The Challenges of Working Remotely

Empower staff members to take walks around their neighborhood or stretch throughout the day. Even small amounts of low-intensity physical activity have proven to minimize fatigue. Outside of that block of time, employees have the freedom to work when they choose, as long as they manage their time effectively. Judith Donath, fellow at Harvard University’s internet and society centre, says she’s been taking online photography classes during the pandemic, a situation that’s perfect for Zoom. You’re not staring unblinkingly at each other in a sea of talking heads, because there’s no need to.

Employees in the hybrid world are 1.12 times more likely to feel they are working too hard at their jobs than employees in the on-site world. High levels of virtualization are cognitively draining to the employee, with 75% of HR leaders agreeing that an increase in the number of virtual touchpoints employees face in their work puts them at risk for burnout. Part of this battle is about accepting the fact that working from home is a different experience from working in the office, setting realistic expectations, and programming good habits. Work from home fatigue may feel permanent and insurmountable in the moment, however the feeling often passes.

Effective Strategies for Managing Remote Work Fatigue

After all, though the process is usually slower than Zoom take-up in the pandemic, we’re used to adopting new technologies and finding the best ways to use them. A collection of resources, all around a certain remote work topic, sent every other week. To learn more about optimizing remote work strategies, explore the other articles on NoHQ. For example – you spend a long morning working on implementing robotic process automation (RPA), so now you need to get up and get a cup of coffee. Of course, this depends on the size of your house, your furniture, and your general living arrangements.

  • I actually have a note permanently on my laptop with the reminder, “Pick up the phone and call!
  • Reducing meetings to less than an hour allows attendees to have quick breaks in between meetings.
  • Burnout happens when we’re tasked to do things we don’t normally do or when we face challenges that test our capacities.

Don’t jam your calendar with bookings – We understand meetings are essential. Keep a few minutes of gap in between calls for a breather, like getting yourself a cup of coffee or a glass of water so you look at something other than your screen and give your eyes some rest. Also, plan your day to keep one half of the day for meetings and the next to focus on work. While it may not always be possible, making it a practice will help you plan your day more efficiently and prevent burnout.

Carve Out a New Work Routine

Remember that detail about remote workers being more productive than their office counterparts? Remote workers don’t get a chance to spend time chatting with their co-workers at the watercooler, or grab a sandwich at the local café. They don’t go out to lunch with their colleagues, either, and they don’t head out for a beer or glass of wine after work. A year into the pandemic, research is starting to confirm what we feel instinctively – that video conferencing saps our mental resources. It’s even worse in one-on-one meetings, when your colleague’s face appears so large on the screen, it’s as if they are standing less than two feet away. Communication is key, and cultivating a strong team bond is important.

Probably the main factor in remote working fatigue is the general sense that work is everywhere and anywhere. Some people absolutely love remote working for its many benefits, but there are others for whom it is remote working fatigue just another difficulty to be dealt with. Understand that many of your employees may be naturally extroverted, or may really enjoy working with one of their partners, or might just really like the office space.

Lack of Work-Life Balance

The widespread shift to remote work brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic is here to stay for a while longer, and may even persist after the crisis is finally over. Leaders must understand which of their employees may be particularly at risk of pandemic-related burnout and take steps to protect them from it. Three concrete steps can do this during and after the pandemic and benefit the entire organization. Finally, make sure remote workers actually take some recovery time. Ultimately, working remotely is not about finding work-life balance but finding harmony. There will be days when work consumes more hours than your personal life does, but make these the exception.

There are less time-consuming ways to communicate ideas and work on projects than structured meetings. It leads to higher rates of employee burnout and lower rates of productivity. Have a clear agenda – Make sure you have a clear plan before you ask someone to get on a call with you and stick to it. This way, the meetings would end on time and not extend unnecessarily, making you feel more productive. Ensure the meeting agenda is shared with everyone beforehand so they can come prepared.

Now, people are worried about what might happen when restrictions lift and people without disabilities feel comfortable going out in person again. Many questions remain about the psychological impacts of teleworking and connecting with others through video conferences. So far, there is little data-backed research about how people with disabilities have been impacted by the broad uptake of teleworking, for example. First, they created a tool to measure fatigue, which they named the Zoom Exhaustion and Fatigue Scale, or ZEF. Then they created a public survey and gathered over 10,000 responses that measured peoples’ fatigue on the ZEF scale, alongside statistics about how long each person spends on Zoom and demographic information.

remote work fatigue

For employees, it offers the freedom to skip the daily commute, embrace flexible schedules, and create a comfortable work environment. Employers, in turn, can tap into a broader talent pool, reduce overhead costs, and witness potential boosts in employee productivity and satisfaction. But as we dive deeper, we’ll discover the hurdles this paradigm shift brings. Of course, the passage of time will also play a role in the ebbing of Zoom fatigue. “It’s about variety – I call it a ‘mix-and-match’ approach,” says Fayard.

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