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Your New Bosses in the Pandemic: How the Home Office Boundaries Have Blurred

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Devinder Sharma, partner director, Httpool Indonesia reflects on the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on office life and the continue juggle of work/home responsibilities

Your New Bosses in the Pandemic: How the Home Office Boundaries Have Blurred

The ongoing pandemic has prompted an unimaginable change in our lifestyle. Our fast-paced lives suddenly came to a standstill, and work-from-home became the new normal. For over a year now, maximum employees have been working from their homes in pajamas attending meetings virtually over video calls. Who would’ve thought, right?

If we consider pre-Covid times, working from home wasn’t considered a very approachable option in most organisations. It was assumed that working from home leads to inconsistent communication and a drop in productivity levels. Due to the lockdown, organisations were left with little to no option other than to initiate working from home. Reports suggest that the working hours in this scenario have increased to 3+ hours daily. But has it made the work-life balance equilibrium better, or has the balance fallen off the wheel even more? Well, that’s a tricky question to answer. It’s undoubtedly a blessing to be sitting comfortably at home alongside your family and working. It’s almost like they are our colleagues now who are well-versed with our work, are aware of the meetings lined up for the day, and take great interest in finding the outcome of a meaningful discussion. It does create an environment that allows our family members to understand our work and responsibilities better as they have invariably become a part of it. However, with mounting to-do lists and a string of meetings lined up for the entire day, work and leisure time have merged drastically. The constant juggling between work and home responsibilities has given rise to fatigue, mental stress, and physical exhaustion. Unfortunately, the overtime has been normalised, leading to a collapse of work-life boundaries. As per the Microsoft Work Trend Index Report of 2020, one-third of workers cited an increased burnout rate during the ongoing pandemic. A total of 92.2% of the employees are waiting to go back to their routine of going to the office. On the other hand, the Deloitte Millennial Global Survey of 2020 showed that 60% of the population would prefer a permanent provision of work-from-home. While the preference varies from person to person, it indeed is the topic of discussion as WFH conversations rose by 375% on Twitter alone.

A few organisations understand the repercussions of this imbalance and adapt to employee first policies to overcome the challenges. Chevron Corporation, Culligan Water, and Cloud data protection unicorn Druva are amongst the organisations that have taken initiatives to impart holistic wellness. Their employee assistance programs offer counselling and therapy to the employees experiencing anxiety and fear. A program like this breaks the stigma around mental health and establishes that companies are constantly rising in support of the well-being of their people. Devils Backbone Brewing Company, Ernst & Young, and Httpool have incorporated creative ways to engage with the employees through happy-hour sessions on Zoom, interactive webinars on maintaining work-life balance, initiating a virtual book club, and organising games online. Swiggy, PayU, BYJU are some of the start-ups that have announced timeouts to employees in the form of the four-day work week, taking paid leaves during quarantine, Covid privilege leaves for an ill family member, and so on. Many brands like Tata, Zomato, and Paytm have promised to offer the salaries of deceased employees to their family members. The list goes on and on, and the measures taken by the organisations are undoubtedly a great example of an inclusive work ecosystem that paves the way for compassion and job satisfaction.

Employees must realise that work duties should be carried out efficiently, but it shouldn’t hamper happiness, fulfilment, and mental peace. Finding moments of stillness amidst work, taking short breaks after a few hours, defining a work-time, and sticking to it are some of the measures individuals must determine for themselves. Efficiency clubbed with an effective routine is the key to attaining that balance without missing anything important. Remember, achieving a work-life balance is not a worthy goal, rather an essential one.

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Httpool Digital Private Limited, Fri, 25 Jun 2021 12:45:56 GMT