‘Toxic productivity’ is a phrase that many of us may have also seen across our social platforms recently, focusing on that unhealthy desire to be productive at all times, at all costs. Essentially, pushing ourselves until we burn out isn’t actually productive at all.

Social media influencer and entrepreneur Grace Beverley, has been making a conscious effort to bring conversations surrounding burnout to the forefront recently. She has launched both a podcast and a book titled ‘working hard or hardly working’ where she discusses the pressure of always-on working and the importance of not pushing yourself to the point of burnout.

During the pandemic, people in all lines of work from a huge variety of industries were forced to pack up their offices and begin working at home in order to protect themselves and their peers from spreading the virus. For some, working at home was a welcome change, allowing for more flexibility with hours, child care, and abolishing the daily commute, whereas many found working from home to be a negative experience, they were unable to switch off from work mode, and craved human interaction.

Productivity is a mental state, as well as physical

As touched on previously, the influencer marketing sphere, which is largely based online and driven through social media, is an industry that adopted the ‘work from home’ ‘flexible working’ approach from it’s very beginning.

Content creators themselves, for example, have always had the freedom to make a solid income from the comfort of their own bedroom. But is this a positive thing? Or are routine and human interaction important elements that allow us to thrive both professionally and personally.

What do the industry professionals have to say about preventing burnout?

Talking Influence journalist, Neve Fear-Smith has spoken to various associates within the influencer marketing sphere to learn more about what it’s like working in a mainly online industry and the tools that they put in place to avoid burnout.

Sanna Odmark, Head of Marketing at Cure Media says: “At Cure Media we recently sent out a survey to all employees, asking what their preferred working situation would look like post-covid. Almost everyone answered they’d like to work from home one or even two days a week, but still have the option to work from the office as well.

I think we’ll see a lot of these hybrid working models in the future – it’s nice to have a couple of days when you CAN be more flexible, save time on commuting etc., but most of us probably miss our colleagues and the energy and inspiration you get from being at a physical office.”

Lucy Loveridge, Managing Partner at Gleam Futures says: “I’ve found the risk of burnout heightened because of lockdown, it’s been a tough 18 months, and being able to be glued to my laptop 24/7 is not good for someone who really enjoys their work.” Lucy provides the following tips:

  • Turn off notifications for ‘busy’ apps like WhatsApp and Instagram; if it’s urgent, they’ll call.
  • Get outside every day – my husband and I do the same walk (arguably we should vary it a little) every morning.
  • Do things when you want to (work out, eat, read a book, call a friend) rather than when you used to (evenings or weekends) – I refuse to be wedded to my laptop for 8 hours straight.
  • If you can, turn a Zoom into a phone call and take it whilst walking.
  • Do things you can ‘complete’ like reading a book, clearing out a cupboard, clearing your desktop.
  • Take your annual leave! Even if you just sit on the sofa and watch Netflix.
  • Create an ‘end of day’ ritual so you know you’re moving from the working day to personal time – mine usually involves a glass of wine but whatever works for you.

Rahul Titus, Head of Influence at Ogilvy says: “Whilst working from home has its perks (my productivity has increased significantly), it also has its fair share of disadvantages – longer hours, limited human interaction, and those all-important water cooler moments. It is really important to acknowledge that working from home is not easy. Burnout is a real possibility and we need to talk about it.

“I have an open dialogue with my team about striking the right balance – do not underestimate how powerful an honest conversation can be! This along with access to initiatives including flexi working hours, Zoom free Friday afternoons and our ongoing partnerships with MIND goes a long way in helping the team stay motivated and avoid burnout.

“Weare also moving towards a 3:2 working model, encouraging everyone who feels comfortable to come in two days a week and work remotely for the other three. This, we believe, should give us the right balance between the home and the office. I am personally really looking forward to going back to the office – Zoom team drinks will never replace having a drink with my team on the Ogilvy rooftop bar.”

Joele Forrester, Global Marketing Manager at Billion Dollar Boy says: “Many people don’t know they have burnout, so it is important to be aware of the telltale signs. It is also important to note that anyone, at any age can suffer from burnout, and can experience burnout differently.

“Working in the influencer marketing industry can be super exciting and creative but also very fast-paced, making it hard to switch off. Fortunately, the agency I work at, Billion Dollar Boy, has forums where mental health issues can openly be discussed with team members – which is often the first step – and has a very supportive environment.

“Stress manifests itself in the body and so really trying to form habits to detach yourself from work is key to feeling grounded and switching off, which can be hard to do when working from home.

“Breathwork is a great way to help reduce stress. Often we hold our breath when stressed or over breathe, causing our body to enter fight or flight mode leaving us feeling exhausted. As stress manifests itself in the body, mindfully moving your body daily, and noticing how you’re feeling throughout the day is important in helping you recognize and notice what may be causing your stress, and how certain situations make you feel. Don’t forget to make time for friends and always turn your phone on silent or off before and during bedtime!”

Hopefully, these tips and insights from those who work in the influencer marketing industry in roles that are, for the most part, based online, will allow you to implement some changes. Creating a work/life balance that works for you is essential in regards to preventing burnout. The best work is always executed when you have a clear mind and a happy working environment.

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