The global pandemic caused by Covid-19 has forced us to change and adapt many aspects of our lives. Quarantine, isolation, and social distancing have become pivotal to our continued physical health.
While taking care of our physical wellbeing is incredibly important, to what extent are our experiences of loneliness and anxiety having a negative impact on our mental and emotional wellbeing? Virtual burnout can come as a result of a number of causes:
- Lack of communication
- Isolation from team environments
- Concentration and focus issues
- Unclear expectations
- Work-home separation and boundaries
- Working too many hours
- Lack of control over dysfunctional workplace dynamics
During this time the internet has been priceless. It has been the web that has tied and connected all of us together to keep the world running in a time of great uncertainty. Without remote work, far more people would have lost their jobs, and essential services would have been pressured to even greater limits.
While we are enormously grateful that the internet and remote working options have kept a lot of us safe, there is some evidence to suggest people are beginning to struggle with the loneliness and isolation-induced by working from home.
While immeasurably helpful, video calling takes a toll. Research being conducted into the effects of long amounts of time spent on video calls suggests that it is harder to maintain concentration, judge body language, tone of voice and manage cognitive dissonance on calls than it is in person.
Those brief delays, lag caused by slower internet or overworked servers, not only have a physical impact but an emotional one as well. Over time we start to internalize the reactive and frustrated body language our co-workers are expressing with technology, as a comment on our own abilities and relationships.
While it’s true hybrid work is here to stay, all employees should be given the opportunity to meet in safe ways, be that outdoor meetings, or socially distant office spaces. Time should be made for team-building exercises that enable all colleagues to participate face to face, destress and have some fun together to rebuild a sense of trust after such long periods of estrangement.
As well as fatigue, more people are reporting difficulty separating their work and home life. Often finding it hard to decide which should take precedence when they are removed from traditional working hours and offices. This can lead to feelings of resentment and frustration affecting both sides of the work-home life balance. Nearly 70% of people surveyed believe their employer is not doing enough to recognize remote burnout.
Establishing clear boundaries is key when trying to beat burnout. Whether you enjoy working from home or not, it is important to set up a clear working space, and a set daily routine in which to get things done.
Perhaps decide that you will only work from your home office, dining table or a desk, rather than on the sofa or in bed. And make sure that when you are done for the day you are done for the day. Perhaps meditate, go for a walk, or breath some fresh air outside for five or ten minutes before settling into Netflix or your evening plans.
Clear separation and time to switch off are very important in managing and avoiding burnout.
Hybrid work arrangements
Those employees that have really relished and found their flow within a remote working environment may be hesitant to return to the office full time. If you want to show you understand these concerns, consider a staggered return, tailored to the needs of each employee.
Some people will be desperate to be a part of office life again. Others, not so much. Make sure you attend to the needs of your employees on an individual level, that sees them work in the best way for your business, and for their own physical and mental health.
If you’re struggling to strike a balance TPI can help you connect with people and opportunities that better reflect just what you are looking for.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to chat further with Eleanor Estes about your workforce’s transition from remote to in-office work, as well as virtual burnout.
Eleanor Estes, CEO Tech Providers, Inc.