How to combat work-from-home fatigue

Whether you’ve worked from home for months or years, fatigue is normal (and inevitable!). These tips will help you re-energise and refocus …

Working from home has its benefits, but eventually repeating the same routine, in the same environment, takes its toll – especially when we’re juggling home responsibilities, childcare, health and a global pandemic as well!

So how do you know if you’re at risk?

The most obvious signs of work-from-home fatigue are reductions in motivation, concentration and productivity. Others are increased anxiety, irritable moods and poor sleep. You may also notice that you’re making more mistakes than usual, are struggling to be decisive and feel increasingly isolated or “caged in” at home…

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to rectify the situation. These three are key…

Create a clear work schedule

It’s easy to put in longer hours when working from home, but if there’s no balance, stress levels soar, and exhaustion escalates. The solution: set strict work hours and stick to them as much as possible. Use an alarm clock, if necessary, to keep you on track and schedule regular screen breaks to eat, drink, get fresh air, move your body and reconnect with your family.

 Establish a non-work routine

Routine is essential when feeling out of rhythm, so in addition to scheduling work tasks, make sure you have a plan for the rest of your (non-work) day too. Set aside dedicated time for household chores and children (flexibility is obviously essential here) and make sure you prioritize time for meals and exercise. Stay hydrated (water benefits mental acuity and mood); go to bed at a decent hour and aim for 6 to 8 hours of sleep. Avoid scrolling on your phone or binge-watching Netflix – both sound relaxing in principle, but zap energy levels in practice.    

 Revamp your WFH office space

Our environment has a profound impact on our productivity, so if your current workspace looks as fatigued as you feel, give it a revamp. Clear the clutter and organize your desk so that it supports efficiency. If possible, position yourself near a window – natural light is known to improve productivity and mood. Good air flow is important too, as are visible plants or flowers. Make sure you have an ergonomic chair; laptop stand and other tools (like noise-cancelling headphones) to help. Finally, reserve your work space for office tasks only.

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