Burnout isn’t a new concept. The term was first coined in 1974 by Herbert Freudenberger in his book, Burnout: The High Cost of High Achievement. According to Merriam-Webster, burnout is the exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation, usually due to prolonged stress or frustration. For years, we’ve known the causes and symptoms of burnout and how we can overcome it. But, what has never happened during that time was a year (we’re being generous, it’s going on 14 months) like this past one.

 

The list of factors that can lead to burnout, such as: lack of control, work-life imbalance, monotony, and an unmanageable workload, now read like a list that is all too familiar. Many aspects of our personal lives and work lives have been out of our control. Shifting to remote work has blurred the line between work and home. Childcare and virtual schooling have created a constant pull throughout the day, and the pressure to keep up and excel at our jobs is stronger than ever.

 

Many are indeed experiencing one or more of these factors, but not everyone is experiencing burnout. How do you know if you’re feelin’ the burn(out)? It’s more than just feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Here are some of the most common symptoms:

 

  • A significant shift in your mood towards your work and/or coworkers: You may notice your stress level is high and constant. You may become irritable or impatient with coworkers. Or, you may even feel numb and completely disconnected from the work you are doing.
  • You are physically feeling it: You may feel unexplained physical symptoms such as headaches and stomachaches. You may also experience insomnia or abnormal fatigue.
  • Reduced performance: You may find it challenging to get started on your work, stay focused, or complete tasks. The quality and quantity of your work may suffer.
  • Finding unhealthy ways to cope: When you stop to think about it, you may realize you’ve been using unhealthy eating habits, alcohol, drugs, or destructive self-talk to feel better or to feel nothing at all.

 

Can you relate to these symptoms? If so, you are not alone. Indeed conducted a survey to compare current burnout rates to those in 2020, before Covid. Every generation has seen an increase in burnout rates. 80% of respondents believe Covid-19 has impacted workplace burnout somehow, and 67% say burnout has worsened during the pandemic.

 

The good news is that burnout is preventable and reversible! Here are our top tips to take back control of your emotions, wellbeing, and mental health:

 

  • Reset your boundaries: We had to quickly transition to remote work without having the proper time to reset our boundaries. It’s not too late! Set aside 15 minutes and write down what you need for your day to well-balanced. It could mean spending the afternoon in one area of the home and the evening in a different one after work. It could be setting asides days, or times of day, for task work or deep work. Maybe you turn off notifications during your deep work time. Ensure your plan includes protecting enough time for sleep!
  • Do it together: The chances are great that your friends, family, coworkers, and even managers are feeling some of the same burnout symptoms you are. Share what you’re going through with those close to you. Have an honest conversation with your manager and ask for support in resetting your boundaries.
  • Get moving: Whether it’s sitting outside on a sunny day, going for a walk, or enjoying a full-on workout, movement and fresh air the best free medicines!
  • Feed your soul: If your job is the most important thing in your life and you tie your identity to it, burnout is a higher possibility. Remember, you are more than your job. Ensure you are continuing to enjoy hobbies and learn new skills outside of work.
  • Use your PTO: Last, but certainly not least. Just because you may not be able to spend the day with a big group of friends, or travel to your favorite vacation spots, doesn’t mean you don’t need time off. Schedule days that are true PTO for you to unwind and have fun!

 

Don’t put pressure on yourself that you have to flip the script and fix everything in a day. Small steps each day will ensure you’re working towards reversing or preventing burnout.

March is the month of WOMEN! Not only is it Women’s History Month, but it’s also the month of International Women’s Day, which has been celebrated since 1911!

1911?! We know what you’re thinking. How has it been celebrated and recognized for so long, but we still need so much more progress? We hear you. We feel you. But it’s essential to look back at the exceptional progress made since then, thanks to amazing women who have led the way and created an opportunity for those who came after them. When the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote in 1920, it was nicknamed “The Susan B. Anthony Amendment” to honor her work on behalf of women’s suffrage. In 1955, Rosa Park’s refusal to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, helped launch the civil rights movement. When Jeannette Rankin became the first woman appointed as a member of Congress, she opened the door for the 393 women who have served as U.S. Representatives, delegates, or Senators.

