Don’t worry. You are not alone. Clients are bringing this up regularly, and the answer is creativity with space, how we spend our time, and how we allocate our WFH ventures.
A Harvard Study recently shared that “drawing lines between our professional and personal lives” is essential for overall mental health and well being. This has been an area of great despair over the last decade when employers started combining job requirements for multiple positions under one role. Time management and boundaries are the two main strategic objectives to re-define work-life balance, but now that our work is in our home, people are suffering.
I recently interviewed a large company in Kansas City around how their employees are doing with productivity in their work from the home state. The reply was that the time employees were spending within the Cloud was 75% higher over the last four months than last year. When asked how they are managing this from an HR perspective, the response was to give employees an extra “free PTO” day to accommodate. Is that enough? The answer is no.
Companies need to start looking at this deeper. Burn out is a reality. People will burn out, which will be to the company’s demise in terms of lost talent. Human Resources needs to bring in remote work coaches to empower their people better to manage time and institute boundaries from the top down. When will companies turn the corner on this? People can’t wait.
If you find yourself burning out, remember you are in control of your life and your career. How you choose to build yourself back up where you are excited and passionate about your work is entirely in your control. Here are some things you should consider:
1. Take a look at your wfh space and give it an upgrade. Your space should be motivating and easy to navigate. Respect your workspace as one for work. In other words, when you get up and move, you should be leaving the space designed for your work. When you are in this space, you should be in work mode. If you don’t have a door to your office, create the space in your home area where you can isolate it strictly for work; in other words, your kitchen table is not ideal. You may need to re-arrange or repurpose other living areas within your home. That is okay. Look at it as a refresh.
2. Beware of the distractors. Keep your personal time allocated for personal time. Have a contractor coming in to install something? Block that time off in your calendar and assign it for personal time. Just make sure you let your employer know that you are blocking that time for personal and that you will make it up on the back end to ensure your work product does not suffer. If a friend calls you during work time, let them know how much you wish to chat, but if it would be okay if you called them back when you have free time to speak.
3. Manage your time and create boundaries. Managing time and creating boundaries is so freeing. When a client comes to me frustrated, tired, and burned out, and we strategically look at “a day in the life” and start this boundary creation process, they become free, re-engaged, excited, and refreshed. Your calendar is there for a reason. Start making it work for you. Block where you can and don’t schedule over it. It is okay to provide alternative days and times, regardless of the audience.
When you allocate space and time to work for you, not to you, you open yourself up to the freedom from burn out. You will then see a refresh in your personal relationships, life, and overall wellness as a result. Try these three things for 30 days and track your thoughts and feelings in a journal. Look back, and you will see how refreshed you have become.