Remote workers can get burned out, too
Despite its many advantages, working from home poses challenges, too. Organizations with remote or hybrid workforces need to watch for symptoms of work-from-home burnout.
Working from home can be isolating. Here are some signs of work-from-home burnout:
- Lack of energy and enthusiasm
- Cynical or negative attitude
- Lower productivity
- Lack of concentration
- General irritability
The best remote companies have done their homework and provide competitive well-being programs that maximize motivation. These eight tips can avoid work-from-home burnout:
1. Use a strong communication platform: Isolation is one of the most common causes of burnout for remote employees. Implementing an easy-to-use communication platform is one of the best ways to improve company culture. Communication platforms help connect employees with their managers and company leaders. They are also great for promoting ideas, initiatives, recognition, and company values.
2. Set work boundaries: People who work from home find it difficult to unplug at the end of the workday. Leaders and managers should ensure employees establish healthy boundaries between their work and personal lives.
3. Create a daily structure for employees: All employees need structure. This could include calendar blocking or regularly scheduled check-ins with colleagues, team members, and managers. These opportunities to share progress reports and project timelines help employees focus on their goals and hold themselves accountable.
4. Use a flex schedule: Employees appreciate the freedom to flex their schedules. This allows them to work when they are most productive and balance challenges in their personal lives.
5. Schedule touch-base meetings with team members: Remote employees often miss in-person meetings and the professional and social benefits they provide. Include regular touch-base meetings among managers, employees, and teams. Short but frequent meetings can boost remote employee engagement. Effective team meetings include a healthy mix of company topics and informal discussions.
6. Set up an online resource infrastructure: A downside to working from home is the inability to walk over to someone and ask a question. It is even more challenging for remote employees to ask for help and access learning resources, which can hinder growth. Include online resource channels. These can be as simple as FAQs on a shared Google drive or as complex as a comprehensive digital employee handbook.
7. Focus on results over hours spent working: Work flexibility schedules should focus on what employees accomplish, not how many hours they are on the clock. Design success metrics on delivery and output. Also, recognize that individuals have different working styles. Efficient remote workers should not be worried about documenting hours if they are meeting their output.
8. Offer self-help rewards: Choosing meaningful benefits will encourage employees to achieve a better work-life balance and reduce health-related stressors. Examples include medical insurance with mental health benefits and rewards such as gym memberships, restaurant or spa gift cards, additional paid time off, and wellness days. These benefits also can improve employee recruitment and retention efforts.
Bob Helbig is media partnerships director at Energage, a Philadelphia-based employee survey firm. Energage is The Washington Post’s survey partner for Top Workplaces.