How To Beat Burnout When Working From Home
Once upon a time (and what feels like long, long ago), many people dreamed of the flexibility and comfort that comes with working from home - who wouldn’t wish for pyjamas in lieu of a shirt and tie just steps away from your next snack from the fridge? However, for some, working from home isn’t quite what it’s cracked up to be.
While it’s true that home-based working offers less time stressing on the commute (hello 30-second walk from the bed to the desk!), it’s not without its own set of unique challenges. Homes have now become the new offices and, particularly for those without a dedicated study space, this means that previous ‘zen zones’, such as living rooms, dining rooms and even bedrooms, have transformed into places of work. With no change of environment or commute to break up the day, the boundaries between work and downtime have become increasingly blurred for many. Adjusting to this new approach to life takes some fine-tuning to stay motivated and productive while ensuring your mental health takes priority.
But it’s not all doom and gloom! If worklife in lockdown has left you feeling burnt out, we’ve got some handy tips to help. So, whether you’ve got an overexcited child at your feet, a delivery driver banging at your door with your latest purchase, or a cat walking across your laptop while you’re in the middle of an important meeting (we’ve all been there!), here’s some ways you battle burnout while working from home.
Create a working environment that you enjoy
Keeping a clean, clear and organised workspace away from the hustle and bustle of daily family life is key to creating an environment that gets you in the zone for work. If you’re able to, invest in a practical desk and office chair that suits your décor and, most importantly, keeps you comfortable and sitting correctly all day long.
Alternatively, if you’re limited on space away from your living and sleeping areas, try to find a quiet space that’s as separate as possible from where you spend your downtime. If you’re working and relaxing in the same room, it can be hard to unwind properly.
Creating a space that makes you feel happy to be in your working area not only boosts productivity, but also encourages positivity. Keeping a tidy working environment and adding plants, decorations, and music all help raise your overall mood and make you feel good about cracking on through your to-do list.
Are you sitting comfortably? If not, check out the NHS website for their top tips on how to sit at your desk correctly. Remember, creating a comfortable and safe space to work isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity - don’t hesitate to ask your workplace for any additions you might need!
Set a morning routine and stick to it!
As tempting as it is to roll out of bed last-minute and go straight to your desk still in your pyjamas, taking the time to get yourself ready helps to get you in the right headspace for the day, whatever that looks like for you. Yes, we’re talking about getting dressed into real clothes!
Without the commute taking up precious time in the morning, you can now enjoy getting ready at your own pace, prioritising what’s important to you. Taking the time to prepare yourself for the day ahead creates a sense of calm before getting stuck into your work, while also setting boundaries between your home and work life. Whether that’s getting out of your pyjamas and straight into equally comfy clothes, spending five minutes on your hair and makeup, or preparing a tasty breakfast, it really makes all the difference! And that goes for the end of your working day, too, which brings us to our next tip:
Set yourself boundaries
Boundaries between your work and home life can easily get blurred when working from home. As easy as it is to carry on working into the night, being strict with yourself and your dedicated work hours is essential for beating burnout. Also, if you don’t have a separate study to keep your home office supplies in, get into the habit of packing it all away at the end of the day to help kickstart your downtime.
You’re not superhuman - step away from your desk, make yourself dinner, and get some good old fashioned fresh air whenever possible. No matter your go-to hobby, spend your downtime wisely doing your favourite activities while making time for some top-notch relaxation.
Take regular breaks
Without the usual chit-chat and distractions that come with being in the office, it’s easy to work for hours on end without even thinking about taking a small break. It’s recommended that you take regular time out for yourself, and if you’re prone to forgetting - time yourself! The Pomodoro method recommends taking a 5-minute break every 25 minutes to keep your mind fresh and the cogs turning.
When we say ‘take breaks’, we mean take actual breaks. Don’t just sit at your desk scrolling through your phone - spend time in another area of your home away from technology and really switch your brain off! Give yourself time to unwind or focus on something else, such as reading a book, doing a quick workout, or getting some fresh air, to ensure you come back to your work feeling refreshed, energised and ready to crack on. Something along the lines of a mindfulness colouring book is a great way to keep you occupied and get your creative juices flowing while giving yourself a breather from work.
Engage in some friendly chit-chat
Staying connected to your colleagues is a huge element of job satisfaction - not only does it build healthy working relationships, but it also improves employee morale and boosts productivity! Just because you’re not in the office together doesn’t mean that you can’t still socialise. In the office, casual conversations come with the territory, whether you’re chatting about a new Netflix series, your weekend plans, or even just what you fancy for dinner.
While working from home, it’s not as easy to engage in social conversations - you need to go out of your way to make connections. Reaching out to check in on your colleagues goes a long way. You don’t know who may be struggling with adapting to working from home and how much they may appreciate a friendly face and an ear to listen.
So, keep up-to-date with your colleagues and indulge in a bit of social chit-chat from time to time - chat, video call, and don’t forget to turn your webcam on!
Cut yourself some slack
We hope that these work-life balance tips have helped you if you’re feeling burnt out while working from home. One final (and potentially the most vital) thing to remember is to cut yourself some slack. Adapting to this new way of working comes with a variety of challenges for each person. The impacts of these can vary from employee to employee, depending on your living situation, family life, health and more. Learn to recognise the signs that you’re starting to burnout and don’t push yourself too hard. There’s no shame in reaching out if you’re struggling - you’re probably not the only one!
How we’ve supported our team throughout the pandemic
Just like many others up and down the country, the OnBuy team has had to adapt to working from home. Now more than ever, it’s essential that businesses are proactive in supporting the mental wellbeing of their team, which is why, in addition to expanding our dedicated HR department, we’ve introduced five extra days of annual leave to encourage our team to take some time out to focus on themselves and their families.
We understand the importance of family and, to ensure a healthy work-life balance, we also introduced a new flexi-time system, where our team can choose their working hours to best suit their needs. With homeschooling and a lack of daycare services, many people have had no other option than to juggle their work life and family commitments simultaneously. Supporting families is something we’ve always been passionate about, whether that’s our sellers’, our customers’, or our team’s, and we’ll continue to champion that beyond the pandemic.
In lieu of face-to-face interactions, we hold regular whole team and departmental meetings, both on a professional and social level, via video conferencing systems. Employee engagement is a vital part of team building and can help to boost morale and productivity, especially while working from home. As a relatively young company with a rapidly growing workforce, many of our new hires have joined during the pandemic, so using these systems has enabled us to showcase our company culture while welcoming our recent employees to the team.
In an ever-changing environment, we strive to remain as flexible as possible in order to support the individual needs of our employees, while providing the highest level of service to our customers. The OnBuy team continues to work hard to bring you over 35 million products from thousands of independent retailers, and we're making this situation as positive as we can so we can keep providing you with the best possible service here at OnBuy.com.