Protect your organization from the disastrous effects of work-from-home burnout and Zoom fatigue by a strategic shift toward virtual work being the new normal rather than an emergency measure. That's the key take-away message of this episode of the Wise Decision Maker Show, which describes how to defeat work-from-home burnout and zoom fatigue.
Video: “How to Defeat Work-From-Home Burnout and Zoom Fatigue”
Podcast: “How to Defeat Work-From-Home Burnout and Zoom Fatigue”
Links Mentioned in Videocast and Podcast
- Here is the article: How to Defeat Work-From-Home Burnout and Zoom Fatigue
- The book Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters is available here
- The book Resilience: Adapt and Plan for the New Abnormal of the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic is available here
- You are welcome to register for the free Wise Decision Maker Course
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the Wise Decision Maker Show where we help you make the wisest and most profitable decisions. And today, I'd like to share with you about how you can defeat work from home burnout, and zoom fatigue, working from home burnout and Zoo fatigue with this pandemic, there have been so many more people working from home, and suffering from some fatigue, we'll talk about what sylvatic is, if you haven't heard of that term, the work from home burnout has been a tough, tough thing for so many people. And we'll talk about how you can defeat it for your team, for yourself, for everyone in your workplace. And if you're a solopreneur, just individually for yourself and not for your team. So that's what we'll talk about how to defeat work from home burnout and some fatigue. So the first thing to understand about work from home, our burnout, and zoom fatigue is the typical approaches toward how the people typically deal with work from home. Well, at the beginning of the pandemic with other lockdowns, what happened was that folks just adapted their existing ways of working at home working in the office, their office culture, to remote work, that's what everyone did. They adapted their culture of working from home working in the office, the office culture to remote work. And they didn't think about the differences between working from home and office culture working in the office. So they used operational tactics to solve challenges that they encountered, whether it was work from home burnout, or any other challenges, technological challenges, collaboration challenges, they just use tactics, day to day tactics in operational tactics means just day to day stuff. As a challenge comes up, we'll address it, another challenge comes up, we'll address it. That's how it was approached. Because everyone wanted to just deal with the pandemic lockdowns folks weren't prepared that just fat quickly changed to working from home. And then think about the broader issues, the broader challenges with transitioning from the office to the home place. That's fine for emergencies. Now for a week for two, to have that transition, just focusing on the tasks themselves, getting them done focusing on that, and as any challenges come up dealing with them operationally. But it's really bad for the long term. And of course, the mme MC is for the long term. And it's not simply the pandemic, now that people have been working from home for a while, employers have been widely figuring out that hey, work from home is not too bad. And so have employees, employees and employers, from an employee perspective, it gives a lot more flexibility and comfort. And you don't have to have the long commute, there's less stress in many ways. Well, for employers, they of course, have seen that many people working from home actually have more productivity than they had in the office, two or more hours per week on average, gaining productivity, which is great, that's a great grain in productivity. And if they can get more employees to work from home, of course, they get to not least expensive office space. So that's great for their savings or not using up a bunch of office services, whether you know, it was big office copiers, other things that you need in the office, janitors, security and so on. If you're going to shrink your footprint by 90, or even fully remotely a number of companies that want to fully remote large ones like Dropbox and so on, and a number of other ones have gone to lots of their positions have moved remotely, including that simply technical technology companies like Dropbox, but Nationwide Insurance a long time with companies found 1926. So of all time companies and your ones have been deciding to make a number of permanent shifts to working from home. But they have not really figured out they've not considered all the aspects of moving from their office culture to remote work, and they've tried to fit their existing office culture to remote work. Unfortunately, that's like forcing a square peg into a round hole. You know, you can do it, but you'll break off the corners and the square peg. And then you know, it'll wobble a lot if you force it into the round hole. And eventually it'll break because you're keeping the aspects of the work that need to be done the tasks, but you're leaving behind the social, the human glue, the community glue that bonds us together that emotional glue that bonded us in to the office culture, when you're switching to how to working from home without adapting that call those cultural elements effectively to the remote setting. So this is a typical problem. These are the problems of the typical approach to working from home. you're failing to address the basic differences of working from home and even though people on average are more productive at working from home and they like it more. They Like the flexibility, you know, I've seen so many worked with a number of companies that are transitioning to mostly or permanently working from home throughout, not simply the pandemic, but even afterward. But even the pandemic in a number of companies are thinking, Okay, we'll work from home during the pandemic, which is still