WFH Burnout: What You Need to Know
Before 2020, working from home was generally considered a specific luxury, but workplaces were no longer considered a safe option when the pandemic hit. To keep businesses going, most companies transitioned to remote work if they could. This was a significant change that took a lot of adaptation, and it has introduced new problems for all of us to navigate. Working from home started out as a fun opportunity, but it revealed its own problems with time. Work from home (WFH) burnout has officially made an appearance and is impacting people all around the world. In this article, we will explore tips to avoid WFH burnout.
Transition to Remote Work
Having worked from home for many years before the pandemic, I can say from personal experience that I continually fall into the WFH burnout cycle. I enjoy the flexibility to work anytime I want to, but sometimes that comes at a cost. Why? Because I have workaholic tendencies and a home office makes it easy for me to not only work all the time but to think about work all the time as well.
The Blurring Lines Between Work and Non-Work
At the root of the issue with working from home, it blurs the lines between work and our personal time. Since we are working and living in the same space, it is up to each one of us to draw a metaphorical line in the sand between work and home. We must learn how to transition from “remote work” to “home” without having any real distinguisher. This can be incredibly difficult, but if we don’t build those barriers, WFH burnout is inevitable.
9-to-5 is No Longer Realistic—Stop Working All the Time!
Traditional workdays have changed.  We work different hours, keep different break times, and even wake up at unusual times. When we work from home, it can be a little too easy to just tap into work and stay there—but we can’t work all the time.
Creating space and taking time for ourselves is necessary to avoid WFH burnout. If we don’t do that, we will make decisions that are counterproductive to our well-being. These boundaries are vital, and we deserve to take a little time off, particularly given the current state of the world.
Tips to Avoid WFH Burnout
Working from home can lead to its own special kind of burnout, but that doesn’t mean it is inevitable. With the proper steps, you can avoid burnout and find a more comfortable balance between work and home.
Work Set Hours—Clearly define your work time and personal time so you know when you can truly relax. Avoid being “on-call” all the time.
Take a Break—Too often, we feel like working from home doesn’t count as real work. It does, and you will need breaks from it, even if it is just having tea on your couch.
Have a Designated Space—Keeping work tucked away in a specific area can work wonders when it comes to building that wall between your work life and home life.
For many of us, remote work is here to stay! So, we need better ways to adapt to flexible remote work arrangements and set boundaries between our work and personal lives. I know how hard this is for me to do, and I’m continually trying to experiment to find the right balance for myself. You owe it to yourself to try to do the same! I’ve recently enjoyed many virtual coffees with friends and colleagues and find it’s a great way to break up the day and reenergize. Let’s get off the cycle of WFH burnout and try to develop a sense of normality. Find what works for you!
Dr. Cristina Rosario DiPietropolo is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Leader Essentials Group, an executive consulting firm focused on organizational effectiveness. Extensive experience across multiple industries and highly skilled in the areas of strategic planning, organizational behavior, human resource management, change management, leadership, and digital marketing. Over ten years of teaching experience as a Visiting Professor of Management, with a special focus on leadership in entrepreneurship, organizational behavior, and international management.
 Giurge, L. M., & Bohns, V. (2020). 3 Tips to Avoid WFH Burnout. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved December 3, 2021, from https://hbr.org/2020/04/3-tips-to-avoid-wfh-burnout  Moss, J. (2018). Helping Remote Workers Avoid Loneliness and Burnout. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved December 3, 2021, from https://hbr.org/2018/11/helping-remote-workers-avoid-loneliness-and-burnout