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Dealing with Remote Work Burnout

“It’s been HOW many months since we started this?”

If you haven’t been keeping track, we’ve all been working from home for about six months now. It’s okay if you didn’t notice; the passage of time has been a tad murky lately. We’re probably all well and properly used to working from home by now. In fact, we’ve been at it long enough that it’s begun to present its own unique flavors of burnout and frustration. Fun. But as it would be in normal times, you still need to prioritize the mental well-being of you and, if you’re in a managerial position, your employees.

Some companies feel compelled to have a Zoom meeting every morning in lieu of a text newsletter or evergreen instructions. It makes sense; in the before-time, everyone would see each other face-to-face first thing in the morning, so when you don’t, it feels like there’s a critical piece of the professional day missing. Unfortunately, this has led to a phenomenon known as “Zoom burnout,” in which employees absolutely dread the notion of hooking up the webcam and staring at a screen while someone else talks for thirty minutes. It can be draining to have to put on your eager face every morning even if you’re not actually part of a conversation (which is a topic that could be carried over into normal meetings, but we’ll discuss that another time). If you don’t have anything vital to discuss that can’t be done over text, you don’t need to hold a meeting.

It’s important to remember that everyone has been forced to mesh their work lives with their home lives. For some, this isn’t that big a deal, but for those with families or other external commitments, they can’t help it if they need to get up from the computer to attend to something. The kids are home for the summer (and could be for much longer), so if someone needs to leave their desk for a little while, don’t hold that against them. It’s bad enough when a job keeps someone from their family; it’s outright torturous for a job to do that when their family is less than a hundred feet away.

This whole situation has forced all of us to reevaluate a lot of long-held professional paradigms. It’s an annoying process, but when we’re in a strange situation, we need to be able to make concessions. Besides, if you don’t have meetings every morning, you don’t have to change out of your jammies!

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