It’s equally important to understand where progress is still needed. At the current rate of change, it will take until 2085 for women to reach parity with men in leadership roles in the U.S. Women are 50.8% of the U.S. population and hold almost 52% of all professional-level jobs, yet American women lag substantially behind men when it comes to their representation in leadership positions. Women hold 16.9% of Fortune 500 board seats, 14.6% of Executive Offices, only 8.1% of women are top earners, and they make up only 4.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs.

Celebrating women this month helps to honor the progress made thus far and helps to push progress forward. Through our celebrations, we can help create a more inclusive world, create a level playing field for women, and create more opportunities for those that come after us. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite ways to celebrate and honor women below, but the best part is that these ideas are great all year round, not just in March!

 

Inquire

Your organization includes exceptional women who have varying life experiences, in and out of the office. Inquire and ask them how they would like to celebrate women. This shouldn’t be a one-time check-in for the month of March. Create an on-going dialogue to ensure your organization is continually uplifting your employees and cultivating progress for a better world for all.

 

Educate

Everyone must be responsible for educating themselves, but as an organization, you can also offer your employees resources to educate themselves about why we must continually celebrate women and where progress is needed.

Understanding history and how it still plays a role in today’s dynamics is critical. Have an internal company newsletter? Add a fact from history and the statistics of how it has played out today. Include information about how your organization is supporting this cause. Is a movie coming out with significant historical learnings for today’s modern world? Gift your organization a 1-month subscription to view it.

Offer DEI training. It can help build awareness of unconscious bias, cultural competence, or additional barriers preventing employees in your organization from feeling included and a sense of belonging.

We can all learn a lot from listening. Create a platform and environment where women from all walks of life can share their experiences free of judgment.

 

Connect

The connections you create throughout every facet of your business can help create a more inclusive world.

Connect with women-owned businesses that can service your business needs. Giving out gift bags at an annual conference? This is an excellent opportunity to connect with local women-owned businesses and help spread the word. Is your contract coming to an end with one of your suppliers or services? Do your research, and we’re sure you’ll find a women-owned business that would love the opportunity to work with you.

Connect with local organizations that support the advancement of women and girls. You could share upcoming events relevant to your workforce; you could become a corporate sponsor or get your employees involved and offer a charitable donation match.

(Did you know? ON Point’s CEO and Co-Founder Pam Borton is also the Co-Found and Founder of two Twin Cities-based organizations committed to women and girls’ advancement. TeamWomen is a premier professional women’s organization deeply committed to developing future generations of women in leadership. Empower Leadership Academy‘s mission is to empower, develop, and inspire our next generation of leaders.)

Having an annual conference or event? Connect with women in your industry and invite them to speak or be a part of your panel discussion. This is not only a significant opportunity for them, but it’s critical to present diverse journeys, experiences, and viewpoints to create an equal workforce.

 

Amplify

The best way to celebrate women all year round is to give women a platform and amplify their voices and experiences. Feature women from your organization on social media, blog posts, and company publications. Amplify the story of female trailblazers in your industry. Include a diverse panel of women for all annual events, roundtables, and conferences. Promote women to leadership positions. Give women a seat at the table. Every table.

As diversity and inclusion have been an important focus, businesses have made progress, but we still have to continue to dig deep to align our DEI initiatives with our everyday operations. Here’s where your focus should be in 2021 to stay ON Point and set your organization and team up for success:

 

Put your soft skills in play.

An ON Point leader knows emotional intelligence and empathy are crucial in today’s workplace. As they say, “We are all in the same storm, but on different boats.” All employees are affected by the ongoing pandemic, with external factors affecting their day-to-day work in different ways. Yet, women, especially women of color, have been hit hardest, with many even leaving the workforce to take care of their families.

As a leader, create space for open and honest conversations and allow your team to voice their concerns. This is essential to building an inclusive workplace. When leaders appropriately address different viewpoints at work, employees will feel supported by you and the organization.

You can’t fix what you don’t know, and you must keep your pulse on these issues to put support structures in place. Remember that an organization’s success is directly linked to its employees!

 

Diversity among teams is a win for everyone.

Diversity has been at the forefront for a few years, and the results have demonstrated wins across the board.

Drawing on many lived experiences and viewpoints, diverse teams are often more creative and innovative, outperforming homogenous teams and generating more revenue. These diverse viewpoints will also ensure you’re speaking to and reaching a wider, inclusive audience for organizations offering services or products.

Lived experiences and viewpoints long underrepresented will not only find a place to be amplified, but these will be heard by the rest of the team, creating a natural environment of learning, bettering each of your employees and your workplace culture.

