Working arrangements also affect peoples’ experiences of burnout and could be a contributing or mitigating factor to burnout, depending on the individual. 30% of those working from a fixed location (i.e., based at the same office/working location) cited this as a contributing factor, compared with 34% of field-based workers, 16% of home workers and just 17% of hybrid or agile workers. Meanwhile, 30% of workers said that being mandated back to working in an office or fixed location said this had caused them stress which may have contributed to burnout.
Here are some recommendations for how to avoid burnout due to your working arrangements:
- Structure your day: If you work from home, you can think of your workday in the same way as if you were going to the office. Try to have a dedicated workspace, ideally a quiet place away from others and distractions. Try to get up in plenty of time to get ready for work. Make sure you have everything you need there for your working day. Plan your start, break, lunch, and end times. Sticking to an end time can be as important as a start time. We all need to recharge our batteries.
- Make sure to have a break: No matter your working arrangements, breaks are important to refresh yourself and they can help you be more productive. Taking a five-minute break away from your screen each hour can improve your wellbeing and improve your concentration. Don’t feel that you have to be at your screen all the time to prove you’re working. You can use some of these breaks to incorporate mindfulness techniques into your daily routine, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises.
- Set boundaries: Clearly define work hours and avoid regularly working beyond them. Turn off work phones and put devices out of sight outside of working hours. When faced with excessive workload or unrealistic deadlines, ascertain if there is flexibility around delivery times and what further support would be helpful to alleviate pressure and stress. When working from home, if you live with others, it might be difficult to separate home and work life. It’s important to set boundaries about when and where you do and don’t work. You can have a discussion and agree on things together. You could write down your work schedule for the week and put it up in a place where all household members can see it. It is important to have clear home and work time.
- Stay in contact: Working from home doesn’t mean you should silently concentrate on your work all day. You can still talk to colleagues by audio or video call. It’s good for everyone’s wellbeing and it is good to check in with others. Book in regular contact with your manager and other colleagues.
- Manage your time: Time management in your job can influence your wellbeing and mental health. If you manage your time well, you can feel relaxed and in control and achieve the goals you want. But if you manage it poorly you can get stressed and be less productive. When you have a lot of things to do at work, it can be hard to decide what to do and when to do it.
Decide what you want to achieve:
- Assess each task
- Make a plan
- Be flexible
- Think about the four Ds when managing your workload: Ditch (does this task need to be done?), defer (could it be done at a later date?), delegate (could someone else complete it?), and do.