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Why working from home can be so tiring and how to overcome it

Work From Home
Posted at 4:12 PM, Nov 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-01 18:41:13-04

For many of us, our homes are now our offices and that can be tough: juggling kids, meals, and work.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a record number of Americans quit their jobs in August: 4.3 million, and some of that was from burnout.

“People do not separate work and home anymore, now it’s work and home together and so they’re actually working longer hours and they’re not taking breaks,” said Gary Rademacher, a chiropractor and ergonomist. “We were meant to move so if we’re stuck in a position that’s not a very good one, we’ll have more fatigue. You have burnout [and] job satisfaction issues.”

We wanted to look at some of the underlying causes of burnout and what you can do to fix them.

You aren’t moving. Inertia is a real thing. An object in motion likes to stay in motion and one at rest prefers to stay at rest. Even by commuting to work we are getting out of the house and going someplace. We are switching up our environment. It requires intention, planning, and motion: things that have been taken away, in large part, by working from home.

How to overcome it: plan regular breaks, even for 5 or 10 minutes, throughout your day to take a walk around the block or do something that allows you to experience an environment other than your home.

“Maybe you can go into the office one or two days a week. Getting back into a routine is very beneficial for our mind health, but also getting our body moving and getting out of the environment is really important," said Rademacher. "You want to have rules. You know, this is my work time, this is when I’m off. From an intentionality standpoint, production is the basis of morale. When you’re getting things done you feel better.”

You aren’t being social. We are wired for connections and many times working from home deprives us of that variety. Many times, we are around the same people all day. Maybe it is family, or a roommate, or no one at all. Studies show the neurotransmitters released in our brains when we have face-to-face contact help us combat stress and anxiety. A study published in Medical News Today shows that cancer patients who had chemotherapy fared better when they had access to social support and interactions.

How to overcome it: Try working from a public spot, if you are able to. Possibly a café or library. Even if we are not interacting with others, being in a public setting where people are interacting can offer similar benefits.

You are getting distracted. Contrary to popular belief, multitasking is not more productive than focusing on one task at a time. When working from home, perhaps there is that load of laundry that needs to get done, or there is dinner that needs to be made. When we multi-task we are quickly dividing our attention to something else before coming back to our original task rather than simultaneously juggling several things.

How to overcome it: Focus on one thing at a time and hammer down on one task, and complete it, before moving on to something else. Try to limit distractions as well. If you work from a space where you are reminded of that laundry try switching it up and move someplace that allows you to focus solely on your work.

“If you were to actually have your to-do list and list things out as highest priority, take the top 3 or 4 that are highest priority; you start with those things and bust those out and you’re going to feel better,” Rademacher said.