How is WFH working out during New Normal?
Designation : - Assistant Professor (HRM)
Organization : - Xavier School of HRM (XaHR), Xavier University, Bhubaneswar
Other Writers : - Sneha Kamath - MBA HRM (1st Year) Xavier School of HR Management, Xavier University, Bhubaneswar, India
COVID-19 has led to increase in physical distances (social distancing) in order to prevent the spread of the virus. The corporate world has changed drastically with the outbreak of the pandemic. Earlier, work from home (WFH) was a motivating tactic, since it required a physical office space for effective, successful and collaborative work. But, in lieu of the immense challenges due to the existing scenario, an alternative reality has suddenly paved its way. Corporate leaders and human resources departments around the world are closely working together to ensure that workers and their families are safe. Employees in all sectors and at all levels are now functioning remotely, having a huge impact on how work is performed. The COVID-19 is first and foremost, a human catastrophe that has taken place across the world. People are facing unparalleled rates of instability both in their homes and neighborhoods and in their careers. As it turns out, most companies have been working hard to meet the basic needs of their employees in terms of safety, stability and security during the first phase of the looming crisis.
After the lockdown, the IT industry moved to the WFH model more smoothly providing business continuity to customers without reducing efficiency or profitability, shocking market leaders and consumers alike. Two reasons for this seamless transition are the strict adherence of the IT industry to quality processes and the availability of bandwidth connectivity both from homes in metros and in small towns. The WFH mode of working did provide benefits like comfort and versatility, convenience, self-management, zero travel, being with children etc. Parents with young children over 12 years of age reacted favorably to how staying at home improved their relationship with their children and their ability to nurture them.
However, in India, WFH is still an emerging model. With the growing acceptance, it is sure to shed light on its own specific set of legal challenges, as well as on softer challenges such as instilling organizational culture, ensuring quality preparation, improving team camaraderie, etc. Despite the job benefits affiliated with the emerging model, it eventually led to an unsettling experience as workers had to cope with change, build new behaviors, and collaborate remotely. Thus, WFH has a major downside i.e. frequently preventing companies from developing and solidifying their corporate culture. Millions are adopting this style of work for the first time, contributing to increased rates of anxiety. The reasons for their heightened anxiety include general stress on income and job opportunities, disturbing news and social media about the COVID-19 virus, worries about contracting or spreading the virus, the need to take care of children and families, and perceived pressure to work all the time. Many felt less efficient due to home-based pressures, new working environments, and family duties such as household cleaning, preparing and replenishing household supplies, taking care of children and the elderly while dealing with meetings, or, conversely, not being available to prepare and share a mid-day meal with the family. It has become a Herculean task to maintain the delicate balance between work and the everyday challenges of life without domestic helpers along with the heaviness of relentless isolation at home.
Dr. Lalatendu Kesari Jena Sneha Kamath
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