Work from home fatigue occurs when employees feel unfulfilled with remote work.
This state can result in lower productivity, a lack of motivation, a negative mood, and a sense of isolation. When left untreated, the condition can result in employee underperformance, disengagement, and turnover.
Read more: combating employee about burnout
Additionally, these feelings are unpleasant and can make work uncomfortable, therefore it is better to go through the slump and reclaim a passion for the job.
The first step to solving work-from-home fatigue is to identify the root of the problem. HRD found the following data which can help us categorise employee struggles.
- No separation between work and life (27%)
- Unmanageable workload (21%)
- Job security concerns (19%)
- Lack of support from a manager (11%)
- Lack of control over work (11%)
Once the root cause of the dreariness is identified, suitable actions can be taken to remedy the problem.
Working From Home Can Be Exhausting, How Can We Solve It?
You’re learning to go through new normal transitions
The root causes: Things are not the same anymore. When you were in the office, you could easily move between meeting rooms and scribble ideas on a whiteboard to keep the discussion moving forward.
These activities now involve a greater level of conscious thought. Connecting via technology is rarely effortless, and you may need to learn new remote tools to collaborate with your team remotely.
The solutions: Persist. As new ways of working become more prevalent and as you acquire new technologies, they will become more automatic, requiring less effort from your brain.
You crave human connection
The root causes: Human connection plays a significant role in the work experience. One of the wonderful aspects of work is the frequent connections we make with people who are not necessarily in our close circle.
The office coffee bar provides an opportunity to meet coworkers, stay connected, and maintain relationships with people we don’t see on a daily basis. Your network is almost certainly diminished, and you may be missing your friends and experiencing some grief. Work is fundamentally social, and even for those who are more introverted.
You’re exhausted because these regular connections don’t energize you and because maintaining them requires more conscious effort.
The solutions: Utilize instant messaging, Slack, or texting to reach out and connect in new ways. This may appear unusual at first, but keep in mind that others are likely experiencing the same anxiety you are. It will become easier, and you will develop new norms to maintain your connection.
The root causes: Working from home may appear to be a relief from a distance, but it’s not that simple due to distractions within the home. Especially if you don’t have a dedicated workspace at home or need to share your working space with children or spouse. You may be distracted by the laundry that you know needs to be done or by the walk that you wish you had time to take.
The solutions: Make time for distractions as part of your daily routine. Plan to spend your lunch hour with your family or outside for some fresh air.
You’re getting less exercise
The root causes: Movement is beneficial to your health and vital to your well-being. The fact that you are spending too much time sitting in front of your screen may be adding to your exhaustion.
The solutions: Make time for exercise. It doesn’t have to be heavy or long but it does have to be consistent. Think of the exercise as a part of your microbreaks, such as doing breathwork, yoga, or high-intensity exercise.
Within the office Slack, you can create a step challenge with prizes to incentivize movement in a fun and engaging way.
You’re sitting in an uncomfortable workspace
The root causes: Setting up the home office for maximum support is one of the best ways to avoid work from home fatigue. Uncomfortable working conditions can lead to work-from-home burnout.
The solutions: When working virtually, sturdy and spacious desks, ergonomic chairs, and computer monitors make a significant difference. Setting up a professional workspace can help to create a barrier between the home and the office, reinforce boundaries, and boost productivity.
You are not engaging in team-building activities
The Root Causes: Creating a virtual work environment that fosters a sense of teamwork and camaraderie might help alleviate the loneliness that often accompanies remote workers. People who work from home often have a hard time organizing social events or rescheduling their schedules to participate in activities.
The solutions: A more effective strategy is to schedule regular team-building events before morale begins to break down. Having regular dates for activities on the calendar gives the event a sense of routine. Reminders and RSVPs foster a sense of accountability among employees. With regular outings, teammates develop a sense of belonging to a team rather than as guests at a one-time event.
You’re lacking casual interactions with coworkers
The root causes: Working from home can be exhausting because of the isolation it brings. Many telecommuters focus on their work and avoid unwanted conversations with their coworkers, which is common. As a result, productivity rises, but so does isolation from coworkers.
The solutions: Having casual interactions with coworkers can actually be helpful and foster a sense of community at work. Do it intentionally. Ask icebreakers questions during virtual meetings, share a photo of pets, food, family, or holidays, or take a virtual coffee break with coworkers.
