Working from home can be exhausting for many good reasons. Sure, you’re not spending the extra time getting work-ready in the mornings nor enduring your daily commute, but sitting at home on videoconferences, day after day, brings its own type of weariness. We know because we feel it, too.
It’s easy to pinpoint where the exhaustion stems from because when we step out of our homes — our bubbles — and return to the office for a day, or pick up some groceries, or go on a morning bike ride with a friend, we instantly feel rejuvenated. Plain and simple, it’s difficult being cooped up and isolated from our community of people and places. And after thirteen months of just that, the weight can feel especially heavy.
We are here to remind you that work-from-home exhaustion is real, but it can be combated. Researchers from Stanford University recently released this study explaining ways that living on video makes us tired.
Here are a few tips to beat the work-from-home burnout and some things we are even doing ourselves.
4 Ways to Fight the Work-from-Home Weariness1. Too many Zoom meetings = too much close-up eye contact. To get back some personal space and make interacting via video chats less intense, increase the distance between you and the faces by sitting further away from your screen. If you’re on a laptop, you can switch to an external keyboard to allow for this. This will also enable you to move a little too and feel a little less “stuck in place” during meetings.
2. Nonverbal communication is hard to interpret when you’re not together in person. This makes our brains work overtime when we are on a video call, taking in everyone’s expressions and subconsciously gauging interest. To beat this, turn off your camera sometimes and spend a few moments in listen-only mode, removing all the distractions. You can also opt to have phone calls instead of videoconferences every once in a while, which will allow you to move around the room without distracting others.
3. Getting up and moving is more important than ever as we all battle the work-from-home blues. In the office, it’s easy to fill your breaks with water cooler talks or laps around the office. But at home, we tend to get sucked into our email and social media more. Make a point to get up and active during your breaks. And speaking of, be sure to schedule frequent breaks — away from your phone and screen.4. Break up the routine! Doing something different, like having lunch with a friend or going on a morning bike ride, or even just dressing up for the day, can significantly impact our overall mood and health. Part of the work-from-home fatigue is that our routines are exhausting and isolating. Try to involve your community of people and places when doing something different. It can make a world of difference.
The Work-from-Home Burnout: You’re Not Alone
At MGA, we have gone to great lengths to change things up for our team members, because we, too, feel the exhaustion. Our office is open and functioning (in a safe and socially distanced manner), and we encourage those who are feeling burnt out to come into the office to mix things up. Have lunch with a co-worker. Join our walking/biking group. Join some of our fun Thursday night events, like a mixology class or frisbee in the parking lot. We’re not perfect and may stumble along the way, but we won’t stop trying to help support our team, their well-being, and our culture. We ask for their feedback and demonstrate through our actions that we’re trying.
We hope some of these tips shared can help you along the way. We strive to make the complex simple — for you and our awesome team members.