Avoiding Work From Home Fatigue




Woman asleep in front of computer in home office. Image credit: Andrea Piacquadio

One of the biggest changes that came with the pandemic was the shift to working from home. Many people started out excited by the prospect of not having a commute or spending their days running from meeting to meeting. They thought working from home would make everything easier, but then they found the actual experience to be quite the opposite. There are actually some good reasons why and some good strategies for dealing with them.

You Miss People

One unsung benefit of being in the workplace is the sense of community it fosters. Those short hallway conversations or social interactions at the vending machine provide a much-needed opportunity to stay connected and maintain relationships. They are also energizing. You can think of them is a micro-vacation from your work. And not having them in your day actually causes you to be more tired. The solution…make time to connect in new ways. A quick text, IM, slack, or just devoting a bit of a Zoom call to talk about your favorite TV show can make a big difference.

You’re Distracted

Kids, spouses, laundry piles, and dirty dishes are all distractions you never had in the workplace. Squeezing them into the workday because you can’t ignore them – or having just a bit more stress because you are ignoring them – can both make you more tired. The solution…create a “work only” zone. Whether it’s a dedicated home office or a desk in a corner, create a place that’s only used for work to help keep your mind in work-mode.

Too Much Information

You’re getting emails from IT about your work from home technology, a long list of security protocols, frequent updates from leadership, and countless emails taking the place of those quick face-to-face conversations that were easily had in the workplace. Add to that, a never-ending stream of news about the pandemic, political demonstrations, and an election year. It’s easy to get exhausted by it all. The solution…filter and prioritize. Consider the subject or sender, create email folders for “read later” items, and stop yourself from responding to everything in the moment.

You’re Not Moving

Your apartment or townhouse is probably a lot smaller than your workplace, and you’re likely taking far fewer steps and sitting more throughout your day. While you might think moving less means you’d be less tired, it’s actually the opposite. The solution…get up. Stand up for Zoom calls. Take micro breaks to stretch or do a few yoga moves. Make time over lunch for a quick walk outside. They’ll all invigorate and energize you.