Could 'soft-launching' your working week be the answer to avoiding burnout?

It’s hard to believe there was once a time when we collectively agreed that changing your Facebook relationship status to ‘it’s complicated’ was a good idea, but 2010 was a different time.

Nowadays, it’s all about soft launching your beau: a subtle reveal by way of an extra glass on a dinner table, or a mysterious caption that whispers, ‘I’m seeing someone.’

This way, there are less eyes on the relationship, less pressure to be a success.

But this approach doesn’t just apply to our romantic bonds – it can help you at work too.

Since Covid sent all but frontline workers home, employees have grown used to working from home.

But as the pandemic fades further into the past, employers are expecting more office time from their workforce – from February to May 2022, the percentage of people working exclusively from home fell to just 14%.

And it’s not going down too well amongst workers, with high-profile examples of people quitting over back-to-work policies.

An Apple exec left his job when he was expected to return to the office for three days a week. Leaving a note, he wrote: ‘I believe strongly that more flexibility would have been the best policy for my team.’

There’s the fear that the improved work-life balance reported by 78% of hybrid workers, and improved wellbeing experienced by 74%, could soon become a distant memory.

But that’s where soft-launching comes in. It’s no secret that Monday mornings are difficult – made even more so if you haven’t had to get up at the crack of dawn on a Monday since pre-pandemic times.

But if you can soft-launch by working from home that first day, it can ease you into the week. As is the way with the relationship soft launch, there’s less pressure – a chance to slowly adjust to the five days ahead rather than bursting through those office days, all systems go.

Charlotte Davies, career expert at LinkedIn, says: ‘Choosing to ‘soft launch’ your work week is becoming a popular way to achieve work-life balance for some employees. It’s important to recognise that quite often this stems from feelings of burnout, and can be a symptom of feeling overwhelmed. 

‘LinkedIn research from January showed that 1 in 5 (23%) employees have worked longer hours, and as a result, many are experiencing burnout – a combined hangover from the stressful pandemic years, heightened by the current economic uncertainty.’

Soft launching can also make those dreaded end-of-the-weekend blues that bit easier.

‘Burnout is leading people to experience the ‘Sunday scaries’ and a cycle of stress and pressure that makes many feel daunted by the start of the week and what it brings,’ says Charlotte.

If you are experiencing feeling burnt out, talk to your employer about hybrid working and the option to soft-launch your week.

Charlotte says: ‘It’s important to address how you can avoid feeling this way in the first place, firstly by speaking to your manager about your workload and taking steps to help balance out your working week.

‘From setting realistic to-do-lists and implementing boundaries, to taking frequent breaks, there are many ways you can take back control and feel confident in the week ahead.’

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