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Work-From-Home Burnout: Causes And Cures

By Ashley Stahl
Author and Career Expert

Date Published: Sep 1, 2020

Cozy clothes all day. No commute. Freedom to do house chores while on a conference call.

Ahhh the joys of working from home…

What started as a short-term leave from the office has transformed into an entire workforce transition. Remote work has been on the rise, with a peak of 62% of employed US adults working part or full time from the confines of their home. But remote work isn’t the only thing that has been on the rise... Burnout is hitting an all time high. More than two thirds, or 69%, of employees are experiencing burnout symptoms while working from home, and this influx is impacting both business productivity as well as the overall health of the workforce.

Work-From-Home Burnout: Causes And Cures

If you think burnout just means being exhausted from your job, think again… Burnout is known to cause a litany of physical and mental conditions: high blood pressureheart diseaseobesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depressioncognitive declineAlzheimer’s disease, and even death.

With remote work, which socially isolates people, there is an added component to consider: loneliness. Research demonstrates that while obesity reduces longevity by 20%, drinking by 30%, and smoking by 50%, loneliness takes the cake, reducing life expectancy by a whopping 70%. It’s safe to say that practicing self-awareness and establishing a healthy work from home lifestyle could be what keeps you safe for the long term.

While this data may be difficult to digest, there are strategies to nip remote-work burnout in the bud before it gets too bad. I have outlined three of the main causes of burnout while working from home, along with ways to remediate them so you can get back on track with growing your career.

1. Inability To Disconnect

The alarm goes off and you start checking email in bed. You sit on a conference call through lunch and end up working on a report late into the evening. Your laptop has become an extension of yourself, always by your side. Sound familiar?

All of this connection at home means more hours logged at work. On average, employees have reported working three more hours per day since working remotely due to Covid-19.  That 15 hours a week… almost another part-time job. Too much of a good thing can be bad, particularly if it’s your work.

This increase in work hours and shift in setting are causing some pretty profound social and personal struggles. An ASU research paper described the importance of transitioning from “home you” to “work you” as a result of boundary-crossing activities. This means “work you” would put on work clothes, make your coffee and commute to work. Experiencing these physical and social indicators of a change created an established boundary between the two aspects of your life. While it feels cozy and convenient to skip these activities, maintaining these habits is critical for well-being and work engagement.

Preventative Measure: Live As Though You Are In An Office

First, it’s key is to find a balance in your work space at home. Begin by implementing office hours, silencing notifications and activating an out-of-office response outside of predetermined time blocks. This way, no matter if you’re out running an errand, or winding down from the day on the couch, you (and your clients or co-workers) know that your office is closed for business. If possible,