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Setting Boundaries Between Home and Work Life to Beat Work-from-home Burnout

Just because you’re working at home doesn’t mean you’re free from the stress and burnout from the traditional office environment. Before the pandemic, many of us have dreamed about the idea of working at the comfort of our home and being able to work conveniently without the daily commute. But working from home amid a pandemic is entirely different. There are a lot of factors to consider where we have to juggle our work and domestic life.

According to global analytics firm Gallup, remote work is on the rise, with 62% of U.S. employees working part- and full-time at their homes. Meanwhile, burnout is also at an all-time high, with around 69% of US adults suffering from burnout symptoms while working remotely. These rising numbers will affect the average employee, business productivity, and the health situation in the workforce sector.

Remote workers are finding ways to tackle the alarming symptoms of work-from-home burnout. Some older adults may even take the extra mile by turning to pain management clinics that offer treatment for chronic muscle pain, fatigue, and other painful sensation around their body because of long work hours.

To learn more about managing work-from-home burnout, we’re going to list some ways to balance out your life at home and work. Follow these suggestions to create better work habits for your work engagement and well-being.

Focus on important work

Working from home doesn’t mean doing busy work. Remote workers need to devote their energy and time to high-priority tasks. Employees tend to feel obligated to project productivity, but doing this will only lead them to work on less immediate tasks than urgent ones. Improper task selection and workload results in counterproductivity in the long run.

This issue is prevalent among employees facing heavy workloads while juggling family tasks. They tend to focus on completing the easiest tasks, which will eventually hurt their long-term performance at work. But devoting all your time to accomplish important tasks is still not the answer. According to Inc. magazine, the average employee is productive for two hours and 53 minutes. This means you’re at your most productive state for only three hours a day.

It’s been an issue for most employees to squeeze in all their core tasks in three continuous hours. Employees who are always on the go are more at risk of burnout symptoms when working at home than in the office. To avoid this, allot some mental space or non-work time in between tasks and maintain boundaries between personal life and work.

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Observe temporal boundaries

As discussed earlier, maintaining boundaries is necessary for remote employees to avoid burnout. This often happens among employees who face the challenge of juggling family duties during work hours. These include household chores, childcare, senior care, and other domestic responsibilities.

Sticking to a straight eight-hour work schedule while working remotely is somewhat unrealistic. Employees working outside the traditional corporate environment should experiment on establishing work-time budgets. In turn, employers need to be respectful and conscious that employees work at different times than others. Some may be preparing for breakfast or tending to their small children.

Whether you have children yourself, it is important to set intentional work breaks by letting others know you’re unavailable at certain times to devote your energy to important work. This will also decrease response expectations among your coworkers and yourself.

Setting temporal boundaries relies on your ability to sync your time with other people. Employers can help employees by providing education on managing, coordinating, and structuring the work pace. This approach may vary, from organizing virtual meetings to check their progress to providing tools for home office spaces.

Set social and physical boundaries

Another issue among remote employees is the difficulty of transitioning from non-work to work-related roles. This arises because of the absence of social and physical indicators such as wearing work clothes and commuting to work. Confusing “me time” to “work time” causes extreme burnout as it leaves you going back and forth between different tasks.

Learning to adopt boundary-crossing activities will help you transition your role at work and home. One example is to get yourself ready for work every morning by putting on work clothes even at home. You may also replace the morning commute by walking around the yard before starting work.

Taking time off to prioritize your health and well-being will help you professionally and personally. As the global health crisis has become additional stressors to our daily life, it’s critical to keep our mental health in check. Not only will it affect our character as an employee but also a member of the household.

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