New Delhi: As COVID hit the world last year, many companies were forced to shut down their offices and work remotely. Now, after a year, people have slowly started adapting to the Work From Home culture.
Sharing his experience, Mohit Gupta, who works at an IT firm, said there are both pros and cons of working from home. “While this has ruined work-life balance, I’m thankful since it has kept me and my family safe.”
Agreeing with Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index which says that high productivity is masking an exhausted workforce, he said, “I had so much work today that I couldn’t even take a bath. Office hours have stretched so much that I’m occupied from 9 am till around 11 pm due to which I’m unable to give time to my family.”
Gupta (35), who manages a team of around 15 people, pointed out that a lot of employees lack office essentials. “Being in the IT sector, we faced several technical challenges. Some people are not tech savvy, some don’t have a laptop, while some don’t have Internet, so there are several roadblocks in working outside the office space.”
“Now people have become aware of technologies like Zoom calls, VPN, Anydesk and this has equipped us to work remotely if and when the need arises in the future too,” he added.
For Payal, a teacher at a government school, managing household chores and handling her two-year-old daughter alongside taking online classes gets extremely tedious.
Saying that working from home is very difficult for a married woman, she shared, “There is a lot of household work in the mornings and that is when I have to take online classes as well. Sometimes I take e-webinar sessions while working in the kitchen.”
Tuhina Pal, who works in the corporate sector, shared details of her workation (work+vacation), “Last year, I went to Satpura National Park for a week and worked from the resort. I carried my laptop and made sure of a good WiFi connection.”
“While WFH gave me opportunities which couldn’t have been possible when working from the office, it has its negatives,” she said. “Earlier, we used to get a one-hour break but now there is no concept of a break. Sometimes I’ve to work on weekends and holidays too.”
Giving an employer’s perspective, Shikhar Chadha, CEO of travel firm The Tarzan Way, said, “Initially, WFH was very difficult because we were not familiar with it. Coordinating on phone was challenging but eventually we adapted to working remotely.”
On the way ahead, he said, “As the lockdown has lifted, we will adopt a hybrid model wherein we’ll go to the office two days a week and the other days we’ll work from home. This will also save the cost of renting a big office space.”
Notably, now that Covid has subsided and people are getting vaccinated, several companies are allowing employees to decide where they want to work — in the office, remotely or a combination of the two.
As per Microsoft’s report, 73 per cent of the 30,000 workers surveyed want flexible remote work options to continue. Also, remote job postings on LinkedIn have increased over five times since the pandemic.
Chadha outlined the benefits of working remotely and said now they can hire people from across the world. “Now we have overcome the typical barriers to work like being at the same location.”
Advising on how to adapt to the new WFH culture, Mimansa Singh Tanwar, a clinical psychologist at Fortis Healthcare said, “Taking care of the basics is important like maintaining healthy routines, taking short breaks, ensuring a sleep-wake pattern, engaging in self-care activities, investing time in hobbies and spending time with family.”
She emphasised that organisations need to extend support to individuals by focusing on positive mental health outcomes, valuing employees, taking care of the workload and building team morale.