Work from home burnout may be a familiar experience for longtime telecommuters who engage in various online jobs. For others, however, it is becoming the new normal. As more employers and employees embrace remote work, some newly remote employees are working longer hours, and many are experiencing work from home burnout.
A recent report by MarTechCube indicates that US employees are working an extra 3 hours a day. Similar trends occurred in the UK, Canada, and several other countries as contained in the report. The study monitored NordVPN usage which rose a massive 165% in March 2020 with nearly 600% sales uplift.
Work From Home Burnout: 12 Signs and Causes
An earlier 2018 Gallup poll found that two-thirds of full-time workers experience burnout on the job with 23% feeling burned out very often or always. With increasing remote work adoption due to COVID-19, longer workdays, and shorter breaks, we may be heading for an HR pandemic.
In this post, we shall discuss
- What employee burnout is and how it relates to work from home burnout
- Signs of work from home burnout, and
- Discuss some causes and effects of work from home burnout,
What is Employee Burnout and How Does It Relate to WFH Burnout?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), employee burnout is “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
When this workplace becomes your house as is now the case for many, the chronic unmanaged work-related stress resulting therefrom is known as work from home burnout. And as noted, it is claiming more victims.
For instance, some newly remote workers are converting their usual commute time to work hours. This can easily add an extra hour to their workday, and without extra compensation in some cases.
If you find yourself working longer at home, spending more time at your desk, or feeling pesky about your work, it could be time to check for signs of burnout.
Other Telling Signs of Work From Home Burnout
If you’re feeling increasingly irritable, stressed out or sick after each workday, it could be burnout, especially if this is new or becoming more frequent.
2. Inability to Focus
Are you finding it harder to concentrate and focus on the job? All things being equal, do you think you were more focused while working at the office? It could be burnout.
Once in a while, we experience laziness, tiredness, or lethargy. If you’re usually productive but burned out, losing focus and unable to get work done at home, it could lead to overwhelm.
4. Missed Deadlines
Overwhelm can easily result in a pile of work and missed deadlines. To compensate, you may find yourself overworking, rushing, and doing shoddy work, which can worsen stress and lead to even more burnout.
If you find yourself now struggling with your job, stressed, unable to focus, overwhelmed, missing deadlines, giving excuses, and lying more frequently while working from home, you may be dealing with burnout.
6. Undone House Chores
If you live alone or with a roommate and are increasingly leaving house chores undone because you feel exhausted after working from home each day, you may want to keep an eye on it, it could be burnout.
And, not all work from home burnout is directly work-related. Other signs that you may be dealing with work from home burnout include:
7. Skipping Family Bonding Time
8. Irritability Towards your Spouse or Pets
9. Piling Social Media Notifications
10. Switching Off Your Phones
11. Unhealthy Snacking
12. Inability to Sleep
If these signs typically manifest after work and persist, you may be dealing with work from home burnout.
The following are
Some Overlooked Causes of Work From Home Burnout
1. Sudden Change: Transitioning to WFH
The transition to remote work due to COVID-19 was sudden for many employees. With little to no time to prepare, some are still trying to adapt and adjust to the new normal.
2. New Tech
Pre-COVID-19, companies had dedicated IT teams providing onsite technical support to employees. Now, employees are personally responsible for managing their own ICT infrastructure. This is stressful for the non-techie.
3. Virtual Meetings
According to a Clarizen report, here’s how much employees love meetings!
Thanks to distributed teams, employees now have to set up or sit through even more e-meetings for supervision, coordination, and socialization, thereby extending work hours and workload.
4. Longer Work Hours
With the average remote worker working an extra two hours a day, many may be experiencing occupational stress which could lead to work from home burnout if left unchecked.
5. Unpaid Overtime
Money is a motivator, any day, any time. Unpaid overtime can make interesting work feel like drudgery, requiring more mental exertion to accomplish. This can fast track burnout.
6. Fear of Job Loss like Millions of Others
Over 40 million US jobs were lost due to COVID-19. Reports indicate rising case counts and fears of a second wave of infections and shelter-in-place measures, causing many to stress and worry about their job security.
Other often ignored causes of work from home burnout include:
7. No or Poor Peer Support System
8. Preference for Office Environment
9. Other Home Chores
10. Growing Work-Life Imbalance
11. Relationship Stress (Divorce Soaring)
12. General COVID-19 Uncertainties, etc.
Being able to identify the signs of work from home burnout and its causes can help with early detection and treatment of this workplace malady, that can hide and fester when people work from home.
Left untreated, occupational burnout can affect employee mental and physical health resulting in absenteeism and sick leaves. It can also impact job performance lowering productivity and profitability.
Burned out employees will deliver poor customer service, create churn and put your business in financial jeopardy. It can also lead to high staff turnover.
Both employers and employees should address work from home burnout in their work from home policy. This will help to ensure checks and balances are in place to address occupational stress when it does arise.
It will provide a safety net for employers and employees and create a conducive working environment even as more businesses consider adopting remote work in the future. If you run your own online business, it will help you identify and prevent burnout, thereby increasing productivity and profitability.