Prior to COVID-19, commuting to work was an opportunity to relax, read a book, or listen to a podcast. For some workers, work commute is stressful as it means falling in line on the bus or train and sitting for long hours in traffic. Regardless of the type of commute you take, it was designed to separate home from the office. Even if you work long hours in the office, you still look forward to returning home.

With the pandemic, the separation between home and office has become blurry. Now the commutes are from the bed to the bathroom to the kitchen to your working space. Gone is the distinction between lunchtime and work time, between coworkers and family. Creating a line between home and work is necessary to stay sane and healthy. Without these distinctions, one can be subjected to work from home burnout. Here now are some tips on how you can keep your sanity while doing remote work.

1. Redefine, set, and manage expectations. Find out who you are now. You weren’t like that. This means that you may not be the primary caregiver before quarantine, but you are now, or at least partially. Perhaps due to the lack of coworking with other parts of the company, their position has changed. You are in excellent condition now. Adapt it, find out what it looks like, and express your expectations about it.

2. Find another way to “commute.” If possible, take time to commute to work to simulate a commute, like a morning walk. Still, it could actually be any activity you enjoy. It is important to create a transition.

3. Close the tab on the virtual meeting. When you open a thousand tabs during a meeting, your concentration decreases, and your mental fatigue increases. The human brain simply cannot focus on more than one task at a time or, in rare cases, it cannot focus on two cognitive tasks. Feeling overwhelmed will force the brain to focus on an immediate task at the expense of other tasks.

4. Use a doodle pad. Instead of pretending to be focused and multitasking, it’s better to close other tabs, grab a notebook while talking, and draw while listening. This will give you impulsive attention but will not distract you, thus draining your mental focus and concentration.

5. Cushion your Zoom calls. Use five to ten minutes of breaks to fill your talk time, leaving your eyes and brain in transition. Of course, you could have back-to-back meetings when you were in the office, but these meetings didn’t tire you.

6. Whenever possible, choose phone calls over Zoom. Change it up. This will have a huge impact on your energy level and mental fatigue. Your eyes will thank you. And your brain can focus on listening instead of hearing/ listening / presenting at the same time.

7. Change your posture frequently. Change your posture every 15-30 minutes from standing to sitting, which will help your body and energy levels (and even save your back).

8. Keep your original daily routine. Just because you’re not going anywhere to do your business professional doesn’t mean you have to give up your own habits. Routine can help our brain feel good. They don’t waste our energy on new things. So get up at the same time, have lunch at the same time, and exercise at the same time. Keep it routine. Respect them.

9. Do whatever you want. It may be watching an interesting video, listening to some interesting things, half an hour outdoors, playing musical instruments, hugging your pet, but something can soften the working brain. It can release some wellness neurochemicals in the brain and provide it with the energy it needs.

10. Respect your mental fatigue. Don’t fight; use it. Carry a notebook with you at all times to write down what you need to do or remember. There is no shame in feeling exhausted.

You will most probably be working at home for some time, so the sooner you get adjusted to the new normal, the better you can combat work from home burnout.


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This Post Has 2 Comments

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