 

Address unconscious bias.

Guess what? We all have unconscious bias. To build diverse teams and take various viewpoints and lived experiences into account, leaders must recognize their own unconscious bias so they do not form their decisions. As a leader, it starts with you. You can minimize the effects of unconscious bias across your team and your organization.

In its simplest form, you can put yourself in their shoes. If the roles were reversed, how would you feel? You can cultivate a cultural atmosphere where unconscious bias is openly discussed without judgment. Diversity training can aid in this, as well as help educate your employees. You can revise your hiring process to ensure you’re giving a diverse pool of candidates the opportunity to apply. You can conduct blind interviews to help diminish your hiring team’s unconscious bias.

 

Walk the talk. 

Your actions must represent your words. If you’re expressing the importance of representation, ask yourself if you have proper representation within your leadership team. Within your board. Within your teams. Within your internship program.

Need an example? Millions of young girls across the country have been told for years that they can be anything they want to be. It’s easy to hear, but hard to believe when you don’t see examples of it. The day our first Madam Vice President was sworn into office, those millions of young girls now see that they, too, can be anything they want – including The Vice President of the United States of America!

 

It’s more than diversity; equity needs to be a focus. 

Businesses have made great strides towards diversity by increasing representation of people from diverse backgrounds, and inclusion by creating space for all voices, but this is only a small piece of the puzzle. More can be done!

By recognizing that we don’t all start from the same place due to barriers, equity ensures everyone has access to the same opportunities. This takes a deep, internal look at your practices, programs, placements, and employee resources to determine where the inequality is and correcting it.

ON Point Next Level Leadership can ensure that your DEI initiatives and employee resource groups are #ONPoint and providing value to your employees and attracting and retaining top talent.

Five tips for leaders for a championship year

The year 2020 changed the world like none other. It disrupted the way people interact, how schools function and the way we do business. Not surprisingly, this dramatic paradigm shift forced us to look at what we were doing, reassess and find new ways of doing everything—all in a tight timeframe.

We learned so much about ourselves. We realized we could be productive, collaborative, and social from great distances. Organizations realized that individuals and teams continue to work toward common goals – no matter where they were or how widely disbursed they were. We’ll carry these lessons learned last year for the rest of our lives.

But where do we go from here? The new normal IS business as usual, how do we maintain relevance in this new landscape?

 

Start with a plan.

 

Now it’s time to strengthen your team as you look toward a better 2021. While individual and collective goals may have changed dramatically over the past year, you all went through something big together. Now it’s time to take the lessons learned and apply them to your new goals in the new year.

As a leader, your job is to keep everyone’s eye on the prize or the collective goal you’re trying to achieve. Create a buzz around that goal to build momentum and support the team as they work toward it. Lead your team as they work together toward that goal like a coach leads an athletic team to win a game or a championship – and create bonds that transcend the workday.

But a leader’s job is twofold. While you shepherd your cohesive team, you also need to keep your finger on the pulse of the world at large. According to the University of Queensland, building a positive culture with remote teams, adopting a change mindset, incorporating wellbeing leadership and avoiding ethical blind spots will drive leaders in 2021. As a leader, this is your year to be the change.

 

Take advantage of the new remote workplace

 

By now, we know how to use technology to connect and collaborate from anywhere in the world. Leaders who embrace this new culture will find it’s easier to recruit and retain talent because remote work eliminates the barrier of the physical office.

Organizations large and small are leveraging technology and workflows to help them do their best work no matter where they’re located. Teams can use the technology after hours too.

Events like happy hours or team lunches – where your team can connect, socialize, and network with one another outside of the workday can still happen with a remote office model. And they’ll go a long way to keeping employees connected and feeling like part of the team.

 

Embrace the changing culture.

 

When the pandemic hit last year, it forced many companies to accomplish their three-year technology plan in three months. Technology at these companies is taking on a new role – and it’s changing so fast, it’s hard to keep up.

Offices will always have individuals who embrace change at varying rates. But, when a change mindset comes from the top-down, employees will be more adaptable to the change.

 

Incorporate wellbeing leadership.

 

Today’s leaders take a holistic look at what their business is doing – and even reevaluate their brand to express values like sustainability, and diversity and inclusion. Initiatives like corporate wellness have been around for a while, but 2020 showed us just how crucial those elements are at work and home.