going to go on for a long time. And they're not thinking about, they're thinking, Hey, this is great, you know, we can, ideally, permanently move to a number of positions or all positions to working from home, not having to have that expensive real estate, having more productivity, of not having to have a lot of expensive Business Services, office services that they have to use. But they've been finding that it does lead to more burnout. Definitely issues with retention, morale engagement. So burnout is problematic. it harms productivity, from the perspective of collaboration, individually beat, people are more productive. But as a team, there's definitely more tensions and challenges with teamwork, but people are not as able to collaborate together effectively. So work from home to have effective work from home, you really need a strategic approach can't just address operational challenges can do it by day to day tactics, you need to have a strategic shift and a strategic approach to working from home. And again, this is whether you're a team leader, or a team member, or a solopreneur, individual professional, you need to have a strategic approach to working from home. So there are a number of ways of solving the problems that are associated with working from a home, I'll talk from the perspective of leaders, but you can apply to yourself as a solopreneur, or a team member, the kinds of things that you really want to do. And to the extent that you're a team member, encourage your leaders to adopt these approaches. So solution one, to the problems of working from home, you want to gather information on what exactly are the problems in your company, all companies have some differences, many, many similarities, which I'll talk about, but also some differences. And you want to customize the approaches that I'm talking about here to your company. So your first part of the step of your solution will be gathering work from home, interpreting information, diagnosing the issues with your company, using a number of surveys and focus groups, and using one on one interviews. These various tool surveys, focus groups, and one on one interviews will help you diagnose the specific issues that your company is experiencing that your team your organization is experiencing with working from home since the first solution, the second one is you want to develop metrics and baselines. As you're thinking about developing surveys. And for me in doing reviews, doing focus groups, make sure that you get both quantitative data and qualitative data, quantitative data and qualitative data. So for the surveys, especially, you want to structure them so that you get clear metrics, so that you can do interventions and measure that before and after impact. So that you have a survey, talking about, let's say, you know, how engaged you feel? How good is your collaboration with team members? How, what are your work life boundaries? and a number of other questions that there is no, there's going to be notes, in the links in the show notes. For more information about the kind of survey questions you can ask. But you want to structure the survey to get clear metrics so that you establish a baseline, use that baseline for your first evaluation. And then as you do interventions to improve the experience of your team working from home, you can use the survey, run the survey, again, monthly or so as you're going through these interventions. And see how the metrics are changing from the baseline. So people had, let's say, certain work life boundaries that they felt a level of satisfaction of six out of one for 10. As you're with one low 10 high as you're improving their ability to have good work life boundaries, are they moving from six to seven or seven to eight? So you want to see that? What about how they're collaborating with others, if they say we are foreign collaboration, which I've definitely seen a lot of things like that kind of in the lower scores, unfortunately, in collaboration, because it's hard to collaborate when you're working from home and virtual communication as well. You know, five on effective virtual communication, are you moving from that four and five to those sixes and sevens and overtime, ideally, eights and nines and even 10s. So you want to see that happening. Now, the third thing here, we're going into more of the behavioral science, the cognitive neuroscience of the topic, what is actually going on within us that is causing a lot of problems and working from home. Well, what happened is that work as such, you know, going back before the pandemic when people were working in the office, it satisfies a whole bunch of our psychological needs. And this is, you know, might feel soft, might feel, you know, squishy topics, but humans are soft and And in order to get humans satisfied and prevent burnout, and to get them engaged in collaborating effectively, you need to realize that in the office work naturally fulfills our needs. We are tribal creatures, and we need to engage with other people in order to feel fulfilled and satisfied. We're also creatures driven by a sense of meaning and purpose. And we need to have a sense of meaning and purpose in the kind of things that we do, the kind of activities that we accomplish in the office, in order to really get dissatisfied and protect ourselves from burnout and fatigue of various sorts and collaboration problems. And that's been lost. That's been a lot of that has been lost in the transition to working from home the meaning and purpose, the connection with a community. And most employees are not aware of this, most employers aren't aware of this, they don't understand how work met the basic psychological needs of their employees and employees don't understand how it met their basic psychological needs. And they kind of didn't have to when it would just happen naturally, in the office, of course, it would have been much better. And I did work with companies on developing meaning and purpose in the workplace and sense of connection. But it was not as necessary, really, in the office, it wasn't as