How to Prevent Your WFH Teams From Overworking

We have all witnessed the rise of the work-from-home WFH model over the past two years. Numerous employees worldwide claim that they would remain working from home until retirement. And this work model’s popularity is understandable, knowing that it gives employees the freedom to distribute their time and workload accordingly, creating a balance between professional and personal life. 

On the other hand, statistics show that not everyone manages to balance out their time while working out of the office. It seems that many remote employees have hard times disconnecting from their work once their day is over. 

Staggering numbers show that 51% of them tended to work 2 or more hours longer daily in 2021. However, only 11% of managers recognized this red flag pointing to burnout. 

And it seems that burnout isn’t the only serious health threat WFH employees can face. 

A joint study from the World Health Organization(WHO), and the International Labour Organization (ILO) conducted in 2021 discovered that employees spending more than 55 hours at work weekly have higher risks of getting ischemic heart disease and stroke than those working regular 40-hour week. 

So what can you do to fight these grim prospects?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for this situation. You can apply numerous different practices like remote work monitoring to help your employees manage time better, stay highly productive and deliver quality outcomes without compromising their wellbeing and work satisfaction. 

Here’ is a shortlist of steps you can take to take a load off your employees immediately, improving their work/life balance.

Set Core Working Hours

While working remotely is all about increased flexibility and autonomy, you need to stick to specific office-like schedules if you want to prevent overworking and burnout among your WFH employees. 

If your employee monitoring data constantly show that a large number of your employees working from home tend to be logged in to their computers long after office hours, make sure to include core working hours in your Work from Home Policy, communicating this decision across all teams. 

The most common practice is to maintain your office 9 to 5 work hours, outlining that no work-related communication is expected beyond this time. More importantly, make room for this information in your onboarding presentations, letting your new workers know that you don’t expect them to work after set hours from day one.

Normalize Taking Breaks

One of the reasons why employees tend to overwork when working from home is that their achievements will remain invisible. This rude misconception may make them work without taking breaks to meet their basic needs like having lunch or stretching out.

 If you want to put a stop to this harmful behavior that can affect their health and productivity alike, you need to show how important breaks are. Start leading by example, including an hour break in your schedule during which you wouldn’t be available for work. 

Encourage your employees to do the same. You can use their track records to see what time during the day their productivity tends to plummet, recommending them to use this time to re-energize, take a short walk, or chat with their colleagues. 

Taking a break when you feel overwhelmed and your productivity starts to drop can help you regain focus and look at specific issues from a different perspective, finding effective solutions.

Focus on Employees’ Wellbeing

Checking in with all the employees, including the C-suite ones regularly asking whether they need help or support to fight work-related stress should be a top priority for HR managers. 

Since burnout and the Great Resignation have become burning issues lately, you need to focus more on keeping your employees happy and satisfied with their work. While traditional perks like free lunches and happy hours are still welcome, try to devise employee wellbeing programs including professional support and consult to those in need. 

You can devise an Employee Assistance Program like many businesses worldwide to offer free one-on-one assessments, short-term consulting, and follow-ups with employees who may struggle working from home for various reasons.

Author Profile

Adam Regan
Adam Regan
Deputy Editor

Features and account management. 3 years media experience. Previously covered features for online and print editions.


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