Michigan Association of Health Plans

Is working from home wearing you out? Do this to avoid burnout.


Many of us aren’t just working from home, we’re panic working. Juggling the demands of work and childcare — amid the stress of living through a pandemic, record unemployment and job insecurity— is weighing on us.

According to a recent Monster.com survey, 51% of workers said they’ve experienced burnout related to working from home due to COVID-19, and 52% said they have no plans to take time off to decompress.

But when everything is stressful, how do you know if you’re even experiencing burnout?

The Mayo Clinic describes job burnout as “a special type of work-related stress — a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.”

The World Health Organization (WHO), which recognized burnout as an “occupational phenomenon” last year, points to these signs and symptoms:

  • Lack of energy or exhaustion;
  • increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and
  • reduced professional efficacy.

Dr. Lisa Orbé-Austin, a psychologist and executive coach in New York City, said living through a pandemic has given burnout a new lens. Many of her clients are “struggling in this moment — wanting to be valued at work and seen as contributing, but also struggling with how to do it.”

Gone is the daily commute — and that built-in time to think about the day ahead or decompress on the way home. Now, it’s a matter of going from the bed to the couch and back again. “People are dreaming about work and feel like they’re never letting it go,” Orbé-Austin explained. “It’s a continuous exposure to work.”

Randy Simon, an expert on work-life balance and a psychologist in private practice in Montclair, New Jersey, previously told TODAY that a lot of setting yourself up for work-from-home success comes down to boundaries. “I tell clients who work from home that they really need to compartmentalize,” Simon said. “For example, make sure there is a separate place in your home for work, so that your whole home isn’t synonymous with work.”

This article was originally featured on Today, read more here.