Remote worker burnout has unfortunately become a reality these days, with almost every other person going through this. Too much work pressure and work stress are severely affecting people’s mental health, ultimately resulting in the remote worker burnout phenomenon.
Burnout is nothing to hide or be ashamed of. It’s a topic to be aware of and talk openly about so you know the signs and can prevent it. You’re not alone. And studies continue to reveal that a huge portion of the remote workforce is suffering from this medical condition.
Burnout is more serious than everyday job stress. The World Health Organization defines burnout as a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that’s characterized by feelings of exhaustion or energy depletion, negative or cynical feelings related to a job, and reduced professional efficacy.
You can’t cure burnout by taking an extended vacation, slowing down, or working fewer hours. Once it takes hold, you’re out of gas, more than mere fatigue. The solution is prevention: good self-care and work-life balance to stop burnout in its tracks before it hits home in the first place. As Americans continue to work from home, new research shows that the risk of burnout is on the rise.
New Polls on Remote Work Burnout
According to a July 2020 survey of 1,500 respondents by FlexJobs and Mental Health America (MHA), 75 percent of people have experienced burnout at work, with 40 percent saying they’ve experienced burnout during the pandemic specifically. Thirty-seven percent are currently working longer hours than usual since the pandemic started. Having flexibility in their workday (56 percent) was overwhelmingly listed as the top way their workplace could offer support, well in front of encouraging time off and offering mental health days (43 percent).
Other highlights include:
- Employed workers are more than three times as likely to report poor mental health now vs. before the pandemic (5 percent vs. 18 percent).
- Forty-two percent of those employed and 47 percent of those unemployed say their stress levels are currently high or very high.
- Seventy-six percent agreed that workplace stress affects their mental health (i.e., depression or anxiety).
- Fifty-one percent of workers agreed that they had the emotional support they need at work to help manage their stress.
- Respondents were eager to attend virtual mental health solutions offered through their workplaces, such as meditation sessions (45 percent), desktop yoga (32 percent), and virtual workout classes (37 percent).
A second new survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of CBDistillery asked 2,000 Americans working from home about the changes in their routines and how they’ve been holding up during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Their findings showed that:
- Sixty-seven percent of those working remotely feel pressured to be available at all hours of the day.
- Sixty-five percent admitting to working longer hours than ever before.
- Six in 10 respondents fear that their job would be at risk if they didn’t go above and beyond by working overtime.
- Sixty-three percent agree that time off is generally discouraged by their employer.
More than half of those surveyed are feeling more stressed than ever before, and over three-quarters of respondents wish their company offered more resources to cope with the added stress of the pandemic.
Burnout Prevention for Remote Workers
To help remote workers avoid burnout, FlexJobs compiled five key tips to consider to create healthier remote cultures that promote workplace wellness.
1. Develop boundaries.
One of the difficult things about being a remote worker is that you’re never really “away” from your work physically, and you need to develop actual barriers between your work and personal life.
One boundary is to have a dedicated workspace that you can join and leave. Or, put your laptop in a drawer or closet when you’re done with work. Start and end your workday with some kind of ritual that signals to your brain when it’s time to change from work to personal or vice versa.