It has been more than two years now since the world was forced to make the switch to remote work due to the pandemic. For the most part, it has been a win for both employers and employees for the flexibility it offers and increased productivity. Are you Tired of Working Remotely? Here’s Why.
However, for some, there has been a lag in performance due to exhaustion, monotony, and mental health issues, among other things. A recent survey by SHRM indicates that 41 percent of employees report feeling burned out from work. According to the study, Gen Z was twice as likely to feel burned out than baby boomers.
So, if you’re tired of working from your home office, you’re not alone. In this post, we explain why you feel that way and how to manage it.
Why Working from Home Causes Fatigue?
A study by Gartner revealed that digital distractions, virtual workload, and the always-on culture are the top three reasons for remote work stress.
Another report by DigitalOcean discovered that 82 percent of remote tech workers feel fatigued. After cutting the daily commutes and having the option to clock in and clock out from anywhere via apps, it might seem counterintuitive that working remotely can be exhausting.
But there are other factors that contribute to work from home fatigue. Here are seven of them and what you can do:
Before the shift to remote working, work and home were separate entities. Now, everything is in one place; home office, crying children, playful pets, chatty spouses and unannounced guests, just to mention a few.
Maybe your home office is right in the middle of your house, where all family members gather. Maybe the TV is always on, and there’s always some activity going on. In addition, you could be distracted by chores like laundry waiting to be done.
While the office is also full of distractions, home life isn’t as easy to control. You must be a good parent, caring spouse, and loving pet owner all at once, and this can be overwhelming.
The Fix: Set boundaries with family and friends so they know when not to disturb. Where possible, create a dedicated office space where you can stay away from all the distractions.
Think about establishing a dedicated time to mingle with family, for example during your breaks, as you get fresh air and re-energize.
You Don’t Have a Routine
When working from home, it’s easy to fall into bad habits like staying up late, eating junk, and not exercising. This lack of discipline and planning can affect your lifestyle, making you less motivated and more tired.
The Fix: One way to combat this is to create a routine that works for you. If you work best in the morning, make good use of this time. If morning jogs or the gym motivate you, create a routine that incorporates that.
To avoid monotonous routines, try doing something different every day. This could range from working out, playing basketball, painting, traveling, etc. Doing something you love will re-energize you and help you get back to work with a fresh mindset.
Scheduling your work days will help you become more organized and get more done without feeling burned out. Set a specific time to wake up, make breakfast, shower, and start work.
If you work well with routines, find out what works best for you and stick to it.
More importantly, practice good time management skills. An effective way to manage your time is to invest in a time-tracking app for freelancers.
You’ll keep track of your time while working and you’ll always know what to do next. What’s more, you’ll know when to take breaks, which can be essential in reducing work-from-home fatigue.
Feelings of Isolation and Loneliness
Working from home lacks the social interaction of office life. There’s no bumping into coworkers in the breakroom or going for lunch together. Teammates are miles away and opportunities for small talk are non-existent.
The Fix: There are various ways to engage in small talk virtually. While it won’t feel the same as face-to-face chats, it’s way better than not connecting at all.
Try setting up Zoom game nights to catch up with workmates or friends. Schedule video or audio calls to talk to your work buddies, share photos of food, pets, or vacations, and challenge coworkers to Slack games. It may be a new approach to social interaction for you, but it gets easier.
Remote work is still new to many people, and the flow of information can be overwhelming. On one end, there’s your boss who sends out regular updates to keep you focused. On the other hand, there’s the company sending regular emails to keep you updated. There are also clients reaching out about concerns or issues.
Being bombarded by information from left, right, and right can leave you confused, and you’ll likely miss some important details.
The Fix: Filter out information and prioritize accordingly. Configure your email service so that you only get notified about important emails. Additionally, set aside a specific time range for reading and responding to emails.
In a report to clients, Deutsche Bank reported that nearly 40 percent of workers in the U.S. complain of feeling exhausted after a full week of virtual meetings.
Zoom fatigue is real and most people thrust into the work-from-home life can find videoconferencing confusing, and even overwhelming. There must be a moderation of sorts to keep meetings organized, otherwise, people won’t know who is available to talk and when.
On top of that, research by SHRM found that camera use in virtual meetings leads to fatigue. Looking at faces on screens in close proximity all day can be physically exhausting. Not to mention, it’s difficult to read social cues and body language via video calls compared to in-person.
Additionally, the apps we use are not always seamless and perfect. Delays and video freeze-ups are common, which can lead to disengagement.
The Fix: Don’t dwell on yourself during video calls. Instead, focus on the coworkers and what’s being discussed. You could request to turn off your camera (if it’s allowed) and choose audio-only.
Even better, determine if the details you want to share mandate calling a meeting or perhaps you could just write an email. Don’t forget to take breaks between meetings.
You’re Less Active
One of the major challenges of working from your home office is the lack of movement. A sedentary lifestyle is known to lead to many health issues like weight gain and back, neck, and shoulder pain.
When you worked in the office, you walked to your car, maybe took the stairs to your workplace. Maybe you went for lunch outside the office and probably walked around a lot. Now that things have changed and you don’t move as much as you used to, you might feel more exhausted.
The Fix: Consider switching between standing and sitting while working. Schedule time to go to the gym or work out at home. You could start your day with morning runs or end it with a walk in the park or around the neighborhood.
Alternatively, work from a coworking space, where you get to walk to and from. Another great option is to buy a fitness device like Fitbit to monitor your steps and help you achieve your fitness goals.
A Blue Jeans study found that remote workers are logging an additional 3.13 hours on average every day working remotely. Those who report being significantly productive log 4.64 extra hours per day. Overworking is counterproductive and usually leads to fatigue.
When working from home, there’s always the pressure to prove performance and productivity, which forces remote workers to work extra hours. Add this to the fact that it’s tougher to switch off from work while working from home, and you can understand why it’s easy to overwork.
The Fix: First off, learn to take multiple breaks throughout your workday. Compare time tracking software and invest in one that notifies you of every hour worked, even when you’re offline. This way, it becomes easier to know if you’ve spent too much time on a particular project/task.
Don’t forget to set aside some “me time” to do other things you enjoy in life.
Make Working Remotely Enjoyable
Undoubtedly, remote work remains the key to the success of enterprises in today’s complex and constantly evolving business world. However, while providing flexible work experiences, remote workers tend to work longer hours, which can affect their work-life balance.
With less physical activity and social interaction, plus spending hours staring at computer screens, remote working can be exhausting. Understanding why you’re feeling fatigued and identifying ways to manage your experience can go a long way in ensuring you enjoy this new work model.
For further reading: The Pros and Cons of Working from Home.
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