Avoiding COVID Burnout


By Neal Glatt

As nearly more than 3 in 5 employees are now working from home, many are experiencing serious burnout.  Some feel manager expectations are high, some are balancing work and family, and others are just working extra hours from boredom.  Whatever your circumstances, here’s how to avoid burnout while working remotely.

Reevaluate expectations
If you have new childcare or homeschooling responsibilities, it isn’t feasible to expect the same availability for your work.  Redefining balance requires open communication between management and employees, but it is entirely possible to designate times for work and times for family in a way that ensures critical job functions are still being met.  In the absence of open conversations, employees tend to worry that managers are disappointed in output.  If you’re a manager, reassure your people that productivity is secondary to well-being.  If you report to someone else, speak up about what makes sense for your situation.

Stop the Screen Time 
We need breaks from our computer and phone screens.  I skip as many virtual meetings as possible because they stress our subconscious brains and many aren’t that necessary.  Instead, I work to have more one-on-one conversations via phone.  When meetings are required, I ensure that there is a clear purpose, agenda, and outcome to limit the time required.  When neither solution happens, then I’m calling in via phone while on a walk or enjoying the sun.  Sorry to those who may be offended, but your need to fill time and appear productive by hosting an unnecessary meeting shouldn’t obligate me to sit at my desk on camera.  The harm caused by digital screens is well-documented and should be minimized when possible.

Reclaim Your Commute Time
A recent study stated average working hours have increased from 9 hours per day to 13 hours per day during this work-from-home season.  With no long commutes and work available 24/7 (plus not much else to do), many workers are spending their newfound time on work.  While it’s great to use this time productively to get ahead on planning, projects, or professional development, 13 hours per day of work isn’t sustainable.  Whatever time you used to spend commuting should be your guilt-free time to improve your well-being.  Read a book, go for a run, do some yoga, or cook a big family meal.  We almost never receive such a gift of time in our lives and it would be a shame to waste it.

Take Burnout Seriously
If you think that your company isn’t stressed and on the cusp of burnout, take another look.  Great leaders will care for their people and meet them in this time.  Weak leaders will push their people for outcomes only and end up losing them.  When employees get burned out, they quit.  Or worse, they stay on the payroll taking valuable resources and producing the bare minimum in return.  It’s no joke and no way to run a team.  Now more than ever is the time to embrace well-being.

Tags: Corona , Covid , Burnout , Screen ,