Identifying and Embracing the New Normal of Work From Home

Written by Susie Guthro

27th Oct 2020

The new normal of working through a pandemic is upon us. If looking through the lens of COVID grief, this would be the point where we realize we are experiencing acceptance of the situation. While we could still find ourselves fluidly shifting between the other phases of grief (anger, denial, bargaining, and despair) and some days feeling them all, it’s time to recognize that certain aspects of working from home need to be accepted and this will look different for everyone. Gone are the days of feeling like it’s a Band-Aid to stem the bleeding of a situation out of your control. It’s time to step up, own it, and find your ‘new normal’ success.

            Panic working might have been a good solution to get through the initial lockdown of COVID. It may have helped you by providing some structure to your Ground-Hog-Days of quarantine. But panic working is never sustainable. At some point, you may find yourself on the blurry edge of answering emails after your evening quarantini, which is never a good idea. Moreover, it’s the express train to burnout. With working from home settling in as the new norm for many American workers, work from home burnout has not only become a thing, but it also has grown exponentially in a short amount of time. A recent survey found that work from home burnout was reported by 69% of respondents in July 2020 as opposed to 52% in May 2020. 

            Before COVID was a daily household word in the US, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified burnout as a developed syndrome as a result of unmanaged workplace stress. High-performing personalities working from home may find it hard to decouple their home-life and work-from-home-life leading to a higher risk of burnout, as suggested by a Harvard Business Review article. You’ll know you have burnout if you feel a loss of energy and exhaustion, procrastination or an increase of mental distance between you and work projects, and a reduction of professional competence. While panic working from home could feel like the right thing to do when you don’t know what else to do, it’s important to remember that most workers are only productive for 3 hours out of an 8.5 hour day. The more you panic-work your way down burnout street, your quality of work could quickly suffer. Not to mention your mood and well-being. 

            So how will you accept your new normal working from home? Will you find ways to carve out specific productive work time so that you can continue towards greater career success? Or will you still allow for the temptation of answering an email while folding laundry? Workspace can help. With private office and coworking solutions by the day, by the week, or by the month honoring the boundary of work-from-home-life and home-life has never been easier.