critically important when you were in office, because especially in the kind of smaller companies that happened more naturally in larger companies that required more work when you have that complex tribal system. But most employees are not aware of how the transition to working from home disrupted all of that, and how it's very difficult. So this disrupted satisfaction of our needs. And that's why we workers feel unfulfilled, much less fulfilled, by working from home, their meaning and purpose, their sense of connection community with others, their sense of trust, their sense of collaboration, it's unfulfilled, and they're confused about it, they're not sure why is this so challenging. And of course, they're associating that with the company with their workplace rather than the circumstances. And that is a problem that you don't want to have happen. So you want to educate employees about this topic, as one of the early early interventions. You know, once you gather that, surveys, the metrics, the baselines, educate your employees about this topic, it's incredibly important to do so. Next, what you want to do, you want to cultivate a sense of meaning and purpose in the workplace. So talk about meaning and purpose being incredibly important in the workplace, that sense of identity, that sense of who I am, why I'm here, why I'm doing what I'm doing, what is driving me what is meaningful about this, for me, people have done that. Now more naturally in the office, they have associated that sense of meaning and purpose with the place with the working there, and with the people they're surrounded by. so driven by people motivated by people driven by the place motivated by the place, they have an association of the context of work with meaning and purpose, with satisfaction with accomplishments, that's how a lot of that is greatly disrupted. That's all greatly disrupted when you move to work from home. So you need to change that. You need to help your employees and yourself develop that sense of meaning and purpose. In working from home intentionally, it's much, much harder to do so because the context of the home is not something people associate with working. It's not something they associate with driving their accomplishments and achievements, that accomplishments and achievements. They associate that mainly with the workplace, most people associate their accomplishments or achievements, what's driving them is a powerful force with the workplace. So they need to change that you need to help them change that context, that thinking to associate working from home with meaning and purpose. The first step is to use an evaluative tool. And there are a number of evaluative tools, one's going to be a link in the show notes. To set a baseline of meaning, set a baseline of meaning and purpose for your employees, then engage in a number of self reflective activities or meaning and work from home that is a science based strategy. to actually develop work from home, you want to have meaning and work from home, you want to have self reflective activities where people do various forms of journaling, various forms of self reflection on how working from home, in the company in the nonprofit, whatever organization you run, that helps them develop their sense of meaning and purpose so that they shift the context of their previous meaning and purpose in working in the office to their new context of working from home however temporary or long term or permanent it might be. Then the second step here is to connect work from home to something bigger than themselves to develop a sense of meaning and purpose. That can be part of that will be the work community and we'll talk about that next. But you also want to associate that with something bigger, some bigger and drive some bigger goals and bigger values. What does the company stand for? What does your nonprofit organization stand for? What is the goal that you're trying to achieve and accomplish? Now, you've probably done that pretty well, when people are in the office reinforcing the culture, the values, the mission, but that's much harder to do when people are working from home. And they don't feel nearly as connected to the company's values, their organization's values, culture mission. So that needs to be something that's worked on from people in their home, in their homes. And they need to have that association with the value system culture of the organization in which they work, connection to something bigger than themselves, what are they serving? What are they doing, that the next one, connected to the connection to something bigger than yourself if they cultivate mutual connections to the work community, and that not only helps fulfill your sense of meaning and purpose, but also your desire for a tribal connection. Humans are our gut intuitions, our emotions evolved, not for the mother environment, but for the savanna environment when we lived in small tribes, that 15 people, 250 people. So that's very important for us to have that connection to other people to help me see that connection. And our workplace for most people, is our main tribe. You know, of course, the family unit is our nuclear tribe, for the large majority of people. But that's not the bigger tribe. I'm not talking about the nuclear family, I'm talking about the tribal sensibility, who is your community. For most people, their work is their main community. And that's been largely disrupted. By working from home, it's very hard to connect to each other for small boxes and screeners at a video conference. And even worse, of course, for collaborative software, which is incredibly needed. I hope you're using collaborative software like Trello, Asana, Microsoft Teams Slack, much better than email. But it's very hard to connect effectively to other people through it to really feel they're human beings, and for them to feel that you're a human being. Now that discontent leads to emotional training. What happens with the video conference especially, is that we expect if you're connected, I mean, think about work meetings are sport, social