This second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has left people feeling stressed, uncertain and exhausted. For those fortunate enough to have work, many are burning the candle at both ends.
The Myth About Remote Work
There is pressure to produce more because of the myth that working remotely means you’re not working enough. The lines between work and home are blurred and boundaries are crossed as to how to say no and when to put way thoughts of work for the day.
The myth about remote work is real even if only in the eyes of the employees themselves. The time savings captured by the absence of a commute allows for the rationalization that “I’m just working the hours I would have used to commute back and forth to and from work” or “I’ll just check on my email for a few minutes before bed” and it finds employees working much longer hours and struggling to separate their work and home life.
According to a recent study by Robert Half, 55 per cent of professionals who transitioned to a remote setup for work due to the pandemic shared that they work on the weekend. Also, 34 per cent of these remote employees indicated that they regularly worked more than an 8-hour day.
In what Canadian cities does this occur most prevalently? The highest percentages of remote employees who work on the weekends include: Calgary, Alberta; and Toronto and Ottawa, Ontario.
What is Burnout?
Let’s now make this a perfect storm and add in working remotely where meetings and collaboration occurs virtually. How do you really tell how employees are doing? Before we answer this question, let’s ensure we’re on the same page by defining the term, burnout. The Mayo Clinic defined it as a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.
According to the book, Burnout, by authors Emily and Amelia Nagoski, even when you feel totally depleted there remains something in the back of your mind that niggles at you saying that you haven’t done enough or what’s necessary. This contradiction in thought and experience puts you at odds with feelings of being overworked, inadequate, and overpowered by life.
What is a Leader to Do?
Now, let’s add the leader or front-line manager into the mix. They are responsible for the organizing work, communicating key directives from senior management, and ensuring that the deadlines are met. They too are feeling the pressure and stress of today’s uncertain climate yet have the added responsibility of keeping a pulse on employee morale, productivity, and overall well-being.
To a leader’s dismay, it is their top talent, the hard-working team players who are often most at risk. The University of Cambridge conducted a study of more than 1,000 US workers and found that those who are highly engaged in their work are also exhausted and ready to leave their organizations. No employer wants to lose their most motivated and hard-working employees due to burnout.
Here are 5 tips to employees avoid burnout:
Increasingly, employees are at risk of burnout and the need to prioritize and ensure balance is put back in their life is critically important. There are no easy or quick answers, but there are free tools available to relieve stress, promote trust, and support well-being.
The reality is: burnout is detrimental to an organization’s bottom line. We know there is a great deal to consider regarding this topic. Please contact us with your questions and let’s work together and create solutions that work best for you and your organization.