According to research conducted by Harvard Business School and Stanford professors, the mental and physical negativities experienced by exhausted employees cost approximately $125-190 billion in health expenses in the USA. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our daily lives, the competing needs of work and family can make people anxious and worn-out.
Burn-out has already become a problem in the global workforce, now officially recognized as a “business phenomenon” by WHO (World Health Organization).
Employees who are now new to remote work may be at greater risk of developing burn-out syndrome. Employees who want to show their loyalty and productivity in this difficult time may feel pressured to respond to e-mails outside of working hours, or they can sit and watch as their working day covers the evenings.
Given that some employees may be asked to work from home for months, here are a few ways remote workers can maintain a good work-life balance.
While working from home, you will never be far from the kitchen, but burdening on caffeine to keep you stronger throughout the day can leave you lazy at lunchtime. Instead, take a workout break.
Letting those endorphins flow through your veins will give you both a natural burst of energy and clarity of mind. Try going for a walk around lunchtime or adding to your schedule of online fitness classes during the day.
Invite a few colleagues to take 30-day challenges and see who takes the most steps and spends the most active time.
Follow a Schedule
Saying goodbye to the morning traffic and white collars may have felt refreshing at first. However, many remote workers struggle with maintaining a daily schedule with work, family and rest time within healthy limits. “Preserving temporary boundaries is essential for health and work engagement,” says Harvard Business Review magazine.
However, authors Laura M. Giurge and Vanessa Bohns note that it is not realistic to continue your program at the office. “Employees must find the best timetable for them,” say Giurge and Bohns. “For some, there is a time when he puts his child to sleep and his wife cooks.”
Sharing Household Chores With Households
Housework can become a bigger burden than usual when all families are at home all day. More food is prepared, more cleaning is done, the amount of housework and the division of labor are also more frustrating.
Swapping your division of labor with your partner for a day or even a week will help both of you understand the mental burden required for the task at hand. For example, cooking dinner can also involve making sure fruit and vegetables are well stocked, or considering the dietary needs or preferences of households.
You’ll also be better prepared to anticipate each other’s needs and share the burden of household chores. And what better way to show you care about someone than taking out the trash when it’s not your turn?
Zoom, Slack, and cell phone notifications are great for keeping in touch with your team, but promise to turn your devices off and get your hands on the digital world for a while when working hours are over. “Working remotely does not depend on 24/7 contact.” says Micah Bowers, an illustrator at Toptal.
Bowers’ advice for opening hours is: “Don’t be afraid to mute notifications. Dingler beeps and ringring salvo disrupt your productivity and undermine your emotional health.”
Play Long Term
Shannon Watkins, Senior Vice President of Branding and Creative Services at Aflac says “If you focus on your career day by day, week to week, or month to month, it can get overwhelming,” in an interview with Thrive Global.
Watkins adds that looking at your career over the long term will allow you to see it as a whole. “The result is making long-term choices that support your career versus short-term emotional decisions.”
“Job got a whole on such research that it is very harmful to the health of stress,” Joel Goh says “But as a US tradition we have not paid much attention to the impact of workplace stress on high healthcare costs.”
The balance between work and home has never been more important as we accustom ourselves to working from home.