Pace Yourself | How to Avoid Burnout When Working from Home

For the past two years since Knack launched, we’ve been a remote company.  Every week, Knack team members message each other on Slack and join Google Hangouts from across the world.

Working remotely takes a different skill set than working in an office. It often requires a higher level of intentionality, and issues definitely pop up when a team or company goes remote.

Avoid burning out when starting life as a remote worker

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing highly actionable articles on working remotely.  The Knack team has decades of experience working remotely at a variety of companies (obviously, Knack is our favorite!), and we’re excited to share honest and real tips, covering the following topics:

  • Avoiding Burnout When Working from Home
  • Combatting Low Energy When Working from Home
  • Remote Work Tools: How We Use Slack (and Other Dependable Tools) for Working Remotely
  • Staying Connected with Your Team and Clients without Real Life Meetings
  • How to balance kids being home while working

Let’s get started with our first topic!

Working from home with cat in lap

Avoiding Burnout When Working from Home

Generally, in an office setting, you have a pace to your day.  You know how much you can get done on a regular day, and you also know how to balance chatting with your colleagues and getting projects done.

But, when working remotely – all of that can go out the window!  Those new to working from home often find it difficult to pace themselves, battling burnout and wondering how they’ll make it to Friday.

We’ve been there!  Here are a few of our top ways to avoid burnout when telecommuting:

Struggling to stay motivated when working from home

Tip #1:  Be Fully Present in Meetings

Most IRL (in real life) meetings have a non-spoken “No Tech!” rule.  It’s rude to doodle on your cell phone or have a laptop open during meetings.

However, when working from home, it can be tempting to multi-task during conference calls or meetings.  We have all had Zoom, Google Hangouts or Skype open, put ourselves on mute, and busily worked away in another tab.

Resist the temptation!

Avoid multi-tasking when working from home

Multitasking wears your brain out, and we (humanity) are actually not very good at multitasking

Besides the wear on your brain, multitasking during a meeting can also add stress later in the week.  You’ll get other action items done during the meeting, but then realize later that day or week that you missed some key info you need to do your job well.

Whoops.

If you’re in a meeting, be in the meeting. Put your phone in another room.  Keep the window with the meeting open.  

Be ready to respond and contribute.  You’ll save your energy, and you’ll also have all the info you need to move forward on projects.

BONUS! Verbiage your company can use:  

  • For small Hangouts, we ask that everyone keeps their camera on  
  • We send chats throughout the meeting to engage those who aren't talking

Tip #2:  Systemize Taking Breaks

You’ll see many articles advising you to “take breaks,” when working from home.  But it’s easy to forget to do this. Every Knack Team member has had the experience of sitting down to work, and then realizing 4-5 hours have passed without a break!

Using Focus Keeper app for working from home

To combat this, we recommend systemizing taking breaks.  We shared the Focus Keeper App in this post, which times working periods and breaks.  It can be a little hard to adjust to at first, but this app will help you set a pace to your workday and avoid burning out halfway through the workweek!

You can also set hard “Break times” in your calendar, getting a reminder to go and take a walk or make lunch.

Tip #3:  Go Outside 

One of the most common mistakes that new remote workers make is failing to go outside before noon, especially if you workout at night.  Going outside helps refresh your brain, and, you guessed it, avoid burnout.  

Try drinking your morning coffee on your patio or balcony, or set an appointment mid-day to go for a walk.

Time to walk the dog!

Tip #4:  Delete Work Apps 

When you work from home, it can be hard to separate your home life from your work life – because they take place in the same space.  You no longer switch off “work mode” by leaving the office building.

Here at Knack, we use a variety of strategies to help us mentally end our work day.  Some team members delete all the work apps (Slack, email, etc) from their phone, because they just can’t resist checking in.  This forces them to be more present.  

Delete Slack after your work day

Tip #5:  Choose Deadlines Carefully

When a company switches to a remote environment, hiccups in communication will occur (we’ll share a blog post on that in a few days!).  People used to chatting by the water cooler or over lunch will likely make incorrect assumptions when chatting over Slack. It happens!

To account for this, add a 15% buffer to your deadlines and commitments.  This is about a day buffer for a deadline that’s a week out. You can still keep your original deadline, but make commitments with clients and colleagues that allow for small issues to pop up.  

Planning your calendar to avoid burnout

We’d Love Your Insights!

Join us on social media to share YOUR tips or questions!  We’ll be sharing tips and asking for advice on Facebook. Let’s talk about resources, tips and discuss issues that pop up.

Facebook Lives on remote work from Knack Bags