functions, those happy hours in the workplace, not zoom, happy hours, you feel connected, you chat to others, you feel that there, oh, this is part of my tribe, you know, I know this person, I know what's going on in their life, I'm connected to them. They like me, I like them, I support them, they support me. But when you have those same interactions, in a video conference, then it just doesn't work very well, at all, our gut intuitions, our emotions don't feel nearly as connected to those professional meetings by those happy hours. We have an expectation, our emotions, our intuitions have a high expectation for feeling connected, because we are used to it from the office. But we don't feel nearly as connected. So we feel drained. You know, you can be much more drained when you're just sitting in, in your home office and having meetings all day, throw zoom, then when you're at work and having those meetings all day at work. And you wonder why that's so weird, you know, nine to five, doing the same thing. I mean, I don't even have the commute when I'm going to work and going back. But you just have so much more drained because being with other people having those meetings for most people, except extreme introverts. For most people, it's at least somewhat energizing, it's somewhat energizing, it helps you give that sense of connection, it helps you feed off the positively off the energy of other people and they feed off your energy. So you bounce positive energy off each other. And you help each other feel more energized, feel more motivated, feel connected, feel engaged, feel like you're part of the tribe, doesn't really happen nearly so much on a zoom professional meeting, or especially on the zoom happy hour, there was an interesting bad for actually helping connect people. So you need to replace that office culture style bonding activities, zoom happy hours, professional team meetings, much of that does not work well, especially the happy hour, especially when we have expectations for happy hour activities that connect us that really are not connecting. So you really need to do away with those. Sorry for those who like to zoom happy hours, the vast majority of us down. You want to replace that office style culture bonding with native virtual formats where people don't have expectations. We don't have those native Intuit we don't have those intuitive expectations of satisfaction with native virtual formats that are virtual in nature and don't aren't associated with Office culture, but they help us feel connected. So it's much better than Having a high expectation and being disappointed. A couple of examples that you want to use. One is a text based morning update. So each team in your collaboration software, whether it's Trello, you can use a Trello card, whether it's Slack, or whether it's Mondays, or Asana or Microsoft Teams, they can use a channel they are with everyone, whatever it is, for your team. For a surf team of six to eight people, of course, that's what I'm talking about, you usually have a team and you have a number of conversations going on, let's say in Microsoft Teams. And you can establish additional channels to converse about other topics. So you want to have a channel specifically devoted to just personal stuff, nothing work related. And on that channel every morning, everyone who comes signs into work. So the first thing they do is essentially checking into work on the check. Meanwhile, other people saying hi to other people, this is a morning update, it takes about five to 10 minutes to do, where what you do is you share five things about each other. How are you feeling? Overall? What's your mood right now? Then, what are you planning? what's been going on with you at home? Then what are you planning to do at work that day, and one thing, share one thing about you that most team members don't know, that is something that you can easily do takes less than five minutes to do that part, share that, and everyone can see it. And then you respond to three other people. And that takes again, a couple of minutes. So this whole thing, you know, takes five to 10 minutes depending on how extensive you want to be. And that gets you really engaged with others because you not only share about yourself and you humanize yourself, you remind your team members that you're a human being. But you also see their updates, what's going on with them with their kids with their faith based groups or values based groups, what's going on with their vacation plans, you know, hopefully, safe and socially distance vacations, and other sorts of things like this, well, what are going on, maybe they're doing their spring planting or something like this. So what's going on and share photos, if you can share videos, those are great for humanizing each other. So that's really important, and that should be obligatory, all team members must do this. This is an obligatory step. Then the other thing you should do with the same channel is personal chats. So that's a personal chat where you can personally chat, you can also establish separate channels, that depends some teams like to do it on separate channels, some team likes to do the text based morning update in the same channel. It also depends on what kind of collaboration software you're using, but you want a channel or a Trello card or something like this for personal chats as well. And that's completely optional. People can use that or not use that just chat exchange with each other and share something that's going on with them, you know, things that are just life stuff, nothing about work. So that's a personal chat. And that gives a nice balance of an obligatory humanizing activity with the morning update, and those personal chats that people can do voluntarily and you'll find that the more extroverted people use the personal chats, more and more introverted one humans use them less and that's totally fine. Next, virtual communication so we're going on to professional development, psychosexual psychological needs with address now we're going on to addressing professional