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6 Cures for Employee Work-from-Home Burnout


By Linda Williams

Amidst the firestorm of worldwide shutdowns, mandatory quarantines, and emotionally draining social distance, employees and employers alike received a rude awakening on the mental-health-depleting habits infesting cubicles nationwide. As working professionals sweep up the ashes of workplace burnout, many have learned that mental health is of equal importance to physical health. With the advent of widespread work-from-home schedules, nowhere is this lesson more evident than in the home office.

From attending conferences while keeping kids entertained to finishing reports after midnight, your employees have likely had difficulty transforming their bedrooms into boardrooms this past year. Workplace burnout is at an all-time high, and women, people of color, and caregivers are particularly vulnerable to chronic work-related stress.

However, employers hoping to foster a stress-free company culture in 2021 need not fear. From regularly checking in with employees to providing parental support, there are many ways employers can help curb work-from-home burnout. Read on for six tips to help your employees maintain a better work-life balance.

Distribute employee gifts

During a challenging year, validating your employees’ hard work can be one way to minimize burnout. Distributing gifts can help you recognize employee efforts, lift workers’ spirits, and increase workplace satisfaction. And during that magical time of year, holiday gift certificates can restore holiday cheer in drained employees.

Check-in on your workers

Not every employee will feel comfortable confiding in their supervisors about personal difficulties or news about starting an online graduate program. Regular employee check-ins will give your workers a safe space to open up about any challenges that might be affecting their workflow and allow you to gauge current levels of employee stress.

Prioritize flexible work routines

Having a work-from-home (WFH) schedule is not always synonymous with having a flexible work schedule. During the crisis, some employers required WFH employees to adhere to rigid 9-to-5 schedules.

Despite good intentions to boost employee productivity and minimize distractions, allowing your workers to complete tasks on a schedule molded to their domestic needs (i.e., mid-day appointments, childcare needs, etc.) provides much needed flexibility.

Encourage healthy breaks

Though some of your employees might pick up their dry cleaning or hit the grocery store when they get a spare moment, such breaks might be making an already busy work-from-home schedule even more hectic. Encourage your workers to spend thirty minutes each day taking a walk around the neighborhood, or consider providing free online fitness classes to help your employees de-stress during the workday.

Provide parental support

In addition to offering flexible work routines, employers can find myriad other ways to assist parents in the workplace. You might consider providing better parental leave policies for employees of all genders, which can result in less burnout for workers with children.

Consider a shorter workweek

During the pandemic, some companies noticed their stressed-out workers suffering and decided to implement a four-day workweek. If you can afford to do so, consider offering your employees a paid holiday once a week or even once a month. Less time at the office reduces employee burn-out and can even result in increased productivity and creativity.

Final thoughts

The challenges associated with working from home have helped emphasize the importance of mental health. However, those hoping to make working from home less stressful for their workers have various tools at their disposal. From implementing a shorter workweek to encouraging time off, there are many ways employers can curb chronic workplace fatigue for employees working from home.

Linda Williams is a University of Illinois at Chicago alumnus who has nurtured a successful career as a legal secretary over the last 20+ years, supporting some of the most esteemed attorneys in Chicago. When she's not writing legal documents at lightning speeds or developing her personal writing portfolio, she enjoys spending time with her beautiful children -- especially her new granddaughter! According to Williams, "nothing sparks joy quite like quality time with family, a good book, and opportunities to find your creative voice."


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