Working from home could be key to 'tackling workplace burnout'

Most of us are well versed in the language of burnout.

Long working hours, a culture that demands constant availability, poor work/life balance, these are all the factors that can trigger burnout.

Burnout has been defined the World Health Organisation as an ‘occupational phenomenon’, ‘a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.’

Unsurprisingly, the stress of the pandemic has made this problem more widespread.

Skynova surveyed 1,000 workers to gauge their burnout levels, and the results were quite worrying.

More than half of those surveyed reported ‘often or always’ feeling burned out because of work.

Nearly one in four employees said they are feeling burned out due to being understaffed, and among on-site employees that amount increases to more than one in three.

But one positive to come out of the pandemic has been the different possibilities when it comes to working environments. We have all been forced to work in different ways over the last two years, and as a result, more companies are starting to see the benefits of increased flexibility of working hours and location.

This could be just what is needed in the fight against the growing burnout crisis.

According to this recent survey, the most effective way employees say they fight off burnout is working remotely. In fact, 47% said this was the best tactic in improving their mental health at work.

Just less than half said they fight burnout through exercising and eating well, 38% do it through working fewer hours, 36% take breaks during the day, and 32% take time off.

But flexibility seems to be the key factor in making workers feel less stressed, exhausted and overwhelmed.

Workers say their managers are more supportive of their need to work remotely and work fewer hours, but are less supportive of them taking breaks and setting hard cut-off times on workdays

Four in five respondents agreed that they need a break from work for their mental health.

The top five symptoms of workplace burnout reported by respondents were; workplace stress, loss of motivation, exhaustion, decreased satisfaction and headaches.

Could working from home cure all of this? Not necessarily.

Although remote working gives employees greater flexibility, it can also further blur the lines between work and home life.

Many people have reported working much longer hours while at home, struggling to switch off at the end of the day, and feeling even more stressed.

So, it could be that hybrid working is the answer. A mix between in-person and at-home work, if you have a job that allows for this.

But ultimately, it’s probably more important to listen to your body and take breaks when you need to.

It’s important to acknowledge that we have been living and working through unprecedented circumstances, so it is normal to feel elevated stress, it is normal to not be quite as productive, and it is normal to need more breaks.

It’s vital that employees have an understanding of this, and compassion for their staff during difficult periods.

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