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Has Working from Home made Burnout Worse?

Monday, 03 April 2023

Has Working from home made Burnout Worse? 

Burnout [burn-out] - Adjective. Fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity.

Burnout and imposter syndrome have become common phrases within the workplace. Today, 69% of remote workers say they have experienced burnout, rising from 39% in 2019. McKinsey & Co. have described the current period as ‘the great exhaustion’. Yikes… But how can it be possible to feel burnt out, overworked and frustrated when our work patterns, office location, and communication preferences have never been more flexible?

Well, here are a few ingredients in our cocktail of exhaustion...

1. Nearly a third of workers believe they work more hours remotely
2. Around half say they lack emotional support and find it difficult to ‘unplug'
3. Excessive meeting attendance leads to Zoom fatigue
4. Poor management techniques when addressing burnout

How can we recognise and prevent burnout?

Burnout isn’t a one-size-fits-all experience.

There are multiple different causes and manifestations of burnout. For example, someone working three different jobs and struggling to make ends meet compared to a person who makes good money but works constantly, with no identity outside of their work will feel burnout in a very different way.

But generally, burnout can be boiled down to 3 main factors:

1. Lack of a supportive environment
2. Inability to disconnect from work
3. Low levels of inspiration and motivation

It’s important to recognise which factor contributes to how you feel in order to properly address your problem – whether you address this personally, within a one-to-one with your manager or when you’re looking for a new opportunity.

Is it a ‘you’ problem, or a work problem?

So, now you’ve diagnosed the cause of your burnout, how can you fix it?

Regardless of the root cause of your exhaustion – rest assured, it is a work problem, not a ‘you’ problem.

Burnout places a big strain on teams and in turn productivity within the workforce, so it’s always in the best interest of a company to protect its employees appropriately.

Employers have a responsibility to implement effective policies and procedures that are conducive to a healthy work environment. Whether that’s through implementing training plans, personal development pathways or taking proactive steps to ensure colleagues are taking on their fair share of the workload. 

For example, you’re an Office Manager wanting to progress, learn new skills, and take on logistical and planning tasks rather than just maintaining office supplies. You try and prioritise tasks that will aid your development, but a colleague puts smaller tasks on your shoulders that they can complete – booking meeting rooms, fixing the coffee machine, connecting to the internet, printing, etc. Their feelings of stress and burnout have caused a lack of time, resources, and mental capability to deal with these smaller tasks - which is now adding to their workload. This in turn is hindering your progress and leads to your inevitable sense of demoralisation and burnout.

It is a Manager’s responsibility to protect the development of their team and ensure that colleagues understand the remit of their role and what they can turn to others for help with.  

Choose people leaders, not high performers 

You need to be able to turn to a Manager who understands people and how to effectively manage a workforce. Not someone who is solely focused on profit at any cost. 

Having a Manager who was promoted due to high performance is a common practice within businesses. When Managers prioritise people, understand what makes them tick, and look out for important signs of fatigue – burnout can be easily prevented.

Yes, of course, profit is important. But, with 38% of employees suffering from burnout due to pressure from Management, and burnt-out employees 63% more likely to take a sick day – this is a problem that could be affecting subtly affecting those profit margins anyway.

Separate your work, social and personal identities

Although your burnout can be attributed to workplace practices and mismanagement – it’s important to hold yourself accountable for your own well-being.

So, what are actions you can take today to help yourself?   

Crucially, it’s important to be able to separate your work, social and personal personas. Perhaps in work, you’re always-on and ultra-professional, and in your social group you are the life and soul of the party – but have you considered how you spend time with yourself?

Discovering how you show up for yourself can give you a reason to respect your own time and give yourself boundaries.

Know your limits

If you’ve spoken to your Manager and have tried to cultivate habits that fulfill you but you still can’t shake the lack of motivation and fatigue every morning in your team meetings... it's probably time to move on.

You’re not the only one feeling this way – we speak to people every day who have these feelings and work with them to find an opportunity that reignites their fire. 

If you genuinely love your job and your manager, we recommend you explore ways to make your current role work for you again before committing to a new job search. With the current recruitment market being so competitive, it’s highly likely you’ll receive a counteroffer when you hand in your notice. So, you need to be sure you’re making the right choice for yourself.

If you’ve taken these steps and you know it’s time to move on – call us today at 020 6798 2726, or email [email protected] to arrange a confidential chat.

We’re looking forward to helping you get your sparkle back!

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