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#WFH: Do You Suffer from Burnout?

Video has made virtual communication much better. Effectively communicating, however, usual-ly means writing expectations down and distributing them ahead of time. This allows people to plan their responses and questions. When we have the opportunity use video conferencing, remember the fewer the people the better. One to one works much better than one to many in the virtual environment. When you end a communication session, wrap it up with an action plan that is clear and concise. Let the participating parties know exactly what is expected. This helps to build trust.

Burnout can be a problem in the virtual work-place. Extreme absenteeism, substance abuse and stress related health problems can all be a result of burnout. Burnout is what happens when humans do not have boundaries and companies expect people to be “on” 24/7/365. Virtual workers can feel very isolated, and unclear expectations can add to this stress. Virtual workers can feel invisible. Some virtual workers complain that their work is less appreciated. Burnout can be avoided and many of these difficulties subverted with strong management and a solidly executed communication approach. Regular communication and networking will allow a manager to create a supportive environment that replicates the informal professional development processes the traditional company environment provides. This can provide a sense of belonging and security, and it can ease the stress often associated with virtual worker burnout.

No doubt, the virtual workplace in its many forms will continue to grow. The millennial generation, now the largest part of the workforce, is demanding it. Our understanding of human inter-actions will continue to evolve and support this. Currently, we have both synchronous and asynchronous communication. Social presence plays a large role in either kind of connectivity. Social presence theory has been around for decades and is based on sharing emotions and personal interactions. Other connection models, like social information theory, suggest that if enough information is shared, strong relationships will develop (Warkentin,1999).

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