In 2019, ‘burnout’ was recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as an ‘occupational phenomenon’.
Lockdowns have drastically affected our work-life balance and working environments.
With much of the population working from home in a variety of conditions, it’s not surprising that nearly half (46%) of people, asked by Mental Health UK, felt that working from home could contribute to burnout. Here are some ideas on how to best work from home:
- Structure your day: You can think of your workday in the same way as if you were going to the office. Try to have a dedicated workspace, ideally a quiet place away from others and distractions. Try to get up in plenty of time to get ready for work. Make sure you have everything you need there for your working day. Plan your start, break, lunch, and end times. Sticking to an end time can be as important as a start time. We all need to recharge our batteries.
- Make sure to have a break: Breaks are important to refresh yourself and they can help you be more productive. Taking a 5-minute break away from your screen each hour can improve your wellbeing and improve your concentration. Don’t feel that you have to be at your screen all the time to prove you’re working. If you were in the office you would go for regular breaks, and it’s no different when you’re working from home.
- Set boundaries: If you live with others it might be difficult to separate home and work life. It’s important to set boundaries about when and where you do and don’t work. You can have a discussion and agree on things together. You could write down your work schedule for the week and put it up in a place where all household members can see it. It is important to have clear home and work time.
- Stay in contact: Working from home doesn’t mean you should silently concentrate on your work all day. You can still talk to colleagues by audio or video call. It’s good for everyone’s wellbeing and it is good to check in with others. Book in regular contact with your manager and other colleagues. Talk about any challenges you have working from home.
- Manage your time: Time management in your job can influence your wellbeing and mental health. If you manage your time well, you can feel relaxed and in control and achieve the goals you want. But if you manage it poorly you can get stressed and be less productive. When you have a lot of things to do at work, it can be hard to decide what to do and when to do it. Things to think about are:
- Decide what you want to achieve
- Assess each task
- Make a plan
- Be flexible
- Think about the 4 D’s when managing your workload: Ditch (does this task need to be done?), defer (could it be done at a later date?), delegate (could someone else complete it?), and do.