development, communications and torturously hard, which is why even before the pandemic, people in communication training made a lot of money, and it's even harder to communicate effectively online. Yet, people yet companies, individuals are failing so badly as investing into professional development in this area. This is a mean like one of the biggest, biggest opportunities for improvement, communicating effectively, virtually, again, it's so much harder than doing it in person where we obviously are used to doing it. But companies aren't investing in these organizations, individual professionals aren't investing. And that's just silly. You know, for example, I'll give an example in your zoom video conference. When you are looking at the other person on the screen. Did you know that you're not looking them in the eye, in order to look them in the eye, you need to look at the video camera. So you look in the video camera, not on the screen. Look in the video camera not on the screen. It looks really different. When you look in the video camera, the other person can clearly see that you're looking at them, you're looking them in the eye. Whereas if they're looking at the screen, they're looking at you but you're not then you're not seeing them as though they're looking you in the eye and that is really bad for influencing people you want that eye contact eye contact us I'm credibly important for us to influence people. I'm sure you know that you've gotten some in person communication training where you know that eye contact is very, very important in your handshake, eye contact right to basics. Well, now handshakes right now in the pandemic, but eye contact, so important, and what failing abysmally at eye contact, you know, your sales team, people are not doing iconic. I mean, I've spoken to so many top sales managers, and a number of companies who did not know about this before I talk to them and who are like, Oh, so we're failing to make sales, because of this simple thing that we're not able to do what people obviously, if you're inside the company, if you're not interacting with people outside the company, you're still selling your ideas, you're still trying to influence them, and persuade them to do something, as a leader as a team member. And if you're not having eye contact with them, you're much less capable of persuading them. That's just one example. The other example much, you know, more obvious, is failure to see people's body tones and language, that their body, you're only hearing what they're saying, You're seeing their face, sometimes. I mean, let's say lots of our communication right now is happening through Trello, Microsoft Teams, other sorts of things. And that text based communication is not conveying body language, not conveying tone, it's very different things. If I say, I think Michael should take that project, or if I say, I think Michael should take that project. Those two sentences mean very different things because of the nuance of the phrasing and the tone that I'm using. But when written down, they mean the same thing. And that doesn't really convey what you're trying to convey: those undertones emotional undertones, that convey so much that body language that conveys so much. And even if you're doing a video conference, of course, you're not seeing other people's body language nearly as much as you're only seeing their face, and their face tells quite a bit. But it often doesn't because you're not seeing the body, you're not seeing other things that they're doing. And the towel may not be coming through very clearly at all, lots of people have surprisingly surprisingly bad microphones, even tiny, professional people, top leader who can easily afford, you know, 40 $50 microphone, you know, get yourself a Yeti microphone, get yourself a good quality microphone, but people don't. And that's ridiculous. And he can't hear you can barely hear them. They're using their inbuilt microphones, or something like that, or their headphone microphones, which is not nearly good enough for top quality for conveying your message effectively. And that causes a lot, a lot of miscommunications, misunderstandings that can blow up quickly, and cause a lot of problems for teams, when you're working within a team internally within a company. And externally, when you're working with everyone, from your vendors, to your clients to your investors. That idea, you want to provide training on effective virtual communication, I can't tell you the number of companies that are not doing this. And that's very silly. But related to that, you want to provide training on effective virtual collaboration. Again, lots of trainers made money by training people on teamwork before the pandemic in office and when it's much more natural for us to work as a team tribally. But right now companies aren't investing in this and organizations aren't investing in this individuals are not investing. This is ridiculous. We're used to that collaboration office setting. You know, we build up trust with each other naturally, we meet in the break room and you know, have lunch together and just chat about our lives and what's going on. And Whoa, how are you feeling? We meet in the hallways, and we can resolve small problems, issues, challenges pretty quickly. That doesn't happen in virtual settings. Most employees don't collaborate effectively, they don't don't know how to collaborate effectively in virtual settings, how to communicate effectively, how to collaborate effectively, that everything from technology, issues of not knowing all the technology of Microsoft Teams, Trello, Slack, whatever, to simply how to communicate, and how to delegate tasks effectively, in office, in work from home settings, how to hold other people accountable, you know, it's much easier to ignore somebody sending your slack message than it is somebody standing in the door to your cubicle. So this poor collaboration really harms people's morale, the retention of people in your company, and their productivity as part of a team individually, people are more productive, but team