The great thing is, even with a remote workforce, wellbeing leadership is possible. Bu allowing employees to continue to work from home, companies are reducing greenhouse emissions. Having open conversations about how employees are feeling is improving mental health. Taking a good hard look at where their company is in terms of diversity and inclusion is ushering in a more diverse talent pool that delivers a better product. And, providing online fitness classes to a remote workforce helps with physical health and improves overall morale.

 

Say goodbye to ethical blind spots.

 

Underscoring all of this is a shift in attitude from “you’re our employee” to “we care about you.” And they’re finding that by investing in the whole employee, they’re getting a better employee.

By focusing on overall culture rather than a product, leaders can better avoid ethical blind spots. When leaders establish a set of values around doing what is good and right – and center that set of values around the employee, it inspires employees to do good – not just meet quotas or save the company money. And that’s ON Point.

At ON Point, we’re here to help leaders like you take 2021 by storm. Whether it’s wellness leadership, navigating the remote landscape or cultivating a change mindset in your organization, our coaches can help you navigate those challenges. If you’d like to learn more about building a strategic action plan that works, reach out today.

We don’t know a single person who isn’t looking forward to 2021. A new year, a clean slate, a chance to reflect on the past and work toward the future. People take this time to set goals for themselves – whether they’re personal goals or professional goals. And businesses often take the time to reflect on the past year and prioritize to ensure continued success or reprioritize goals for a better year ahead.

Typically, the new year is a time of growth and change. Of course, last year brought us growth and change beyond our wildest imagination. Despite that, leaders continue to strive for new learning opportunities. ON Point leaders read a lot about self-improvement. Because we know that by improving ourselves, we can improve our teams.

Leading by example, let’s take a look at five ways you can sharpen your leadership skills in 2021.

 

  1. Improve your connections.

We don’t mean networking here. As a leader, you know what needs to get done and when it needs to be done. Getting to know the workers who will actually do the work can help you get your tasks done more efficiently and effectively.

Work on your mentorship skills by meeting with each of your team members individually to get a sense of their goals, give regular feedback and challenge them with new opportunities. Collaborate across teams to build connections with other stakeholders in your organization. Sharpen your listening skills. Effective communication often involves more listening than talking. Think about what your team is telling you and work with them to deliver the best results.

 

  1. Sharpen your administration

Think about your work style and processes, is it efficient? Does your team understand it? Where can you improve it? Are you setting a good example by using your own time efficiently?

Call on your team to help you find an effective way to produce work more effectively – each time you make a decision. Remember, each of your team members is a stakeholder in the projects they’re tackling. Take some time to think about how you can meet your own deadlines better. Think about how your team can get more work done with less effort.

Trust your team members and delegate tasks accordingly. If you see that someone has a particular talent, call on that talent – when people are called upon to use skills they’re confident in, they’ll work harder and contribute more.

 

  1. Know yourself.

At ON Point, we’ve touched on this in the past. Continue to be a student of yourself. Self-knowledge and self-awareness give you more confidence to showcase the leadership skills you do have. And the confidence you do have will help you accept responsibility when a decision you make doesn’t go according to plan.

 

  1. Think about your company.

We all have individual hopes, dreams and visions. And they don’t always align with what’s best for the company. Practice the self-discipline required to make decisions in the company’s best interest. Always strive to choose what’s right over what’s favorable.

Your example will help your team to also choose company interests over their own when appropriate.

 

  1. Think about who you are leading.

Are you leading the next leaders? The skill-sets overlap. Leaders take initiative and execute strategy. Managers deal with people. In all organizations, effective managers have to be effective leaders.

Lead by supporting – each team member must know their position and growth. To do that, leaders need to be transparent about company goals. Give individuals on your team the right training and resources to grow in their career – because chances are if they can’t grow with your company, they’ll find an organization where they can grow.

At ON Point, we know nothing went according to plan in 2020. While so many things changed, the need for strong leadership never wavered. Being self-aware enough to continue your leadership development will go a long way, no matter what 2021 brings.

If you’d like to see how ON Point can help you take your leadership skills to the NextLevel in 2021, contact us. We’re all about mentoring people and making new connections.

Kindness benefits the giver too. Teams who are kind to one another grow strong together. And let’s face it – as the pandemic drags on – and we wait patiently for a vaccine kindness takes on a whole new meaning. It just feels good to be kind and show appreciation for those who matter to us – because they matter now more than ever.

