02. December 2021
Here we go again: The fourth Corona wave sends countless employees into the home working once more. Most have already gained home working experience through the pandemic and have noticed: Home working does not mean less stress, but often more! The risk of burnout due to working from home is high, because the work life changes a lot by moving to home working. This article shows which difficulties the home working can bring with it on a psychological level and how you can protect yourself from burnout due to home working
On the one hand, retreating to the home working is a privilege: in the home working, employees are much better protected from the Corona virus, as they save on commuting and reduce contacts. Thus, the home working has established itself as an important component in the fight against the pandemic. On the other hand, working from home has drastically changed working life. There are positive changes, such as more time, more flexibility or better digitalization, but also negative changes, such as permanent availability, lack of agreements or overtime, which promote burnout.
Home working can disrupt routines
It turns out that work and leisure time merge strongly in the home working. When working at home, it is not uncommon to leave the laptop on after work and check one or two e-mails. In addition, many employees when working from home find it more difficult to coordinate work and break times. There are no colleagues and no cafeteria times to guide them, forcing them to take breaks. As a result, home office workers are more likely to exceed their limits and burnout can develop.
Lack of spatial separation of work and free time
The home office turns the home from a place of relaxation into a place of work. There may not even be a separate study. Work then takes place in places that are actually intended for family life or relaxation, namely the kitchen, living room and bedroom. This makes it increasingly difficult to separate work from leisure and to switch off. The stress level rises and so does the risk of burnout due to home working.
Home working makes communication with colleagues more difficult
The physical separation eliminates informal communication channels in companies: no more small talk in the hallway, no more joint coffee breaks, no more conversations between literally “door to door.” The forwarding of information can thus be massively disrupted, which can trigger stress. Appreciation and praise are also less likely to reach the other person via digital channels. In addition to too much work, some employees in the home office feel unseen and unsupported, and dissatisfaction with the job situation increases. Motivating experiences of success are lost and the fun of the job is gradually lost.
Home working exacerbates loneliness
For most people, work is not only a means of earning a living, but also a place of social interaction. In the home office, this is made more difficult, and many contacts outside of work also fall away due to the Corona pandemic. The resulting loneliness can have dramatic consequences: The stress that arises at work is no longer relieved by activities with other people. Many employees withdraw, neglect hobbies and, after a while, devote themselves exclusively to their work, which keeps the vicious circle of overwork going.
What does burnout manifest itself with? Burnout is a work-related stress reaction that can manifest itself in many different ways. Some burnout sufferers feel listless and lack energy, so that they can hardly sit down to work. Others, on the other hand, seem rushed and are only concerned with work in their heads. They rush into one task after the next and do not allow themselves any breaks. After some time, the psyche can no longer cope with this constant strain. Burnout is often accompanied by a loss of all joy, even in activities that used to be fun. In addition, psychosomatic complaints often appear, such as back pain or headaches, sleep disorders or gastrointestinal complaints.
To ensure that working in a home office does not lead to burnout, employees as well as employers can observe a few points
If employees notice that burnout is threatening or has already occurred, it is advisable to seek professional support. There is a way out of the burnout spiral – the Limes Schlosskliniken are happy to provide support here!