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Why Working From Home Is Stressful And What You Can Do About It

Why Working From Home Is Stressful And What You Can Do About It

For a lot of people, the idea of working from home sounds great. After all, you get to avoid the traffic, and do work all in the comfort of your own home. But did you know that this is exactly one of the reasons why working from home is stressful? In fact, a lot of people who shift from working in an office to working at home can have a hard time with the transition. It can even cause burnout, which makes it even harder for them to manage their work. This is why it is important for everyone working at home to know what can cause burnout, and what steps they can take in order to prevent it.

What is Burnout?

why working from home is stressful

Before we talk about why working from home is stressful, we need to talk about what burnout is.

Burnout is not an official mental health diagnosis, but it involves various mental, physical, or emotional exhaustion, as well as stress that results from work. Negative thinking and attitude, as well as reduced personal achievement, also contribute to this.

Burnout can cause people to lose interest in their work, or find it difficult to do their jobs like before. It can also affect a person’s mental health, physical health, and their relationships with family and friends.

It’s not uncommon for people who experience burnout to suffer from other mental health issues as well.

Burnout is also more common among jobs that put workers under a lot of pressure, but external factors can also affect whether a person gets burned out or not.

What Causes Burnout?

Here are some factors that can contribute to burnout:

  • Sudden changes in your workplace, such as having to work from home
  • Having too many responsibilities at work
  • A lack of control over the things happening in your workplace
  • Feeling anxious that you might not be able to accomplish your tasks
  • Problems at home or personal problems that spill over to your work
  • Financial problems

All of these things can contribute to a person suffering from burnout.

How Do You Know if You’re Burned Out?

Now that we know what factors contribute to burnout, how can you tell if you’re burned out at work?

Here are some red flags:

  • You’re trying to avoid work, or skipping work
  • Your performance is not quite what it used to be
  • Feeling exhausted at work despite having enough rest
  • Not interested in anything that has to do with work
  • Working outside of your usual work hours
  • Feeling more irritable than usual towards work and/or colleagues

Why Working From Home is Stressful

Working from home is a great opportunity for a lot of people. It helps employees and companies save money, and it avoids problems such as dealing with traffic on the way to work.

However, working from home is not as easy as it sounds. In fact, the fact that you are working from home and not in the office could be the reason why working from home is stressful.

why working from home is stressful

There’s no clear distinction between work life and home life

The first and biggest problem that most people encounter is that there is no distinction between their work life and home life.

When you work at an office, it’s easy to “disconnect” yourself from your work. Once you’re out of the office, you usually don’t need to think about work-related things. So once you get home, you can relax and enjoy the rest of your day.

But if you’re working from home, it’s much harder to disconnect since your workplace is your home. This can make you feel like your day is not yet done, or you feel like even the things you do at home feel like work.

Some people get easily distracted

Another problem that people encounter is that they easily get distracted by the things happening in their home.

At work, it’s easy to focus on what you’re doing, because all of you are focused on getting your work done. But at home, you might be living with your family, or with some housemates.

This can make it difficult to focus properly on your work because it’s so easy to get distracted, especially since you don’t have anyone supervising you.

There’s a lack of structure

If you’re working at home, you can essentially take a break anytime you want, or do other things while you’re at work. This might sound nice, but the lack of structure and routine can make work difficult for some people.

Some people also tend to work beyond their normal work hours, because they have been doing other things earlier in the day. This can make it even more difficult to disconnect from work since you’re working more hours than you really should.

What Can You Do About it?

Here are some things you can do about burnout while working from home:

  • Set a dedicated work area that is free from distractions. It could be a spare room, in the kitchen, or even outside. Just make sure that it’s not inside your bedroom, or in an area where you can easily get distracted.
  • Set a schedule for yourself with assigned breaks. For instance, ophthalmologists recommend taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes to rest your eyes. You can use this time to relax your mind and to think about anything other than work. This helps give your day some structure, and you’ll notice that you’re accomplishing more tasks as a result.
  • Disconnect yourself from work. After working, be sure to do something else to take your mind off things. It could be watching a movie, spending time with your family, or just engaging in a favorite hobby. This helps you relax and wind down after a day of working from home.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk about it with your boss or your team. Maybe they’re experiencing the same thing too, and you can help each other out. Burnout is not your fault, and it’s better to deal with it sooner rather than later.

Learn more about a Healthy Mind here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

How to Avoid Burnout While You Work at Home, https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2020/avoiding-burnout-teleworking.html, Accessed September 3, 2020

3 Tips to Avoid Working From Home Burnout, from Harvard Business Review – DeBoer Fellowship, https://www.deboerfellowship.org/3-tips-to-avoid-wfh-burnout/, Accessed September 3, 2020

The Dangerous Reality Of WFH Burnout (And How To Treat It), https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurelfarrer/2020/05/29/the-dangerous-reality-of-wfh-burnout-and-how-to-treat-it/#c5454f224878, Accessed September 3, 2020

3 Tips to Avoid WFH Burnout, https://hbr.org/2020/04/3-tips-to-avoid-wfh-burnout, Accessed September 3, 2020

7 tips to prevent burnout and improve wellness working from home: News at IU: Indiana University, https://news.iu.edu/stories/2020/07/iupui/inside/15-tips-prevent-burnout-and-improve-wellness-working-from-home.html, Accessed September 3, 2020

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Medically reviewed by Melissa Caraan, M.D.
Written by Jan Alwyn Batara
Updated Sep 04, 2020
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