productivity is really hurt by this poor collaboration. And there's training that you can do an effective virtual collaboration. I'm so surprised how few organizations do training and effective virtual collaboration. Then, a couple of other things you can do. You want to initiate virtual mentorship. This is a really effective technique, you might have had mentorship before in the office. And a lot of that has slipped as people transition to working from home. This is specifically virtual mentorship, you want the program of virtual mentorship, where you pair up junior staff, with senior team members. So focus on pairing up those junior staff with senior team members, which provides them with another way to socialize with each other and have that connection. So as the specially important in these times to have that connection, that one, one connection, so giving them that opportunity. And of course, senior staff members can mentor younger ones in the workplace and doing the work. And that's one of the biggest things that employees report being lost and harmed is their ability to get mentoring from others. And that is a big, big problem. So you want to deliberately create that virtual mentorship. And that older staff will mentor younger ones on what to do things in the company, and so on, as well as the internal culture norms, politics, all that stuff. And don't tell me don't have politics in your organization, pretty much everyone does, unless you're a solopreneur. And then junior staff. And this is a hidden little dirty secret that a lot of older staff, senior staff don't know how to do technology very well, unfortunately, unfortunately, but this is true. And they don't take the time to invest into learning how to do technology very well, this harms them. And this, this is really damaging. But this is the case, when they have junior staff with whom they're mentoring. junior staff can notice that and say, Hey, did you know you can do this an easier way and that the and the senior staff can more easily accept that from junior staff because they're helping junior staff with other things. So it kind of feels like a reciprocity arrangement. There's a reciprocity arrangement. So you want to make sure to do that virtual mentorship for junior staff and senior staff alike burn the fitting both, then you want to establish digital co working, digital co working is a surprisingly effective technique and not done nearly enough. What you want to do is replicate the benefits of shared cubicle space. That's the benefit of digital coworking where in cubicle space, you can easily chat to somebody in the next cubicle or come over to them briefly in the thermal cubicle a little bit further away and chat to them if you know about what's going on with them. What so what are the issues? Some you want to answer questions or just you know, chat about socially very briefly, hopefully not taking up too much of somebody's time. But you know, a couple of minutes about what's life? How are you feeling all that stuff? So, digital coworking allows you to replicate the benefits of working alongside team members in solving word problems. And actually benefiting from listening to them. Just observe observing them work, to the extent that you can do that in some ways. And also chatting to them and bonding to do that team of 60 people should do a video call for one, at least one hour daily. Ideally, more depends on what kind of work you're doing. But ideally, more than one hour daily, where you have microphones turned off, speakers turned on and video optional. And you can of course, and should of course turn your microphones on to bond with each other, you know, share about something in your life, what's going on chat a little bit briefly of chat about work stuff, what's going on, ask questions, answer questions, do all those sorts of things. So that's very effective. That's a really effective technique that digital coworking bonds team members with each other's minds that their human, helps them feel connected, very, very valuable, and of course, helps them solve work problems, addresses some of those collaboration challenges, as does the virtual mentorship. This is especially helpful for those who are in positions like sales, where sales team members can use that to hear each other. You can have one sales team member the time have their microphone turned on, especially a senior sales team member when they're doing outbound or inbound calls to customers. And you can hear what other team members are saying to customers and learn from them and or give them feedback on how they can do better. So with a number of specific departments in the in your organization, you know, I'm the sales floor, I have to tell you sales teams so often tell me Sales Team Leader, so that's the biggest thing they miss that sales, floor interaction, learning from each other engagement and mutual motivation for doing sales and the wins, celebrating the wins, and so on. That is something you can replicate with digital co working and that's really effective and that applies to a number of specific departments in your organization. Then, let's go on to other things that you can be doing. You really want to fund people's remote work technology. office space limitations have been problematic for many people, many people don't know, they work in their kitchen table or a walk in closet. You know, it's true people do. And they the they don't have a quiet space, they don't have a quiet office, the technologies where they've had mentioned not having a good microphone, not having a good webcam, not having good setups, not having good equipment, not having good technology, that is a big, big part that having good internet connection, I mean, how many people's WiFi is bad and drops out and they have to drop out of a meeting because of bad WiFi, that should never happen, you should always be plugged into the Ethernet. And there are ways to get Ethernet extended, but it costs some money. So you want to help your employees with these technology, office space limitations by providing funds for government home