How to avoid remote work burnout and conquer a WFH lifestyle
Unfortunately, working from home comes with its own set of challenges, ranging from distractions and loneliness to a lack of work-life balance. If left untreated, these issues can lead to remote work burnout — a final boss you never want to face.
The work-from-home honeymoon phase is always bound to end, but with our tips, your harmonious relationship with the job you love will remain strong.
What happens when you burn out?
Whether you’re working remotely as an entrepreneur, freelancer or traditional employee, there’s always some risk of WFH burnout. Just like a typical office job, remote work can stress you out.
The key to managing your stress is to identify when you’re getting overwhelmed, so you can take action before you let it weigh on your mental health.
No need to WebMD the symptoms. Here are a few indicators that you’re in the process of burning out:
- Chronic stress: Your stress is persistent and carries on even when your workday is over.
- Lack of energy: You find it hard to get motivated, stay awake and stay focused.
- Insomnia: You find it difficult to get to sleep at night due to your stress.
- Poor performance: Your quality of work has gone down.
- Irritability: You’re annoyed by the little things and notice more downsides of your job.
If these symptoms turn into total remote work burnout, you can actually experience health issues like high blood pressure, depression and frequent headaches — all of which are exacerbated by stress.
10 ways to avoid remote work burnout
Your flexible career doesn’t have to — and shouldn’t — end in burnout. Even if remote work truly is the lifestyle you want to pursue, there are many methods you can use to alleviate the stress of working from home.
Here are 10 of our favorite tactics to avoid remote work burnout:
1. Set a schedule
The number one myth of working from home is that you can work whenever you want. When your schedule is wide open, you may feel like you can push things off until lunch, then the afternoon. Suddenly, it’s dinnertime and you’re still rushing to get things done.
Setting a schedule for yourself — whether it’s a 9-to-5, 5-to-9 or 6-to-10-then-1-to-5 — will help you keep yourself on track. This way, you won’t feel like there’s too much to do with too little time. You’ll have set times for your mind to switch to productivity mode and stay focused.
A solid routine will also help you manage your sleep cycle, so you reduce risk of fatigue and insomnia.
2. Take breaks
Your schedule should also allow for small breaks between tasks. Once you check off a part of your to-do list, take 10 or 15 minutes to decompress.
During this time, try to stay away from screens; you’re totally taking yourself away from anything work-related. Instead, try taking a walk, doing yoga or reading a book. Anything you find relaxing will help you reduce the symptoms of remote work burnout.
Don’t forget to take a real lunch break instead of eating while you work. Lunch breaks have been proven to help workers feel more valued.
3. Use your vacation days
When you’re working from home — especially for yourself — you probably don’t think about taking vacation days as much. We get it. Remote work makes it possible to get sh*t done on a cold, so there’s an unexpected guilt that comes with really taking time off.
The truth of the matter is, your daily breaks won’t always give you the level of relaxation you need. Every so often, you need (and deserve) an opportunity to totally disconnect.
Whether you’re planning a dream vacation or planning a staycation at home, make sure you don’t forget the importance of a good vacation. Better yet, go camping and immerse yourself in the natural scenery, where you don’t even have WiFi to tempt you to check your email.
4. Communicate with your team
Your team is meant to support you. When you speak to them about what support you need, you can collaborate and lessen the weight of your tasks.
Communicating with your team will also help you get consistent human interaction throughout your workday, which makes you feel far less isolated.
If you’re a traditional employee, speaking to your boss can make you realize that they’re more understanding and flexible than you think. Communicate your needs before your burnout-driven cynicism turns them into a supervillain in your mind.
5. Join a coworking space
Working remotely at a coworking space near you comes with an enormous amount of benefits. Directly in relation to remote work burnout, coworking will increase your work-life balance and reduce loneliness.
By switching to a dedicated location for your work outside your house, you can train your mind to shift to work mode at your coworking space. When you return home, you can spend time with your family without reminders of upcoming deadlines lingering nearby.
Coworking spaces also allow you to work alongside familiar peers every day, so you can chat, collaborate and even find an accountability buddy to support you. At CO+HOOTS, we host member happy hours (among other events), so you can simply socialize with your awesome work friends.
Do you have a team of 5 or more employees? Or a part of one? Check out CO+HOOTS’ new flexible coworking solutions and cost-effective memberships for teams in Phoenix. Just because your team is now remote, that doesn’t mean it still can’t enjoy the benefits of an office space.
Have meetings in conference rooms. Increase productivity in an inspiring workspace that is routinely cleaned and sanitized. Bonus: it will force you to take a shower again.
6. Create a happy workspace
The environment you surround yourself in matters a lot. When you create your ideal workspace — one that’s designed for efficiency and for your needs — you can increase your productivity and lift your spirits.
Get our founder Jenny Poon’s tips on creating the perfect desk setup.
7. Drop perfectionism
Perfect isn’t possible. At the end of the day, good work really is good enough.
If you want to avoid remote work burnout, you need to train yourself to stop nitpicking your own work. Odds are, your clients or managers will still be satisfied with your work long before you review and revise for the 99th time.
8. Make time for family and friends
Your work schedule is important, but once you’re off the clock, don’t forget to make time for the people who matter most, too. Be present for your loved ones — no jumping on non-emergency work calls — who will naturally make you smile and help you stop stress from seeping into your personal life.
9. Practice self-care
When you’re making time for your family and friends, don’t forget to make time for yourself (and just yourself), too. Self-care is critical for eliminating remote work burnout — especially for all the introverts out there — because it gives you a chance to let go of your biggest stressors and focus on your needs.
Make a habit of rewarding yourself with whatever makes you feel most relaxed, whether that’s a great meal, a long bath, a massage or an hour of meditation. During your self-care time, there’s no need to worry about pleasing anyone else.
10. Learn to say no
If all else fails, just say no. If you’re experiencing the signs of remote work burnout, you’re probably overestimating others’ expectations. People will understand that you have your own work and life to manage, but it’s your responsibility to set the boundaries.
Prioritize your needs
Your career is yours to take control of. Eliminating WFH burnout is all about building a work-life balance with a set routine, good communication and a healthier mindset. With our 10 tips, you can manage your stress before it turns into burnout.
If you’re interested in joining a coworking space near you to up your daily work-life balance and human interaction, check out our membership options to choose the right plan for you.
CO+HOOTS has been voted the No. 1 coworking space in Arizona for four straight years and been ranked No. 4 overall in the country by Inc.
And if you’re a bigger team that doesn’t need its own private office space, CO+HOOTS’ new month-to-month flexible coworking solutions for teams (of five employees or more) may just be the workspace plan you need.