Healthy Ways To Prove Your WFH Productivity Without Burning Yourself Out

While working remotely may have been temporary for some during the pandemic, others have fully embraced the lifestyle and still continue to work from home three years later. Previously, only 6% of the workforce was remote and now, it's predicted that up to 25% of professionals will work from home by the end of 2023 (via Exploding Topics). Whether it's due to convenience, lower operating costs, or extended flexibility, both companies and their employees are reaping the benefits of a new work paradigm.


However, remote work does come with its pitfalls, like the enmeshment of work life and home life, plus blurred lines around what actually constitutes getting dressed. Proving WFH productivity can also be a large source of anxiety for remote workers, which has led to a phenomenon called productivity theater, in which employees feel the need to prove they're working and in turn, are distracted from actually working, per Vox. According to Qatalog, remote workers waste an average of 67 minutes per day proving their productivity, which can certainly lead to burnout. So, how can you prove your productivity in a healthy way as a remote worker and avoid WFH burnout? Let's take a closer look.

Offer progress updates

Clear communication is key in any work environment and when working remotely, checking in for confirmation about how and when updates are expected can relieve you of a lot of headaches. When your higher-ups know you will check in for clarification or with any questions, they'll likely be a bit more at ease. If you aren't sure how often they'd like to be updated on your progress, simply reach out to have a conversation about it to feel out a consistency that works for you both.


​​"If you make this update a standard format so it's predictable, it'll also be easier for your manager to consume," vice president of strategic alliances at virtual coaching platform BetterUp Shonna Waters, Ph.D., told Well + Good. This should give you some peace of mind also. You know when your boss is expecting to hear from you and when it's perfectly okay to just focus on your work.

Chime in and build relationships

Even though remote workers aren't in an office environment, there is typically still an avenue or two for team building and virtual socializing. And while some — ahem, introverts — may rejoice over the WFH solitude, keeping quiet on the chat boards or in virtual meetings might be contributing to your productivity anxiety. Making your presence and attendance known in small, consistent ways will likely quell some of your worries.


The office environment cannot be replicated online, but the aspects of it which benefit both the employer and the remote worker can be mirrored. You can still share morning greetings, a little chit-chat about non-work related topics, and of course, bonding with your e-workers over how you've become one with your coziest oversized sweat suit since signing up for remote work life. Encouragement, sympathy, and comradery can all still exist in the virtual realm as they do in an office atmosphere, so make sure you are there and available for the experience.

If you are meeting the expected productivity, then don't stress

One of the simplest ways to avoid WFH burnout from proving your productivity is to, well, stop. If you know you are completing the amount of work expected of you and participating in the ways you should be, then you don't have anything to prove. Easier said than done, right? But if you can channel that energy into your work instead, the results should speak for themselves. Working from home may even boost your productivity due to the absence of distractions some may find in a standard office setting. There is less small talk typically and questions can be asked directly in a private message, leaving little room to get off topic.


If you can't shake the anxiety that the people you answer to will be questioning your productivity even if you're right on track, you can always share that feeling and ask for reassurance that you're meeting your expectations.

Communicate if you won't be available during your set hours

When you are in an office building, it's obvious when you're on a bathroom break or have taken off for a bite to eat since your higher-ups can physically see you. But if you receive a message while you are on a break as a remote worker and don't respond in a timely manner, then productivity suspicions will arise. Mark yourself as away on lunch or if something comes up unexpectedly and you won't be at your computer during your set shift hours, communicate that to your team.


One of the perks of working remotely is the freedom to set your own hours, which not every company allows, but many do. If you know you'll be more productive in the evenings versus typical office hours, then explore that option with your boss. According to Qatalog, 81% of remote workers believe themselves to create better output and be more productive when they have a stronger say in when their work hours take place.

Stay off social media during work hours

While social media use may be par for the course in some jobs, use caution when posting, liking, and commenting during your work day if you're concerned about proving your WFH productivity. An Instagram story featuring your slippers and your relaxing WFH view from the balcony probably won't help your case if productivity suspicions are creeping in. Even if you are responsibly limiting social media use to your breaks, oversharing while on the clock may put you in a less-than-desirable light and it's probably best to just refrain until you sign out for the day.


If you opt to spend your work day in a coffee shop with your bestie who also happens to work remotely, be mindful of posts you might be tagged in, revealing your whereabouts — even though you are, of course, meeting your optimal productivity levels and staying focused. And hey, making a rule for yourself to sidestep social media during work hours will also literally allow you to be more present and productive.