In a normal year, your team would probably be planning the final details for your holiday party. Or maybe it would already be on the calendar. Leaders typically use holiday parties to show their appreciation for their team. And while it may look profoundly different this year, there is no reason why you can’t do that this year. Here are four creative ideas for taking your show of appreciation to the next level this year. All they take is some creativity. And maybe Zoom.

1. Start a shoutout thread. Send a shoutout to a team member over a group email or via group chat or Slack. Instead of props for a job well done, shout out an act of kindness. Maybe they helped you figure out one of the dozens of technical hiccups we’ve all encountered this year. Or perhaps, they listened to you vent about the perils of working from home. Shout it out – and then encourage your team to follow suit.

2. Schedule a Zoom happy hour or lunch for your team – your treat. Surprise them with lunch delivery or have them expense their favorite take-out. Relax as a team and enjoy the meal together. And don’t talk about work.

If you choose a happy hour, consider sending a “Happy Hour Care Package” using a service like Sendoso.

3. Keep your team motivated by sending your favorite leadership book. It’s a nice way to show your appreciation and also let them know that you already recognize their leadership skills.

4. Teams that show thanks together, stay and grow together. Our communities are in great need during this time which means there are plentiful volunteering opportunities! Get together as a team and give back. Check out your local United Way for local volunteering opportunities. If you’d like to keep it virtual create a virtual fundraiser and work together as a team to get the word out. If you’re feeling competitive, the person who raises the most gets an additional PTO day!

At ON Point, we know we’re all in this together. 2020 is an unforgettable year. Amid all of the darkness, we’ve had a chance to see what matters. We know you matter – and we’re grateful to have the chance to lead you during this time. And we’ll stay here – supporting you through it all, whether it’s coaching, leadership seminars, or just by giving you something inspiring to read.

October is Emotional Wellness Month and World Mental Health Day was on October 10th. Here’s how ON Point is recognizing mental health challenges and providing solutions.

Some call it “the other pandemic of 2020.” We retreated to our homes – isolating ourselves from friends and family, we felt the stress. As we pivoted from office work to remote work, we felt the anxiety. Disruptions do that – that’s why we’ve talked about it so much here at ON Point. We know that recognizing these challenges can help us all move forward.

We hear about COVID every day for about eight months. But, what about the other challenges. What about the mental health challenges that are affecting so many of us right now?

According to a study published in July by the Kaiser Family Foundation

 

  • 53% of adults report that worry and stress over COVID has negatively affected their mental health
  • 36% of adults reported difficulty sleeping
  • 32% reported difficulty eating
  • 12% reported an increase in alcohol or substance use
  • 12% reported an increase in chronic conditions

 

Mental health crises are another pandemic. It’s not surprising. We all experienced a major shift in our lives. They’ve changed forever. So what do we do about it? How do we take care of our mental health as well as we’re attending to our physical health right now?

There are simple things you can do each day to improve your mental health and maintain a positive outlook – before things get serious. Exercise, meditation and hobbies are all good choices for your well-being. Many people choose to work with health and wellness coaches. These professionals can help you put together a playbook to tackle stress and anxiety.

 

Here at ON Point, CEO Pam Borton is a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach who’s worked with organizations and teams to help develop the resiliency necessary to face tough opponents and tough times.

The National Board Certification credential (NBC-HWC), in collaboration with the National Board of Medical Examiners, represents this profession’s highest standard and is based on extensive research and specialized training, education, and assessment of the coaches who have met NBHWC’s specific criteria and standards. As a certified Health & Wellness coach, Pam provides a game plan that guides her clients, teams and companies through change, crisis, succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, resiliency, well-being, emotional intelligence and mental wellness. Pam has worked closely with first responders, law enforcement commands and managers, and the military where they experience unique pressures, stress, fear, anxiety, and PTSD based on their roles.

For individuals, our approach is customized to each client including a personalized strategic action plan, clear goals and objectives, accountability, transparency, communication, and practical tools to improve overall health and well-being.

Team success is directly linked to the resilience, well-being, empathy, and cohesion of the individuals. The healthier the individuals, the stronger and more successful the team. We help leaders develop high-value, high-performing teams and motivated and engaged employees.

Fully leveraging the health of an organization requires on-going focus, discipline, strategy and effort by CEO’s and their teams. Our team coaches design and lead a unique and proven process that will ensure the long-term establishment of culture, team, and organizational health.

