COVID-19 and work life balance

Shalinee Tripathi Anveshan, Issue 4

A one-size-fits-all WFH policy isn’t the right answer, even if companies are switching from on-premise to remote working overnight due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has made work from home (WFH) a mandatory policy for most companies around the world. Many renowned companies previously shied away from remote work are now eagerly adopting this policy.

The COVID-19 crisis revealed several unexpected positives over the last few months: it proved, for one thing, that many companies truly prioritized their employees’ well-being and are ready and willing to act on that value. It also showed that companies are prepared to match their health and safety measures with benefits that help employees cope better with the situation, from enhanced medical insurance to additional caregiver leave to increased generosity around flexible working arrangements.

But at the same time, it has made work-life balance even less achievable than previously, as working from home erased the boundaries between the time that should be dedicated to work and the time that should be reserved for oneself.

But this means that employees can no longer choose whether to come into the office or work from home. Regardless of their personality type and preference of work environment, remote work is literally the “new normal” at this time. The pandemic not only endangers human life but also encumbers their daily life. The severity of a pandemic and its associated uncertainty become a stressor that affects individuals’ mental health (Fiorillo and Gorwood, 2020; Holmes et al., 2020; Pfefferbaum and North, 2020).  When dealing with stressors from the external environment such as disease outbreaks or natural disasters, each individual undertakes different coping strategies and behavioural response (Taha et al., 2014).  

‘Work’ and ‘life’ have become indistinct together-

Surveys from around the globe are surfacing an unhappy trend: even as people save time on their shorten, they are putting it right back into their work. Depending on where employees are located in the world, their working days might be anything from one to four hours longer as they spend additional time in meetings and check-ins, attempt to prove their productivity, or simply lose track of time because the working day no longer has clear boundaries.Deborah Woollard, Cisco’s Vice President of HR for the APJC region, described it as ensuring that employees have the permission to balance themselves. “It’s our job at the back end to provide the support and tools so that if someone is mentally stressed and needs an outlet, or has financial difficulties, they have some way of dealing with it,” she said. Although some might interpret the remote work setting as a chance to buckle down and use free time for maximum productivity, others might feel overwhelmed by the number of changes in such a short period of time. When it comes to creating balance, we should first things we need to do is manage our expectations and give yourself understanding and forgiveness.