office setup, whether it's the internet connection that I mentioned, various equipment, technology, not simply a good laptop, not but also microphone, camera, all that sort of thing. And furniture, so furniture for working from home, all those sorts of things, maybe a standing desk, because you know, it's not really healthy, I use a standing desk, I've been using that for like, seven years now, ever since the research showing how unhealthy it is to actually sit the whole day. And we're when we're working when we're working in the office, and we have meetings or so on, we're at least walking from place to place where when we're working from home, we can sit in the same chair, nine to five, just except getting up and getting lunch. It's not great, not healthy. So you want to provide appropriate furniture, comfortable ergonomic furniture, ideally ones that facilitate the best health like standing up for working from home, then, this is another thing that you really want to be thinking about. A lot of people are not getting nearly as much benefit from meetings, as you think they are. Because of this disappointment, the zoom fatigue, we expect to be connected, and we're not. So whether those virtual happy hours, you want to completely eliminate them. And you want to reduce unnecessary team meetings, partially because you're already doing digital co working well. So if you see lots of leaders feel the team meetings are important for them to connect with their team members. But if you're doing digital co working, which you really should, you will already be connected much, much more to connecting the meetings. And it's something that you meet and that you don't have that expectation of being connected. So you don't have the zoom fatigue from those digital co working because you don't have that expectation of connectedness. I mean, you don't rationally have that expectation. So emotions and intuitions that cause zoom fatigue. And so if you have those microphones off speakers on video, optional digital coworking for at least an hour a day, you spend much more time together, much more connected, and you will be much less drained. Then if you have those, you know, weekly team meetings or something like that, you don't think that things are urgent that you need to communicate, you want to only schedule important meetings. And those shouldn't happen more than once a month if you're a regular team, you know, once a week for leadership teams, because you need to coordinate. But generally speaking, once a month or less for regular teams, when topics need to be really hashed out. That's what you want to schedule meetings for, sort of hashing out those topics, you know, once a month for the regular team to set its strategy for the next month, next month or three going forward. Right? That's cool, but don't have them more often. For reports, when you want to get team reports, you want to use synchronous communication. So have team members, get you written reports and send them to each other. You can also have them do video reports, those are more connecting and more engaging. And what you can do is don't do software transcription very cheaply written or video reports. That will then be sent out with the written reports for anyone who prefers the transcribed version and which is easier to catalog and search and so on for yourself. But the video reports are especially useful I find because they humanize each other to each other conveniently and much less draining for team members because they can watch those video reports or read the transcribed slash written reports on their own time. So much more convenient, much less draining. As a leader, however, you want to make sure to do a weekly check in with each of your direct reports. So system weekly, do a weekly check in on what's going on. That helps ensure trust and accountability for yourself with the team members. If you're a team member that helps assure that you have trust and accountability with the team leader. So make sure to do that. Assess your direct reports weekly in weekly meetings. These should not be very long. You know, this is just again, don't do this in team meetings. Don't do team meetings with a check ins do individual one things that's more connecting less training and There's going to be less awkwardness. And people will be freer to talk about things that are might be challenging to talk about the team setting, this should be 15 to 30 minutes, regularly 15 minutes if it's if there are more issues to talk through, can go up as long as 30. But I've usually see them be 15, even 10 minutes video conference. So what you want to check in is the status of their work, of course, naturally, then their work life balance, because that's really important for addressing burnout, and their well being, which is also important for addressing burnout. So those are the things that you want to check on non, in your weekly meet in your weekly meetings with your direct reports. As a leader, it's critical for you to support work life boundaries, that's one of the biggest issues that causes burnout, poor work life boundaries. Now, many, many leaders way too many expected employees to work after office hours, they send messages in collaboration software, and after work hours. And they ask their employees, why they didn't respond to them after work hours, when their employees respond to them during work hours. That's so bad, that's so harmful, it's very damaging. For people, it means that they have to be on, you know, 24, seven or whatever. It's, it's really, really bad, that you do not want that situation, you want them to separate work from life. So work from life boundaries, if they don't do that, that really harms them. And that contributes a lot to burnout. So they don't have that expectation. In fact, you want to encourage them not to do that. There are many fearful employees who don't complain about these things. And they even take initiative on themselves. They're afraid of losing their job and the pandemic, this economic downturn, they see their boss working after hours. And even if their