Let’s face it. 2020 has been tough. Perhaps our toughest foe ever. It’s going to affect our mental health – and the health of those around us. But there are resources available to us when the going gets really tough. And we’ve got coaches like Pam Borton to help us build resilience to get through them too.

If you’re interested in building resilience by working with a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, contact us today.

If you’re concerned about a serious mental health problem, the CDC has a list of resources. If stress and anxiety are significantly impacting your routine and ability to function, reach out to your regular health care provider. They can prescribe medication, refer you to a psychologist or counselor who specializes in mental health conditions.

Individuals, teams, and organizations continue to face numerous challenges due to the pandemic while living in a world of unknowns and crises. As a leader, you are most likely navigating individuals who are still adjusting to working from home, some while also overseeing distance learning, teams nervous about the future, a limited workforce, and moving business targets, to name a few. If you want to continue to be effective this year, you need to empathize with your employees – but that doesn’t mean that you have to let everyone off the hook. You can give grace and still push the business forward. Remember, as a leader you are still responsible for producing results.

So, how do you do both? How do you support your team looking to you in this time of uncertainty for support, guidance, and insight while also staying focused on business results? As with most things in life, balance is essential. If you’re communicating well, employees should have no problem coming to you when they have extenuating circumstances. At the same time, if you’re clear about deliverables, they’ll continue to know your expectations of them despite their new situation. Swinging the pendulum too far toward empathy risks your bottom line, and too far towards business puts relationships and culture at risk.

Here are our 5 top tips for maintaining a healthy balance between empathy and accountability to keep your team and organization ON Point.

 

Communication

Continue to communicate with your team about significant business changes due to COVID that impact them. How long will they be working from home? Are they still launching this product or service they have been working on for months? Is there a new team member they need to onboard? You may not always have the answer – and it is okay to say you don’t know at this time. Your team will appreciate hearing from you directly, maintaining an open level of communication while creating space for empathy. Express to your team that you understand how challenging this time is and how the internal changes affect them.

 

Redirect the Energy

Reminding your team, and yourself, of the long-term vision is a great way to redirect the energy. It’s often not the actual goal that is changing, but the steps to get there and the timeline. Your team must continue to understand their work’s value and how it plays into the bigger picture to stay motivated.

 

Measurables

It’s easier to hold people accountable when they know what they responsible for. Now is the time to ensure project requests, tasks, and goals are SMART. When you have specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals, your team not only has a clear picture of what is expected of them, but it also gives you a straightforward, unbiased platform to provide feedback on – whether positive or negative.

 

Be Human

Not all communication is a conversation. Humans naturally crave connection, which is hard to come by during a pandemic – a time when we need it most. Set aside time to connect human-to-human with your team members. Ask how they are and how you can help support them in a judgment-free zone. Share your own vulnerabilities. Remember, we are all going through this together.

 

Set the Pace

As a leader, you set the pace for your team. If your team sees you pivoting with intent and problem-solving during this time, they are likely to mirror you. Unfortunately, the same happens when you are rattled, distracted, and indecisive. If your team sees you extending empathy to others, they will likely extend the same compassion to their peers and direct reports. By setting the pace, you are modeling what you expect of your team and cultivating culture.

Finding the balance between empathy and accountability can be tricky and will not happen overnight, but it is essential to move your business forward.

This is a marathon, not a sprint. When COVID shut everything down in March, employers and workers alike looked ahead in two-week segments, recognizing the fluidity of the situation. And here we are in month five with no end in sight. When you tell yourself that a drastic change will only last two weeks, it’s easy to stomach. But eventually, you end up wondering how much longer you can look forward two weeks.

The reality that COVID isn’t leaving anytime soon is hitting hard. COVID fatigue has settled in. And along with it, work from home fatigue. According to CNBC, 69% of employees are experiencing work-from-home burnout symptoms. Yet, 59% of them are taking less time off and, 42% are not setting aside any time to decompress.

Parents, once accustomed to sending their children to daycare or school before commuting to work, now find themselves juggling work, child care, and distance learning in one place. And while we all hoped that things would go back to normal by the fall, it’s crystal clear that that is not going to happen.

We’re experiencing a paradigm shift. And we must adapt. But first, we need to combat work-from-home burnout and COVID fatigue. Forbes has a few suggestions to help you get started.

Create a routine and stick with it.

