A NOTE FROM OUR COO: Beware the Remote Work Burnout Threat

02 December 2020

While the nation and the world decide how, when, and exactly where to resume daily business operations, a majority of Americans will continue to work remotely for the foreseeable future. At PDMI, this is certainly the current case.

While hard work isn’t foreign to most of us, this unprecedented scenario of nearly everyone Working From Home (WFH) across the nation has offered tremendous flexibility and other benefits while also posing many unique challenges.

One of them is a propensity for burnout, which is defined the Mayo Clinic as "a state of physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion, combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work."

The key is to evict burnout before it sets up permanent residence in your life. For instance, balancing work with childcare is an enormous task. Not only is it tough to draw the line between focusing at your makeshift basement/kitchen/bedroom office while your toddler (who might otherwise be at daycare) zips in and out of the room, it’s also clear that the “Mom-and-Dad-as-Teacher” conundrum is a very real struggle.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) estimates that roughly 57 million children in America are school aged (Pre-K to Grade 12). Of that number, just under two million are typically homeschooled.

Today, almost all of them are receiving instruction at home, with nearly all schools everywhere closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Striking the right chord may be easier with a carefully mapped out daily work/school schedule that allots time realistically – and builds in some wiggle room for both unexpected bumps in the road both professionally and personally. Maybe a report deadline or meeting gets pushed up – or you can’t figure out common core math. It happens. Take a deep breath and handle priorities in order of importance.

None of us are superheroes; give yourself permission to adjust time in such a way that your quality of life, health/well-being, workload and family care are managed sufficiently. This includes taking breaks when you need to, from both work AND familial commitments, within reason and practicality, of course. Set time aside for breaks that help you clear your mind, retain your patience, and nourish yourself and your loved ones in body and spirit.

Stand up, stretch, meditate, take deep cleansing breaths – and have the little ones join you; you may just have a great time! Serenity and harmony do wonders for concentration, focus, productivity, and overall health and happiness. Don’t underestimate the power of laughter, either. Maybe schedule a family joke, song, or dance break at 11:15AM each day? Coming together to share a moment of lightness and joy amid a hectic schedule can do wonders for your mood … and your blood pressure.

Avoid the temptation to try multi-tasking to the point of breaking; that’s not going to help you, your family, or your colleagues.

Remember: we’re all in this together. And there are several resources for strengthening your resolve available online, locally, and regionally.

Please stay well,

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