While Covid pandemic has altered the way people and organisation live their life, sudden transition from in person to remote working has caused a serious blow to work life balance. There has been positives and negatives of this transition. It has provided an opportunity to organisations and business leaders in particular to understand the importance of work life balance, though made harder to achieve. The situation has pushed organisations towards prioritizing the employee well being and rolling out policies to take care of their physical and mental health. The negative has been that working remotely has eaten up the personal time of employees that was ordinarily meant for self and family care and blurred the personal and work time boundaries which has left majority of employees feeling burn out, overworked and stressed as working hours are increased.
The question comes here as how to manage this balance as remote working is going to stay in some form or the other in future and how HR can help out employees in this respect. It is easy to preach than practice that employees should separately create a designated office space in home, set time boundaries, take breaks, establish a routine, over communicate with team and seniors about needs and monitor emotions. Reality differs. In a small home where both husband wife are working professionals with children also pushed to online education, how all that can be practiced by keeping time and space boundaries and also managing the routine home requirements? It is impossible to achieve. Studies and surveys have revealed that due to these unimaginable conditions, most women have left jobs because they were unable to take on dual spiralling workload in such adverse situations when it comes to meeting family and work needs. It is critical that HR carefully reflect on ways as to how women are encouraged to continue along with helping them to attain the balance.
It has provided an opportunity to organisations and business leaders in particular to understand the importance of work life balance, though made harder to achieve. The situation has pushed organisations towards prioritizing the employee well being and rolling out policies to take care of their physical and mental health.
It will be unreasonable to throw the ball in the employee’s court to expect that he will have to manage this balance of his own. HR professionals also have to roll out employee friendly and flexible policies so that employees get support and navigate the transition smoothly. A change in approach in essential. Ensuring that hybrid work culture continues in a balanced way should not be a responsibility that rests entirely on employees. Achieving balance in work life has now become essential. It is vital for business to sustain growth and Govt. should also mull over bringing out certain policy to regulate remote working.
July 2021 edition cover story on work life balance in pandemic is an attempt to understand the issue from its depth, what employees and organisations can do to achieve the balance and possible future of this factor after pandemic. The veteran HR leaders who are at the helm of the affairs in their organisations have penned down their thoughts, that are revealing, insightful and interesting.