Imagine being stuck in an office with a workload so heavy it seems there is no end in sight. You're sitting at the same desk you once did two years ago, putting in more hours to cover for the colleagues
that never came back. But can you blame them?
In all honesty, you're at your breaking point as well. Because if you learned anything while working
remotely throughout this pandemic, it's how much you value having a work-life balance. You realized
how much your happiness and wellbeing mean to you, yet now you find yourself feeling more
stressed than ever.
You aren't the only one feeling burned out right now, either. As the 'great resignation' approaches,
with more than one-third of employees planning to leave their job , employers are pressed to find
solutions. The pandemic that prompted a re-evaluation of personal priorities for employees now
demands employers to re-evaluate everything too.
As a nation, we might still be a ways away from a four-day workweek, which is one possible solution
to addressing employee needs for less work and, thereby, less stress. The option to work remotely or
have increased flexibility in general with a decreased workload are other solutions many employers
are exploring to keep people around.
When all the extra hours only yield less productivity, it's a sign that we need to find solutions that work
for everyone, so everyone can continue to work. And in the meantime, employees and employers alike
need to find ways to help reduce and avoid burnout.
Here are a few tips to help with any mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion you're experiencing as
you navigate this tough transition.
Talk to your colleagues.
Talk to a trusted coworker about how you're feeling and ask them what the've been experiencing as
well. Together, come up with practical ways that might help alleviate stress at work.
Ask for help.
Have an honest talk with your supervisor about ways to lighten your workload or what it would take
for you to work remotely again. While a heavy workload is the biggest contributing factor to burnout, it's not the only one. Your employer may be in a more powerful position to make the changes you desire, but they can't read minds to determine what those are. Start communicating your needs, especially if a lack of
communication or clarity about expectations is a big concern.
Rather than attacking your supervisor or placing blame, have a productive conversation about how
you can stay, well, productive. If your health and wellness is a priority, present them with practical
solutions such as more on-site amenities or employee wellness incentives and programs.
Take a break and walk away.
If the burnout you're experiencing makes you feel angry, upset, or irritated, stop what you're doing and take some time to walk around - even if it's just down the hallway to the bathroom.
Ideally, you can get outside for fresh air and recenter yourself. Remember what you learned
throughout this pandemic. Your job is not the only thing you have or that matters, and you don't need to stay stuck.
So, if the day comes when you cannot find solutions where you are now, it's okay to take a break
indefinitely. It's okay to find another employer that can offer you the four-day workweek you've been
dreaming of - and could they blame you for that?