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Overcoming Remote Work Fatigue

By Kevin Eikenberry

You've been working remotely for a while. At the start, it went pretty well - you had a common challenge with your team, and you met it. But now, you are finding that remote work fatigue is real. You know that work can be stressful at times, but this remote work fatigue you are feeling now is different.

Let's examine some specific steps you can take to reduce that stress and fatigue. Taking these steps will immediately help you combat, overcome or even avoid remote work fatigue.

Acknowledge the fatigue.

Trying to power through, ignore or deny you are experiencing remote work fatigue isn't a solution. Ignoring something doesn't make it go away, and in this case only makes it worse. Rather than trying to bulldoze past it, acknowledge that you are fatigued, and do some of the other things below.

Acknowledging that working remotely can be hard doesn't make you weak, and doesn't mean you can't succeed, it just means you might need to adjust.

Build effective routines.

While working in the office, you might not have had the best routines; you did have some. And make no mistake, routines reduce our stress because with them, some tasks/activities happen automatically. I recently wrote a full article about why routines are so important (read it here). Now that you know you will be working remotely longer than a few weeks, make the time to consider your routines more carefully.

Keep a big picture perspective.

The longer you work from home, largely alone, the more likely your viewpoint closes in around your personal work and task list. Make sure you continue to see how your work fits into a picture bigger than what you see each morning at the start of work. Meaning and purpose are great fatigue reducers, so time spent understanding how what you do helps others on the team, and ultimately your customers, is time well spent.

Stop working.

Contrary to the worries of some, most people who work from home spend more hours working than they did before. One of the reasons you are fatigued is you are working too much. If you look at your work and aren't getting ahead of it, maybe you need to work on being more productive, but when the computer is right in front of you, it is easy to turn it back on after dinner. You will reduce your remote work fatigue if you will set your working hours at a reasonable level (there's a routine for you!), and then stop working.

Find ways to refresh.

Different people refresh in different ways. My goal isn't to tell you how to refresh, but to urge you to do it. Look for ways to refresh within your workday, at the end of your workday, and on the weekends too. Fatigue is reduced when we are physically, mentally and emotionally fresh. Do what you can do say fresh - and recognize that time spent doing that will actually help you work more effectively.

Turn off your camera view.

Zoom fatigue is a phenomenon that few people had experienced until the last few weeks. Many find they get fatigued simply by being on camera for large blocks of time. While it is possible you are in too many (or too many unproductive) meetings, for the most part using our webcams is important for communication and connection while working remotely.

If you are experiencing this sort of fatigue, consider changing the settings on your platform so you see others, but don't have to look at yourself on your screen. For many, this will reduce the fatigue that comes from virtual meetings.

Remote work fatigue is real. To take care of yourself and to do great work, you must deal with these new stresses productively. Using the approaches shared here will put you on the path towards less stress and greater results.

About the author:

Kevin Eikenberry is a world renowned leadership expert, a two-time bestselling author, speaker, consultant, trainer, coach, leader, learner, husband and father (not necessarily in that order). Kevin is the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a leadership and learning consulting company that has been helping organizations, teams and individuals reach their potential since 1993. Kevin's specialties include leadership, teams and teamwork, organizational culture, facilitating change, organizational learning and more.