boss doesn't directly say, Hey, you know, you should respond to these messages, even after hours when the boss sends them an email, there's a sense, there's an expectation, they feel that, well, if they don't work after office hours, and they don't quickly respond to the boss's email after office hours, that will send them back and the boss will feel that they're not as productive an employee, that's not a good thing, that they're not as loyal, you don't want that situation, you want to reinforce saying that, you know, if you want to work after office hours, as a leader yourself, if you choose to do that, that's okay. But you should make it very clear that you have no expectations, and people will not not get brownie points if they work after office hours. So you should reinforce those boundaries. Be very, very clear about that. Also, separately as an additional bonus, you want to encourage flexible work schedules when possible. So the typical work schedule is nine to five, what ideally you would do is establish a common time when everyone has to be at work something like 12 to three. And that's when you would do your digital co working, let's say from one to three, that's only if you don't want to if you don't know where you can do one to two, or if you're doing two hours, 123, something like that. So you give people flexibility when they work that gives them flexibility for working from home accommodating things with their kids, with their family members with activities that they want to do or need to do. So that helps them have better work life balance. And that's something you should contribute to encourage. This is key to avoiding burnout, a lot of research has shown that work life balance is so important to dressing burnout. And finally, as you're integrating these changes, don't rush them, don't put them in all everything at once. That's a problem, you want to put them in slowly over time. So don't rush these things. Use the results of the survey to see what are the most important things for you. And always whatever the results of a survey, I strongly recommend that you start with educating people about their basic psychological needs. Because if they're not aware of these things, which of these issues which the vast majority of them are not, then they really can't address these things on the survey, right? They can't say that that's an issue they're suffering from See, start with education about basic psychological needs, and then proceed to the most urgent steps of the other things based on the internal surveys, what seems most urgent of everything else based on your internal surveys. So that's what you want to do. Then you want to examine the survey results over time. So I told you do the metrics to the baseline, start the intervention with education, then the urgent steps, and then rerun the survey every month, see how your interventions are doing and see where you want to build on next strategizing next step each month with the leadership teams on the kind of next step intervention that you'll be doing to address and overcome work from home burnout and zoom fatigue. Alright everyone, I hope this has been enlightening for you and that has helped you make work better decisions about work from home. burn off in some fatigue. There'll be much more information in the show notes. So click on the show notes. There'll be various links to various resources on defeating work from home burnout on zoom fatigue, make sure to click like on this show and to follow us on whatever channel you've been listening to us when there's a videocast. There's a podcast podcast on iTunes and other podcast channels. You know, the video cast is on YouTube. So check that out. Make sure to follow us and subscribe, whatever the relative, whatever the relevant things are in each one. And please leave a review on iTunes. It's so important for us to get the word out to other people and for us to know what helps you have the best experience so that we can produce the best content for you similarly on YouTube, please leave a comment and share with us your thoughts about this episode. And again, what you'll gain from it, how we can make it better. That's very important and valuable. Alright everyone. I hope this has proven useful to you. And I will see you on the next episode of the Wise Decision Maker Show. In the meantime, as always the wisest and most profitable decisions to you, my friends.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Originally Published at Disaster Avoidance Experts April 20, 2021
Bio: Dr. Gleb Tsipursky is an internationally-renowned thought leader in future-proofing and cognitive bias risk management. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-proofing consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts, which specializes in helping forward-looking leaders avoid dangerous threats and missed opportunities. A best-selling author, he wrote Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019), The Blindspots Between Us: How to Overcome Unconscious Cognitive Bias and Build Better Relationships (New Harbinger, 2020), and Resilience: Adapt and Plan for the New Abnormal of the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic (Changemakers Books, 2020). His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, and other languages. He was featured in over 550 articles and 450 interviews in prominent venues. These include Fortune, USA Today, Inc. Magazine, CBS News, Business Insider, Government Executive, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Time, Fast Company, and elsewhere. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for mid-size and large organizations ranging from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist, including 7 as a professor at Ohio State University. You can contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, LinkedIn, Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Medium @dr_gleb_tsipursky, and gain free access to his “Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace” and his “Wise Decision Maker Course” with 8 video-based modules.