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Hybrid work - bypass burnout

The post-pandemic work cycle has not let up.  We are working longer hours and experiencing zoom fatigue from back-to-back virtual calls. The added pressure of the economic windfalls and shortfalls of today’s business climate is another layer on top of an already unsteady foundation of the wellness impacts of this pandemic. Is it stress or something more serious? 

Ask yourself these five questions:

  1. Does it feel like a burden to do your job?
  2. Do you feel emotionally detached from your job?
  3. Are you feeling incompetent and drained?
  4. Are you unmotivated to do a good job?
  5. Do you feel rundown and tired?

If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you might be experiencing burnout. And you are not alone. One survey found that 49% of their respondents felt at least somewhat burned out. Burnout was happening before the pandemic. In fact, it was becoming so common that the World Health Organization classified burnout as an “occupational phenomenon” in 2019. Burnout results from several factors. An overwhelming workload,  lack of support from business leaders, discriminatory treatment, or a lack of communication regarding obligations and roles of the job all contribute to burnout. In addition, as employers move to post-pandemic hybrid work environments, it is producing increased anxiety in people that fuels increased instances of burnout. 

“I’m just stressed out.” 

Not necessarily. Burn-out is more than just being stressed out, but they do have their similarities. Stress presents itself as an overexertion of effort. Emotions and emotional reactions are more intense. You are feeling hyperactive and anxious. Stress steals your energy. Most importantly, stress takes a physical toll on your body with muscle aches, headaches, insomnia, depression, and more. Stress contributing to burnout comes mainly from your work, but pressure from your lifestyle can also add to it. As well as, personality and thought patterns, such as perfectionism and pessimism, heap on more. 

Burnout is a syndrome that results from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. Three main areas define burnout:  exhaustion, cynicism, and feelings of reduced professional ability. Feeling worthless at your job or completely unmotivated to even start your work are classic indications of burnout. Previously easy tasks may seem tedious, useless, or overwhelming. Work is increasingly stressful and frustrating. 

Burnout is not a new phenomenon either, but the post-pandemic virtual world has only heightened its likelihood. It has detached us physically from our jobs, separating us not just from our office space but from the emotional connections of coworkers. Hybrid work has torn down the walls of a 9-5 workday. It is more challenging than ever to step away from work when it is available to you 24/7. We are working in homes not designed for offices or classrooms. Working hours have stretched to anytime you can log on and make it feel almost impossible to log off. Hybrid work has also cut off the relational aspect and immediate support encouraged by an in-person workplace. Anxiety often arises when employees try to wrap their heads around the future of work in a hybrid world. To some, it feels like an endless road of sitting behind a screen for countless hours, with no real direction. 

Instead of letting post-pandemic hybrid work burn you out, pave a new direction. Focusing on connection, kindness, and mindfulness can help you navigate the beginnings of burnout. Engage with others when and where you can. Do not be shy to tell someone how you are feeling in regards to your job. Take a breath and give yourself some credit. Know it’s okay to “let go.” The pandemic stretched us thin, so let’s not let a hybrid world stretch us thinner.

4 Ways to Bypass Burnout

  1. Talk to your managers or supervisors about how you are feeling regarding the job. Your company leaders are the lifeline of the business. If their employees are not functioning at their best, then the business won’t either. 
  2. Ask Yourself if you are a part of a work culture that encourages growth or change. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about new opportunities if stagnation has grown thick in your work environment.
  3. Take care of yourself. Eat well, exercise frequently, and get good sleep. Relax. Keep your body happy, and the mind will follow. Try these loving-kindness meditation tips to check in on yourself. 
  4. Set boundaries. Creating structure can alleviate the pressure and rebuild boundaries between work and home. 

Business leaders have the strain of both experiencing burnout and learning to manage a team that may be feeling burned out. Next week, we will dive into ways that leaders can respond to employees experiencing anxiety and burnout from post-pandemic hybrid work. For now, check out this article I wrote on Leading through Challenging Times

 

MORE RESOURCES ON ITEMS MENTIONED IN THIS ARTICLE:

  1. HYBRID WORK ANXIETY: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/five-fifty-the-great-exhaustion?cid=fivefifty-eml-alt-mkq-mck&hlkid=e342eac40568473287f888d8d5e0dcad&hctky=11879462&hdpid=fa3c17ae-6463-4e46-b367-82fc5363fa41#
  2. BURNOUT: https://www.raconteur.net/healthcare/mental-health/job-burnout-guide/
  3. LOVING-KINDNESS: https://meaningfulalignment.com/try-this-loving-kindness-meditation-to-support-compassion-and-wellbeing/
  4. LEADING: https://meaningfulalignment.com/leading-through-challenging-times/
  5. LET GO: https://meaningfulalignment.com/let-go-of-your-inner-control-freak/ 
  6. PERFECTIONISM: https://steinbrecherinc.medium.com/perfectionists-here-are-5-tips-to-help-you-be-a-better-communicator-5d1d6fe2aa51
  7. PESSIMISM: https://meaningfulalignment.com/if-you-want-to-live-a-positive-life-learn-to-let-go/ 
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