Keeping a balanced tipping scale
The Covid-19 Pandemic gave birth to ‘Work from Home, WFH, which blurred the lines between the established work, relax, sleep balance.
WFH created an illusion of constant accessibility, availability and communication. It distorted the concept of “working hours” and begged the question: what time does work exactly start and when should it stop? This concept of “flexible hours” proved to be too nimble and lead to heightened levels of exhaustion, screen fatigue, and general tiredness, which accumulates to feeling burnt out.
Experiences of burnout vary on an individual level, like the hierarchical level in the company, the amount of delegated tasks, and so many other underlying reasons; the bottom line being it is always stress related.
Stress triggers can be infinite, but the solutions are just a handful. Failure to execute stress management solutions or healthy coping mechanisms will eventually lead towards the burnout stage.
Here are five things that you can do to overcome burnout while maintaining a well-balanced work-life balance
1. Take a Stand
Workplace burnout’s primary cause is usually a never-ending task list. With WFH, there are no physical constraints to work. The lack of an office infrastructure ends up promoting unconditional work requests which may have been curbed due to it being time-bound or the lack of structural support.
A balance must be maintained. You must never feel that your agreed amount of time, energy and effort you put in your working commitment is not enough. The relationship between success and time is not linear; and success needs to be defined beyond the measurement of your career. This old school thinking that work comes first carries serious health risks and needs to be debunked.
Be open to having conversations amongst the team, whether it is the boss, the managers, the senior employees and/or colleagues. Circulating consistent feedback cycles around the workload being passed around would enable an open communication channel. Consequently, the formed line of communication will help your team feel more at ease about communicating their burden, which would essentially be a better alternative to experiencing burnout.
Bottom Line: Take a stand. Be firm about your working hour commitments, even if they’re flexible. Apply the 9-5 model to the timings of your choice. Keep all communications at the forefront.
2. Keep it out of your bedroom
This ties in with the first one by essentially prompting you to disconnect from work in your bedroom. Our brain tends to associate places with our actions. For example, your bed should always be associated with unwinding, relaxing, and sleeping. If you work from your bed, and if you obsess about your work around the clock, it will affect your sleep. It might be hard to disconnect; but you must. That message to your colleague about a meeting tomorrow afternoon can wait till the morning. The task that you have been meaning to assign that wait another couple of hours. Food for thought; taking your work to bed can mean that your partner now has to unwilling get involved in the project too.
Bottom Line: We must adhere to a staple rule: Keep it out of your bedroom
“It” means your laptops, your notes, and even your work-consumed thoughts. Stop transforming your bed from becoming a pesky workaholic station.
3. Put it on the Calendar
There’s a saying that if you didn’t post about it on your social media, did it really happen? The same philosophy applies here. If it isn’t scheduled, does it really even matter?
It is important to have a synced calendar for your team to ensure transparency and accountability. Having a visual forecast about the workday schedule assists in understanding the responsibilities of your team and keeping a check and balance of work allocation between different team members.
Additionally, it can be utilized in pinpointing a time for a breather away from work. Put aside that email or that call that your brain is too fogged up to comprehend and refresh yourself.
Bottom Line: Plan your day, plan your stress. Some stress is necessary, so know when you have to take that stress and when can you take a breather.
4. Great managers know what to delegate and what to own
Execute plans that will allow your business to run passively without your constant presence. Micro-managing every little detail is more harmful than beneficial as it puts everyone in restraints; unable to challenge their creativity. Therefore, avoid burning out from holding the reins too tightly and sometimes allow the automation element to take its course.
Bottom Line: Understand that constant work will not only exhaust you but everyone that surrounds you. Know that success comes to those who work smarter, not longer.
5. Take a Break
The work culture nowadays has adapted the mantra of “hustlin’”, of giving the utmost importance to career building and pushing your limits to achieve success. However, smart play is of utmost important. As stressed in this entire article, one needs to understand the importance of balance.
Encourage yourself and your team to take breaks to manage a stressful day; leave early if you can, take a longer lunch break. Encourage team-building exercises like happy hours that could include fancy lunches, going out for ice cream, physical activities like hiking or painting, anything that encourages the team to take a step back from work and shift focus.
Bottom Line: Celebrate your employees and bring teams together to recharge and rejuvenate to encourage a healthy work-life balance.