Structure your work-from-home day in much the same way as you did when you worked at the office. Get up at the same time, have your meals at the same time and exercise at the same time. If you had a commute, consider going for a walk during that time to create a feeling of transition from home to the office or from the office back home. Establish a definite start and stop time for your workday.

Define your role.

Using the same tools you used to define your role in the office, take time to assess your role in this new environment. You may have the same responsibilities to your team, but you might also be juggling those tasks with your role as a parent, spouse or caregiver. How do these dynamics affect how you work remotely?

Setting clear expectations for yourself and your role in this new setting will help alleviate the stress that comes with uncertainty.

Take breaks.

Chances are you didn’t work the whole time you were at the office. You took breaks to chat with co-workers or simply to let your mind rest. Taking breaks while working from home is just as important. Watch a fun video or listen to something funny. Read something unrelated to your job.

If your role requires you to have a lot of meetings on Zoom, schedule them with a 10-15 minute break between them. The short break will give you time to prepare for the next meeting. And if you can, choose phone meetings over Zoom to prevent screen fatigue.

Use break time for a quick check-in and connection with your family members. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a good break – so you go back to work feeling refreshed.

And make your weekends “weekends” again. When you work from home, it’s easy for days to lose their meaning. When you give yourself a couple of days away from work and technology each week, you’ll be more productive in the long run.

Stay informed.

According to the University of California at Davis, it’s important to say informed about difficult situations and also be mindful of overwhelm. UC Davis recommends focusing on the numbers because that helps us focus on what we can control. At the same time, you want to limit triggers – limit the amount of news you listen to – and make sure it comes from trusted sources.

Stay away from social media arguments. Often, contrary information comes from people experiencing COVID fatigue themselves. Remind loved ones that this will be over soon if we all follow the guidelines. And if that doesn’t work, model good behavior and be kind.

Always remember, you can’t control anyone but yourself.

These are challenging times for everyone – perhaps the most challenging we’ve seen in our lifetimes. But we’re in this together. We can get through this together. And our team at ON Point is here to help you finish the marathon.

Tips you and your team can carry with you after the pandemic is over.

When we learned the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic back in March, there was no way to gauge how long it would last. We focused on what we had to do in the present, weighed the worst-case scenarios and waited for it all to unfold. And we waited. And waited.

And here we are, in July – still waiting. Most businesses have started back up, though many of us are working from home. Meetings over Zoom, Google Teams, or FaceTime punctuate our daily lives, and we struggle to fit childcare and family obligations into the new normal. Meanwhile, our teams still look to us to lead. We face the difficult task of keeping our teams focused while maintaining our own.

Here at ON Point, we know the struggle is real. This month, we’ll focus on maintaining focus in our own lives, as business leaders, and in our teams.

 

Maintain your focus.

 

Focusing on work can be difficult when you’re working remotely. Companies pivoted quickly to an online format, and teams got into the groove of Zoom calls. But, now we’re in it for the long haul. Parents wonder what school will look like this fall and check the daily news to see where the pandemic will spike next. Distractions are everywhere.

As a leader, it’s your job to keep your team ON Point. But first, you need to take care of your focus. Keep a regular work schedule so that you have time for relaxation. Set small daily goals and give yourself some grace if your productivity is down. Take care of your mental health. It’s normal to be stressed out. Acknowledge that so that you can take steps to relieve the stress.

Divert your attention to other things. Focus on the present by filling your day with meaningful activities. Now is a great time to learn a new language or a new hobby. Find new ways to connect with family and friends. And, if you’ve got a seemingly impossible task before you, focus on the upsides of completing the task.

 

Maintain your team’s focus.

 

Leaders strike a balance between acknowledging team members’ anxieties while motivating them to stay focused on their work. Accepting the uncertainty, keeping lines of communication open, paring down meetings to keep them focused and productive, and directing your teams focus on the company’s future all help to cultivate team focus.

And, even though it’s the first time we’ve all been through something like this, it’s not the first time humanity has been through something like this. Often, times of isolation and uncertainty blossom into periods of creativity and innovation, just as the Bubonic Plague gave birth to the Italian Renaissance.  Think about making space in your organization for more creativity and innovation.

As Next Level leaders, you can carry the skills cultivated during this time into a more certain future. By focusing on the benefits of these unprecedented times and leading your team to do so as well, you’ll keep everyone ON Point. And, if you need direction, check out our past blogs and the wealth of resources available here at ON Point Next Level.