Work-life balance during COVID
Within the space of a year, our lives have undergone a paradigm change. With physical spaces shuttered as a precautionary measure during the global crisis, our work lives have transformed beyond recognition. While the everyday morning commute ends at the couch, it is also essential to recognise that the sudden change has taken its toll on the concept of maintaining a work-life balance. Join us in taking a closer look at what this translated into for the workforce of today:
Work-from-home in the pandemic era
For the longest time, employers have remained hesitant to adopt the work-from-home model out of fear that employees would slack off without adequate monitoring as well as concerns around the misuse of company information. However, the onset of a global pandemic made millions of the workforce shift to a remote working lifestyle practically overnight. With professional and personal lives increasingly welded together, the fallout has occurred in the form of greater burnout and a poor work-life balance. In a recent survey, around half of the respondents admitted to working significantly longer hours than the standard work hours. Feeling the pressure to be reachable around the clock, many now address work emails and customer issues well beyond work hours.
While the phrase “the new normal” has been bandied about with increasing frequency in the past year, it also pays to note that adjusting to life in this new normal is different for people across the global workforce. Due to conventional gender roles within the average Indian household, married women often bear the burden of household duties and raising children alongside their work responsibilities. Despite spouses increasingly working on sharing the load, the main responsibility often rests on the shoulders of the female workforce, with many admitting to facing a work-family conflict in everyday life.
The work-from-home lifestyle has also shed further light on the inadequacies and age discrimination baked within the system. With digital communication serving as an essential in the new era of remote working, companies are known to favour younger candidates as opposed to older workers. With the age-related decline in physical health as well as stress over adapting to the new remote working lifestyle, the pandemic has taken an especially harsh toll on senior citizens in the workforce.
Remote working: Here to stay?
With the global rollout of the vaccine enabling offices to reopen, a question mark remains posed over the future of the workforce. The work-from-home experiment of the past year appears to be successful, with many reporting an increase in productivity outside the confines of a conventional office. As per Microsoft’s 2021 report, 73% of employees will be looking for flexible working options in the future, giving rise to a hybrid work model that could revolutionise the future of working.
In light of an ever-evolving future, this blog aims to highlight the need to prioritise employee welfare as we head into the next normal.