You’re trapped in unhealthy workday behaviors
The root causes: Taking too many breaks throughout the daytime may cause you to work until late at night. If you spend most of your day in Zoom meetings, you may become agitated as a result. When you keep a log of your workday, you’ll be able to discover and eliminate bad habits.
The solutions: Tracking achievements and creating positive habits can show that even if you close the day with items remaining on your to-do list, you may accomplish more than you believe. This approach enables you to assess your progress and performance more precisely. Additionally, having a clear indicator of your productivity motivates you to continue your outstanding work.
You’re spending too much time online
The root causes: Taking a break from the screen may be more difficult than you think. Zoom exhaustion is on the rise, but in a remote work setting where everyone is seated in front of a computer/laptop, there isn’t much you can do but stare. You can’t get past the fact that virtual work requires a lot of time spent staring at screens.
The solutions: Employees who require time away from a laptop or desktop computer can engage in offline tasks. For instance, coffee with prospective clients, assisting with a workplace philanthropic event or attending an industry event, or in-person training. It may be good to request permission from your employer to substitute online to-dos for these real-world chores.
You’re working at the same space over and over without seeking a change of scenery
The root causes: When working remotely, a change of scenery might help you re-energize and refocus. A week, one day or even just a few hours in a different environment can be enough to break out of a funk.
The solutions: Visit a local coffee shop or acquire a day pass at a coworking space for a few hours. Work from a different room in your home or apartment in the worst-case situation.
You’re performing a single function on a loop all day
The root causes: Work From Home fatigue can occur as a result of boredom caused by repetitive tasks. Interacting with coworkers might help break up the monotony in offices. While working alone and without social interaction, the mundane appears to be more of a chore.
The workday can become excessively regular, with little excitement, unpredictability, or unexpectedness to engage and challenge the remote worker.
The solutions: To combat exhaustion and burnout, incorporate new elements into your routine. When it comes to boosting morale, you can assist out in another area, take on a new task, or learn a new skill.
You’re not embracing your natural work rhythms.
The root causes: Accepting your natural work rhythms can help you feel more at ease with remote work. For example, starting early in the morning, working evenings, or taking a lengthy break in the middle of the day. Perhaps you have non-work responsibilities that are easier to do during the day.
The solutions: There’s no need to stick to a schedule that doesn’t work for you when you don’t have the limits of a physical office. You are free to design a workflow that works best for you. Also, don’t feel pressured to stick to a routine once you’ve found one. It’s okay if your feelings and habits change; there’s no need to hold on to things that don’t work for you anymore as long as you communicate your availability to your team.
You’re having a lack of boundaries between home and work.
The root causes: In between sessions, remote workers can do errands or perform chores, or check emails and appear in Zoom meetings until the late evening. It’s common for remote workers to work in the same places where they sleep or hang out off the clock, which might contribute to the perception that they’re always working.
The solutions: Keeping workspace separate from living space and creating a healthy work-life balance are key to happiness. When limits are breached and your work-from-home hygiene becomes casual, reintroduce them.
Set a desk in a designated location of the house, for example. Work entirely in this area during office hours and do not visit there after hours. Another strategy is to commit to a tight “quitting time” and log off at a designated hour. This restriction may motivate you to improve your time management skills, rather than procrastinating because you realize you have flexible working hours.
You’re not taking rest seriously and figuratively.
The root causes: Working from home can be challenging. Many people struggle to focus when they are not being observed by their supervisors or coworkers, while others miss the energy and sense of connection with teammates.
The solutions: Allow yourself a few minutes of distraction or a few hours of downtime to refresh. Take a mental health day if your company’s policy allows. Recognize that while working from home provides some flexibility, other factors can drain your energy. You are not weak for regularly needing to rest.
Working from home is a unique experience compared to working in an office, which requires setting realistic expectations and fostering healthy habits. While work from home fatigue may appear to be persistent and overpowering in time, it frequently passes. Regardless, you should not bet on the slump disappearing unexpectedly.
There are numerous precautions that may be taken to avoid remote work burnout, as well as activities that can be taken to reverse the situation. Above all, be flexible and experiment, and seek assistance when and if necessary.