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WFH feels like ‘hamster on a wheel’, say women


Express News Service

While Work From Home (WFH) gave people the opportunity to spend more time with their families, the situation adversely affected the working women. A study by Pink Ladder, an organisation that is tapping career growth in female professionals, revealed that four out of 10 working women in India were facing anxiety and stress issues owing to the WFH situation. Purnima Sapru, 42, Senior Merchandiser, Noida, says, “We are working from home, working for home and working at home as well.

There are so many chores to take care of apart from office deadlines, virtual meetings, and workshops, that by the end of the day, WFH seems more exhaustive than working in the office set-up. Adding to it are the children’s virtual classes, and their pile of homework. The working hours seem to never end.” The Pink Ladder study covered 250+ women across Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune and Kolkata, which included working professionals across various levels in organisations from diverse industries. Karthik Nagendra, Co-founder, Pink Ladder and certified life coach, says, “Micromanaging on the part of managers has increased, which has contributed to the stress levels of women employees.

As a result, their motivation levels are going down and hampering their productivity.” While 67 per cent of the managers fared well in respecting work timings, it was found that a fairly large section (33 per cent) did not. Women revealed facing issues such as sleeplessness, and increase in BP levels because they had to manage both home and work, and are even suffering depression. The report states that over 50 per cent women are facing motivational challenges in the WFH scenario.

Sapru already had nagging weight issues and the months of lockdown only added to it. “I couldn’t go for my walks, and couldn’t hit the gym, and follow my fitness routine because there was no time for it,” she adds. Every day, Dr Preeti Singh, Senior Consultant at the Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy department, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram, gets four-five cases of women dealing with stress. “They often have a feeling that they may not be able to sustain the job and may get fired any time.

So, the organisation needs to maintain flexibility, rather being right because the situation is so dynamic and fluid right now. I have recently come across some corporates who have put aside a budget for ensuring mental health needs of their employees, which includes consultation for the psychotherapy sessions or a psychiatrist review, psychological testing for children and family, which would be a game changer for building motivation and productivity of the organisation,” adds Singh.

Janakpuri-based Academic Counsellor at IGNOU Study Center, Archna Mamgain, 42, feels like a “hamster on a wheel” with her WFH situation. “Only the things that are of topmost priority get my attention and time, rest is delayed for another day. However, all said and done, I have developed a deep sense of Stockholm syndrome for WFH. Maybe my resilience and coping up mechanism has made me enjoy the chaos I am living in.

One part of me desires to be back at work, but the other says I have the comfort of looking after my child. Working in my comfort zone has made me complacent.” The report also stated that 75 per cent women observed that the decrease in performance and drop in motivation, increased the amount of time required for each task.

Pining to go to office
Himali Makker, 37, Marketing professional and an entrepreneur from Gurugram, says, “When women are out at work, household responsibilities are divided amongst the family, but if the woman is in the house, it’s her job to give the best, while also performing at her workplace. So, it gets worse at times with work pressure and household expectations.”

This is the reason a lot of women want to go back to office. Digital content creator Aakriti Singh, 24, is one of them, who wants to get out of home “for work and meetings, meeting colleagues, getting a more extensive perspective on creating content, embracing the beauty of nature, and no isolation. I hope that life gets back to normal soon.” Nagendra feels that from a policy standpoint, companies need to have better clarity on work from home and working hours.

“Second, and most important aspect, is training the managers on how to manage remote teams, especially female employees because they share a large chunk of responsibilities at home as well,” he shares. Dr Shweta Sharma, Clinical Psychologist, Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurugram, is seeing six-seven patients with WFHassociated problems. “People who were living in a happy in relationship are fighting over petty things.

The main problem with working women is that they are complaining that if the couple is sharing everything then why are there gender specific roles? They used to discuss these things with their friend circle and colleagues, which has stopped now.” Dr Sharma says women should give importance to their health, “me time”, and grooming. “You cannot be available all the time, and by practicing this you can make the people around you independent. This will benefit them and add to their life skills,” she concludes.

PROOF IN NUMBERS

50% Over 50 per cent are facing motivational challenges in the wfh scenario.

33% Felt that managers were not respecting them during WFH 33 per cent

51% Negative Impact of WFH on motivation levels 51 per cent

57% Pay gap will not be bridged in the new normal 57 per cent

40% Felt stress and anxiety during WFH situation 40 per cent

17% Worried about job loss 17 per cent



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