July 27, 2021

What if you get burned out while working remotely? And why is this happening?

by Gabby



People who switched to remote work due to the pandemic began to overwork. In just 1,5 – 2 months of such processing, they felt burnt out. This blog is about how to help yourself and what to ask employers and colleagues for, according to Tass. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many office workers have switched to remote work and have found that they have more stress and less time for themselves. It turned out that when they spent a couple of hours every day commuting to and from work, there was more freedom. People now work on average three hours a day. According to an Eagle Hill Consulting poll, 45% of American employees say they are burned out. One in four of them believes that the reason lies precisely in remote work.

People interviewed for the Eagle Hill Consulting study named several reasons for burnout: high workload, difficulties in arranging professional and personal life, lack of communication, and free time.

Many guides have been written about how to work remotely and stay healthy. All experts advise employees not to overwork and follow rules like: after 20:00 do not respond to messages from work. In practice, people have found it difficult to follow these recommendations.


 —> The employer requires reports every day. 


Managers try to control the work of employees more, for example, demand reports on completed tasks. Employers have a feeling that if a person is not around and it is not visible what he is doing at this moment, he does not work. A bunch of companies have started to implement a reporting system: “write reports every day”, “put the software so that we can monitor that you are at the computer. It is obvious that employees are demotivated by over-control measures. For example, daily performance reports. Employees often have to write a summary of each meeting. So, they have to do double work – to solve tasks of their official level, and also to control their own efficiency. This leads to the fact that people overwork, and to the fact that they are exhausted by inappropriate activities, work that does not bring value or does not give any product.


—> There is no place to work in the apartment.


People usually live in small apartments, where there is no separate office, sometimes there is no comfortable desk and computer for work. Someone has to work with a laptop on the couch, which is less convenient than working in the office. If there are children, they are distracting, you cannot explain to them that mom or dad is working. Plus increased employer control. In addition, anxiety for the future and isolation within four walls are all neurotic to people.


 —> Tired of video conferencing.


Many people complain of fatigue from video conferencing, which now hosts meetings (and often employees note that there are more meetings). Such meetings are more tiring than offline meetings in the office. There are several reasons. Video calls lack a lot of non-verbal information – we hardly see gestures or how the speakers change their positions, so we spend more effort to understand what they are saying. Part of the attention is eaten up by watching your face – it is difficult for a person not to look at himself in a video messenger, but at the same time, he realizes that everyone is looking at him. Video calling problems can be awkward and annoying.



What if you are already burned out? 


In an ideal world, you come to the manager and say: I cannot concentrate, it seems that I am burnt out. Then you sit down together and think about the reason. Dealing with such problems is one of the tasks of the leader, but if there is no hope for him, we would recommend going through the following list:


Assess how satisfied the physiological needs are: what you eat, how much you sleep, whether you do sports, are there any other activities besides work. Most often, the amount of energy and the ability to think and concentrate depends on the physical condition.


Unload the brain. It helps to walk and not think about anything – without music, without friends.


Understand the cause of burnout. You can contact a psychotherapist or any helping specialist. But you can analyze the situation yourself. For example, sit down with a piece of paper and write, “I don’t like my job.” Next, ask the question “why?” – draw branches. For example, “because I’m tired”. Then the question “why?” you need to ask again and answer it. After you get a tree with a bunch of branches, you get to the bottom of the problem.


Take breaks and go offline for work tasks. Close all chats and mail for an hour and work on a specific task. Otherwise, the day is spent on small issues, and you have to work at night when no one is touching. By the way, it’s the same in the office. The whole day of the meeting, and then: “oh, six o’clock in the evening – finally you can work. “


Set the start and end times for your working day. You can try to create a ritual of the beginning and end of work: to change into work clothes, pour yourself tea or coffee into a certain “office” mug.


Spend 20-30 minutes in the morning to remember everything that needs to be done during the day, and scatter in the calendar by the hour. If you are worried that something urgent may come and need to be distracted, set aside an hour for such tasks. Book your lunch and break times on the calendar so you don’t forget about them. Stop going to meetings where your absence is not critical. 



How can an employer help? 


More than a third (36%) of employees surveyed by Eagle Hill Consulting say their company has nothing to do with burnout. Only 20% of the respondents answered that their employers changed something to preserve their physical and psychological well-being and that they were satisfied. 18% of workers reported that managers have started doing something in this area.

Burnt-out professionals perform worse: 45% of survey participants reported that they were less productive.

The employer needs to take care of the psychological health of people, and managers should also praise employees. Now the value of technology in business processes has grown: if the company is configured to automate performance control – when the manager sees in the program who is overworked, who has little work, who is doing well, and who is doing poorly, he does not need to load people with reports.


Today, most business leaders are willing to leave part-time work or flexible work after the pandemic. After the pandemic is over, a hybrid work schedule will be the most popular workflow choice among companies. You can read our blog about which days are better to choose for the work in the office, and which ones for the work at home here:  https://islucid.com/hybrid-workspaces/.

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