Flexible working options are touted as being helpful in improving work-life balance, but even remote workers can suffer from burnout. Therefore, one of the most pressing challenges of managing remote employees is keeping your team driven and productive without pushing them too far.

What causes burnout in remote employees?
Burnout is often dismissed as mere exhaustion, but it’s much more complicated than that. Exhaustion is a mostly physical condition, but burnout affects one’s physiological, psychological, and emotional states. In fact, common symptoms of burnout include a lack of motivation and an inability to concentrate on one’s tasks.

Burnout in remote workers can occur because of several reasons:

Long hours
Many remote workers use portable devices to perform their tasks. This makes it easier for them to stay connected to their colleagues throughout the day, even as they engage in personal activities like having a meal or running errands. Unfortunately, this also means they usually end up working longer than they should. With more hours spent on their job, they are left with less time to rest or pursue hobbies and other uplifting activities.

Lack of boundaries
Burnout is a cycle. Stress at work leaves you feeling tired. The less energy you have, the less motivated you are to work. Having to pull yourself every day to finish your tasks stresses you out even more, leaving you more exhausted and unmotivated — it goes on and on. Working from home blurs the boundaries that separate your job from your other activities, making workplace stress more likely to bleed into your personal life.

Working remotely isolates you from your colleagues, leaving you vulnerable to the negative effects of loneliness. You begin to feel like you don’t belong to your team and, eventually, the company. Loneliness should never be ignored because it has very real consequences, not just on people’s psychology, but also their health. In fact, research has found that loneliness shortens life expectancy in more people than obesity and drinking alcohol do.

How can you address burnout in remote employees you’re managing?
As a manager, you play an important role in keeping your remote team motivated. Here are tips you can look into:

Promote camaraderie and teamwork
Make it easy for both on-site and off-site staff to communicate with one another, especially as they collaborate on projects. Allow them to engage in fun, non-work-related activities together. For instance, give them a channel where they can talk about topics besides work. You can also organize group activities where everyone can just enjoy themselves. These may include a virtual happy hour or a quiz game over Zoom.

Additionally, make it a point to check on your team members regularly through a phone call or a virtual meeting. Ask them how they’re doing and offer assistance when possible. These measures will remind your remote employees that they are part of a supportive team and will help beat the negative impacts of being isolated from everyone else.

Help your team focus on their tasks
Most remote workers have to contend with both their professional and personal responsibilities at the same time. They have to read emails, feed their cat, write a report, prepare a meal — the list goes on. Going from one activity to another may lead to them losing track of their tasks. In the end, they may end up being unproductive or taking on more work than they should.

You can prevent this by asking your staff to plan their tasks before they begin their day. Throughout their shift, they can focus on doing these tasks and stop once everything has been completed. This gives them better control over their day and creates clear boundaries between their professional hours and me-time.

Find the best tools for your team
You can turn to technology for help in keeping your remote team productive and less vulnerable to burnout. Communication tools like Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams help them work efficiently with their far-off colleagues. Collaboration apps like Asana, Basecamp, and Trello, on the other hand, help them effectively manage their projects and time, making them less likely to overwork themselves.

Equipping your team with the best tools also helps your company. It ensures that your remote staff produces high-quality outputs that effectively contribute to your bottom line and that they do so efficiently.

If you are having difficulty deciding on which tools to provide your team, you can turn to Tech Squared for help. Our experts can help you identify and implement IT solutions that maximize your remote team’s performance and contribute to their well-being.

Get a better idea of what IT tools your business needs by downloading this free eBook today.
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