Work from Home Burnout – Surviving the New Normal
Even before the COVID virus invaded our world and totally changed the way many companies do business, organizations of all sizes and industries were changing the way they conduct their operations.
Mobile workforces and technology that enables access to communications and business systems have made information and critical systems available from anywhere, moving many employees to home offices.
The problem is – without the right disciplines and tools, employees can experience work from home (WFH) burnout over time.
There are three critical factors to be addressed for WFH employees to enhance efficiency, promote job satisfaction, and ensure security.
Setting Up a Home or Remote Office
A WFH environment should include some basic workstation attributes to make employees productive and healthy.
One key factor in avoiding burnout is paying attention to your home workspace.
Home offices should include a designated area where an employee can focus on business activities without distractions from children, pets, or non-business media. Lighting should be efficient for the comfortable use of computers and written documents. It’s also important to provide an environment that can be visually acceptable for video conferences.
Set up a work surface that can support the computer or laptop to be utilized, including a monitor that is large enough and bright enough to avoid eyestrain from continuous use. Multiple monitors can boost productivity, providing ease of multitasking like switching from email to documents or internet sites.
If you need to print hard-copy documents, be sure you have a printer that suits your business needs in print quality, speed, and monochrome or color. Again, make sure your printer is sized appropriately for your workspace.
Attention to your desk surface and chair is critical to avoid physical stress and fatigue. Your desktop – even if it’s your kitchen table – should be the right height to type comfortably and to view your monitor or laptop screen comfortably.
Chair position is just as important, with proper back support and height to provide good posture and avoid pain from sitting for extended periods.
Speaking of extended periods – take breaks. Make sure you get up and move around for at least a few minutes each hour. Studies have shown that sitting for extended periods can lead to many health issues, besides WFH burnout.
Your Home Office Technology
If you regularly work from home or work remotely, your best friend is likely your laptop or tablet computer. But if you’re going to be a WFH employee for any length of time, you should invest in a few accessories that make your life easier and more professional:
- Headset – pick out a comfortable headset, has noise-reduction capability, and includes a quality microphone that will reproduce your voice clearly during calls or videoconferences.
- Wireless keyboard and mouse – for a very modest sum, you can limit your dependence on cables and physical connections. This not only makes movement easier but also reduces clutter in your workspace. The same is true for printers – try to find one that meets your needs, but also facilitates a wireless connection.
- Router – be sure your router can facilitate high-speed interaction with the internet for accessing websites, running business applications, and sharing documents. It’s also important to change the default password to avoid access by unauthorized access by neighbors or hackers.
- External hard drive or SSD – to protect business documents and guard against data loss, it can be beneficial to backup critical files regularly to an external drive. An excellent alternative is to incorporate a cloud backup or repository service or secure file sharing site for important documents or files, especially if you need to share data or collaborate on documents or projects.
Technology and Communications Services
Taking advantage of tools and services such as Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) can make the WFH experience much more pleasant and productive. Applying UCaaS technology offers many advantages:
- Provide secure file sharing for collaborating with peers, management, and customers. This capability gives you access to your files from anywhere, anytime, with a reliable backup of critical data.
- Videoconferencing – one of the leading causes of WFH burnout cited by remote work teams is the lack of interaction and face contact with other team members. UCaaS provides high-quality video connectivity to stay in touch for training, meetings, and just to maintain interpersonal relationships.
- VOIP replaces desk phones and provides reliable connection through your computer.
- Secure connection with a VPN provides safe use of business applications and sharing of information.
WFH Burnout Solved
Establishing a designated, ergonomic workspace with the appropriate technology equipment is your first step.
Combined with robust software applications for effective communications and collaboration, most remote employees and road warriors can easily adapt to this new way of working, avoiding the risk of WFH burnout.