How to avoid digital burnout when running a business remotely
More than half of office workers in the UK say they’ve experienced burnout in the last 12 months digital burnout included.
Burnout in business has definitely become a bigger problem for both employees and business owners since the start of 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Long-term uncertainty about job security and the economy, uncertainty around lockdowns and when we’ll get back to normal, and adjusting to different, more remote ways of working have all taken a toll. One of the biggest causes of burnout amongst business owners and employees is being unable to switch off or ‘disconnect’ from work at the end of the day. This isn’t a new issue by any means. But it’s definitely intensified.
With more people working remotely and from home, those traditional barriers have disappeared and many people are now really struggling to find a natural break between home and work after spending large parts of the day working from the kitchen table.
Employees and owners have their business phones at home, and it can be too tempting to quickly scroll through emails during an ad break or before you go to bed – especially when you’re busy. But burnout is a serious health issue that can have long-lasting implications on our mental health.mSo we need to find a better way of rebuilding some kind of barrier between home and work. Here’s a couple of simple things you can do when it comes to managing your business mobile phone at home.
1. Switch your business phone off at the end of the day
One of the biggest benefits of having a dedicated business phone that’s separate from your personal phone is that you don’t have to deal with business-related calls on your own phone. Especially when it comes to out-of-hours enquiries. We just need to promote better management of these calls that come to our work phones when we’ve gone home or clocked off.
Something as simple as encouraging employees to turn their phone off at the end of the day and leave it in a cupboard or drawer until the next day can help. There may be the odd occasion when we need to deal with emergency calls out-of-hours, but this should be the exception and not the rule.
2. Establish boundaries between work and home
This is easier said than done, especially if you’re working from home. But it’s still important you have a boundary between your home life and work life. Set your business hours and stick to them.
When the workday ends, shut everything down and walk away. If you can, set up your laptop and work phone in a different room that you can use as an office during the day. If you can’t then put your business devices away at the end of the day when you’ve finished.
3. Don’t get stuck at your desk all-day
This has been a tough one to deal with in 2020 with more of us working from home but with few things open outside. With things starting to reopen again, take time to get up and move around to avoid sitting at your desk all day. If you have a business phone, consider getting a hands-free set and taking calls while you walk around. Even just walking around the room will keep you active.
4. Plan your day better
Failing to plan for the day can lead to you feeling overwhelmed as you wade through tasks and more work comes in during the day. Obviously, you need to be flexible with what you do in a day, but put a plan in place at the start of the week for tasks you need to finish. Having something down on paper at the start of the day can help add some structure to your day and stop you from feeling buried and burned out by too much work.
You can install business applications to your mobile phones for your employees to use to plan their day.
5. Download wellbeing apps to your business phones
Helping employees deal with stress and avoid burnout should be a key part of a business’ HR strategy.
Consider downloading wellbeing apps to your employees’ phones to help them measure screen time and deal with their day better.
Having a company recommended wellbeing app is also safer for your business phones and data security because you have more control over the specific app that gets downloaded onto the phones, rather than letting employees download all different apps.
6. Stay connected
Feeling lonely and isolated is a key symptom of remote working, but it can be easily resolved by holding regular calls and video conferences with staff.
Just be sure to set clear goals and boundaries around calls to avoid these becoming a cause of digital burnout in their own right.
Most video conferencing apps can now be downloaded directly to mobile devices so even if you have remote employees, they can still have access to video tools like Zoom to connect with their colleagues from anywhere.
Failing to use these conferencing tools, simply put in the time to make phone calls to staff for regular catch-ups.
7. Download productivity apps to your business phones
Helping employees with time and resource management is a simple way of helping them avoid burnout when working remotely.
By helping them get a handle on their day and help them prioritise what they need to do you can help stop them from feeling overwhelmed.
Whether it’s ditching the tech after work and establishing boundaries, to making better use of your business mobile phones and other tech to create a more collaborative, productive and happy workforce.
Setting boundaries is key to avoiding digital burnout
When you’re working from home and connected to work 24/7 with a business phone or other mobile device, it can become too easy to work overtime and struggle to feel disconnected from the office.
This is the environment when burnout becomes a real danger. Mobile devices like business smartphones aren’t going to go away. If anything they’re going to become more common as businesses transform their work practices to become a hybrid of home and office-based work. What that means is that we need to re-examine our relationship between our home life and the technology we use to be able to work from anywhere. Until we get this right, the risk of burnout is always going to be hovering in the background.