WFH burnout is real. How to avoid it.

(CNN)Editor’s Note: A version of this story appeared in CNN’s Work Transformed newsletter. To get it in your inbox, sign up for free here.

Tell me: When was the last time you really stepped away from work and took some time just for yourself? Shut out all the noise — the email, the Slacks, the texts, the Twitter notifications, the constant worry about that big project — and just took a moment for yourself to regroup and refocus?
I’ll wait.
Still thinking?
Here’s the thing: Workplace burnout doesn’t solely happen when you’re putting in long hours at the office. It’s also a risk when you’re working from home, camped out at your kitchen table in your sweats.
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In fact, the risk could be even greater given our current situation.
One expert told me the suddenness with which so many of us were forced to start working from home — while also losing our childcare in many cases — combined with a global pandemic that seems to have no end in sight, means the risk of burnout has intensified.
Not great news. We’ve got enough on our plates to worry about.
So here are the signs of burnout and what you can do about it.
Work-life imbalance. When you were going into an office every day there was a clear distinction between your work life and personal time. But now that you don’t have a commute to mark the beginning and end of your day and your office could now be in your kitchen, you can end up working all the time if you’re not careful.
How to fight it: Set your work hours, communicate them with your boss and colleagues and then stick to them. (Yes, there will be times when you will work late, but try to make that the exception, not the rule.) It can also help to create a signal that it’s time for you to switch gears to personal time: Some people change into more comfortable clothes, go outside and hit Wiffle balls, while others go for a run or workout.
Lack of control. Employees who feel that they lack control over their schedules, interactions and time management are at risk of burning out.
How to fight it: Create a schedule that designates time for work, family and yourself — and then be sure to stick to it.
Missing social connections. Even if you’re in a crowded house, your family members might not offer the same support your colleagues did when it comes to issues with work.
How to fight it: You have to be more deliberate with your social interactions when working from home. It takes a little more effort, but continue to reach out to your co-workers: Slack them, set up a quick video check-in and lean on them the way you would at work.

Hospitals turn to VR to train doctors and nurses

Hospitals across the globe are getting an assist from virtual reality to help fill staffing shortages.
CNN’s Samantha Murphy Kelly reports that hospitals are using virtual reality to help teach skills like how to assess a patient’s symptoms or perform CPR while wearing protective gear.
This allows doctors and nurses with expertise in other fields, like knee surgery or neurology, but little or no experience in treating infectious diseases, to help with Covid-19 patients.

Just like that: $350 billion gone in a flash

Well, that didn’t take long.
It took less than two weeks for the government’s $350 billion forgivable small business loan program to be fully tapped out.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was created under the $2 trillion stimulus package and offers loan guarantees for small businesses as the economy remains on hold.
The first-come, first-served program officially launched on April 3rd and was plagued by problems from the start. A lack of guidance from the government left banks and small business owners confused.
The quick depletion wasn’t unexpected: Lenders had tens of thousands of small businesses waiting to apply before the program launched.
Read this report from CNN’s Jeanne Sahadi on what small business should do now.
There is some good news. Congress seems to be very close to adding more funds to the program.
In the meantime, here are four free resources that small business owners can take advantage of right now.

Still haven’t gotten your stimulus check?

If you are still waiting for your check to arrive from Uncle Sam — don’t panic.
Around 60 million Americans still haven’t received their payments yet, according to CNN’s Katie Lobosco.
The government sent out checks to roughly 80 million people last week, starting with those who filed their federal taxes in 2018 or 2019 and were due a refund and authorized direct deposit.
If you are wondering where your check might be, check out these five reasons you might not have received your money.

Making your small space functional…and beautiful

Being stuck inside your home for the majority of the day is tough. And when your home is small (raises hand), it can feel as if every day the walls are moving in.
But don’t worry. There are easy things you can do to make your “cozy” space more livable during the lockdown.
From tricks on how to create more privacy for all those video calls, to maximizing lighting and limiting distractions, check out this Q&A with designer and author Azby Brown.
Also, this interview with designer Kelly Wearstler gives design hacks on how to divide up spaces so you can separate work and personal areas without having to put up any walls. It also recommends some design elements you should embrace to make your home more work-friendly.

Coffee Break

Want to have a llama join your next video meeting? Even barn animals are looking to get in on the videoconferencing craze.
An animal sanctuary in California is offering an array of farm animals, including a cow, sheep, goat, llama or turkey, to make an appearance on your next live video call.
For $65, you can get a 20-minute virtual farm tour for up to six participants, and $100 will get you a 10-minute animal cameo on a corporate meeting with unlimited people.

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