Read the transcript below:
Good morning, lovelies. Come on into my office because today I want to talk to you about something very important, and that is working from home burnout. Now, I’m lucky enough to be able to come in today and see a few clients, but like you, I’ve been working from home a lot during this pandemic. And while at first it felt like really great fun, you can sleep in a bit, you can have pajamas on from the waist down. You don’t have to put on a bra. Nobody knows. Fantastic, but lockdown three, it’s starting to feel like a bit of an effort. And I’ve been hearing this from a lot of my clients. I’ve been hearing this from a lot of my colleagues and I think what we’re all starting to suffer with is working from home burnout.
So I want to talk to you today about what it is and some simple steps you can take to protect yourself from it. So, first of all, what is working from home burnout? You know that you’re experiencing burnout if you’re starting to feel more exhausted, where the idea of going to work, getting online, doing the things that you need to do feels like a huge effort. Even when they’re just simple tasks, sometimes things that you would have just been able to do without thinking. Now, the idea of them is just like, how am I going to do it, or I just can’t do it. A sense of overwhelm. You might also be experiencing this if you’re just exhausted. If you feel a bit detached from your work, less passionate than you used to, not getting that sense of joy that maybe you got from doing your work, a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.
You may be feeling a little bit more scattered. Work just doesn’t feel as good as it did. And if you’re having any of these feelings, then you might be struggling with working from home burnout. And working from home can very quickly lead to burnout. And that’s because there’s no clear separation between your work life and your home life. And then when there are no boundaries between these distinct spheres of life, your work life starts to bleed into all other areas. It bleeds into your relationships. It bleeds into your leisure time. It bleeds into your self-care time, and this is no good for our mental health. So it’s a little wonder that if it’s work, work, work, that you’re bound to burn out and very, very quickly. So what are some things that you can do to try and avoid working from home burnout? The most important thing that you need to do is to create and maintain clear boundaries between your work life and your home life.
Now, this isn’t easy when you’re working from home, but what it means is creating times that are just for work, primarily for work. It means not running out to do the dishes between calls. It means not running a load of laundry. It means ignoring the Amazon person at the door. Because you get distracted from work, you become off task and it takes time to get back on task. You’re not mindful and intentional about what it is you’re doing, and it gives you much less pleasure. It gives you much less a sense of satisfaction and completion from what you’re doing. So you need to have protected work time. And at the same time, you need to have protected leisure time, protected relationship time. So this means scheduling in your exercise, scheduling in your hobbies, your leisure time, and even creating protected time for your most important relationships.
I know it may seem silly, but you might need to create a date night at home because it becomes way too easy just to let things drift. And you end up in front of the television every night, not even talking to one another. Your intimate relationship, whether it’d be with your partner or your relationships with your family, you have to nurture those as well. So create protected time with those people.
The other thing that you need to do is make sure that you designate a space in the house that is just for work. This means not working from the bed too much. And I love working from my bed. My husband calls it my bed office, but it really has led me to feel quite burnt out and I’ve stopped doing it because the bedroom is for sleep and it’s for sex. It’s not for work. So protect that space or else it will start to creep into your ability to sleep. And it will start erasing intimacy from your life. And you don’t want that because you’re going to get burnt out. So protect that space.
I use my dining room table. I know that in smaller houses, you can’t always have a home office. That’s okay. I use my dining room table, but at the end of the day, close everything up and clear the table that you’re using and return it to the function that it serves in your house. Because if I didn’t clear the dining room table, then I’d probably wouldn’t eat with my kids. Because it’d be easy to say just go watch telly or do whatever you want. We’ll eat separately. Protect those spaces, protect your home life. Yeah. So try and find a designated space that isn’t the bedroom and clear that space at the end of the day, if it has a dual purpose.
One other suggestion I have is to create some clear boundaries with your work colleagues. If you work 9:00 to 5:00, don’t answer emails after this. Turn off your notifications on your phone, because it’s just too tempting to grab that phone. You know, “Ooh, what’s happening there.” It takes attention away from your kids, from your partner, or from whatever else that you’re trying to do. Your hobby, your cooking. You can’t immerse yourself in other tasks if you’re constantly being drawn away to your phone. So after work hours, turn those notifications off. Ask your work colleagues to politely… Politely ask them to just respect your working hours. And if you work part-time, just make sure that you put that in your signature, what your working hours are. It’ll make it less likely that people will bother you after that time.
So those are my tips to keeping yourself safe, to protecting your time outside of work, and helping you prevent working from home burnout. I hope that they’re helpful for you. I’m certainly going to try and be disciplined and do this, so I don’t lose passion in my own work. And I’m feeling hopeful that we are getting somewhere with this. This will not be forever. Got my vaccine yesterday. And as I said, I’m feeling hopeful. So hang on in there. We’ll get through this together. And until next time, take care of yourselves. Bye.