Work-life balance is an essential step in preventing burnout out and positive mental health. Burnout has become very prevalent during COVID with lockdown. Working from home creates some unique challenges. So, let’s explore workplace burnout during COVID and how to reduce the risks.
Burnout has six identifiable causes.
- A workload that is more than your personal capacity. For example, the additional stress of childcare and home-schooling has added extra household chores while also maintaining the same level of work productivity from the office environment.
- Perceived or actual lack of control. During COVID lockdowns, autonomous power diminishes. Many people have to work from home, home-school, and get by with little or no access to support.
- It’s hard to feel the rewards of our hard work during lockdowns. Because home/family workload are measured on office environment workloads. It fails to recognise and accommodate the extra hours that parents are making up in the evening to compensate for family/home increased needs, reduced personal balance and recovery time.
- Accessing social interactions and other forms of feedback and support is essential. Still, a real sense of disconnection is beginning to form within many organisations because of lockdowns have necessitated working from home. It’s vital to be proactive and reach out to others. Even if it’s just a lunch break (at home), to chat with one of your co-workers about how they are.
- Suppose our work is not being recognised while others are continually being praised. In that case, it impacts our mental health and increases the chances of burnout. One example is those without family responsibilities or children being given a higher workload than those with responsibilities for the same remuneration. This is particularly relevant during COVID lockdowns and can in reverse cause a sense of unfairness from parents if they’re not given a lesser workload based on their increased parental responsibilities.
- Mismatched values. Our values create a critical sense of self. If we are consistently going against our own sense of values and morals, internal conflict arises. If this occurs in the workplace, this can create internal fatigue and burnout. If, for example, your boss sees your work for them as a higher priority than your children’s schooling. You could be forced to choose between your family’s needs or keep your job. In this scenario, a sense of guilt can encompass you, reducing productivity and creating a loss of focus.
Before you experience job burnout, your feelings will give you some clues that something is amiss. If you’re not sure if you’re just going through a rough patch or heading down the road to burnout, here are seven questions to ask yourself:
- Are you feeling cynical or pessimistic about work, and are these feelings escalating?
- Is your motivation decreasing?
- Is it becoming difficult to perform work-related problem-solving?
- Do you feel yourself getting more agitated or angry at work?
- Are interpersonal difficulties at work spilling over into your home life?
- Do you feel depressed as a result of work-related stress?
- Is work-related stress causing you anxiety?
Suppose you answered yes to many of the questions above. In that case, there are various ways to address these feelings for a healthier outlook.
The diagram below clearly identifies the importance of boundary control and one’s sense of wellbeing. Indicating that actively asserting boundary control at work is beneficial for mental health.
Here are the five top tips for work-life balance and prevention of burnout during COVID.
- Create a specific workspace in the home. This creates a sense of difference and helps the mind separate from the home and into work mode.
- Keep a routine. I know it’s tempting to work pants less or let the kids home school in their pyjamas but learning and productivity are reduced when we cannot change our mindset from home to work or school. So, get up, get ready for work, and get the kids ready for school as if you were leaving. Then go to your workstations to start your day.
- Plan your schedule, including breaks, kids schooling needs, and your work priorities, personal needs. Have a set start and finish time, and don’t be tempted to do extra during your personal time.
- Work out what your most Productive times are and use them to your advantage.
- Be assertive, take back the power in your workplace to ensure your needs are met while not stepping on others’ rights.
We hope these tips helped set expectations and calm during such a crazy, unprecedented time in history. If you need extra support during this time, please do not hesitate to reach out to us using the links to the right of this article. We are here to support you.