or simply because you haven’t been able to travel because of the pandemic.

 Whatever the reason, if you begin to feel overwhelmed or that you need a break, don’t be afraid to take your holiday leave. It will allow you to rest and recharge, and ultimately feel less burnt out after you’ve taken some time off for yourself.

  1. Know how to disconnect properly

When you’re having time away from work, whether it’s a break during the workday, annual leave, or the weekend, it’s important to know how to rest properly. Many of us are prone to constantly check our work emails “quickly” or complete a piece of work whilst we’re not expected to. 

With the heightened hustle culture, rest is seen as something that isn’t beneficial, and therefore we should be working 24/7, however, this is untrue. We are all humans and need to be rested to perform our best. So, try to have some time away from the screen, shut your laptop, mute your work notifications so that you can truly unwind!

  1. Stay connected

Let’s face it. Our work is a big part of us and sometimes it can become easy to let it consume us, however, you shouldn’t isolate yourself with all your work. Staying connected with your loved ones is even more important whilst you’re working from home as it’s likely that you may have fewer interactions with people when you’re not in the office.

Set aside social time with your family and friends (virtually or in-person) to help you feel less alone. Remember that balance is key, and don’t be afraid to express how you feel with your friends and family if you are feeling overwhelmed - just by talking about it can feel like a weight lifted off your shoulders!

The Bottom Line

The WFH life may be the new norm for some of us and so it’s important to try to set some healthy ways to prevent ourselves from burnout. It’s important to remember that you are human and that your mental wellbeing matters, so never feel guilty for needing a break or setting boundaries around work - you can’t perform your best if you feel overwhelmed!