Is work life balance still deemed as a misnomer in the culture of productivity or pandemic has changed this thought process?
PP Surely changed for good. With office practically moving into one's house for quite considerable period and even permanently for many employers, work life balance has rather moved to the top few priorities for most of the organisations. If organisations have a clearly laid down metrics to measure and improve productivity and employee burnouts, the work life balance can surely be maintained even during remote working. This is the new normal and every organisation must embrace it lest be ready to see adverse impacts on employee engagement and business outcomes.
How do you underline the importance of work-life balance in present pandemic period?
PP The importance of work-life balance in this pandemic period is to consciously build boundaries between work and life. Achieving a work-life balance is not just a worthwhile goal - it is an essential one. It is vital not only for mental and physical health, but also long-term economic success. Earlier there was a curtain of separation of time between the office work hours and the personal life hours. And now, when the two entirely different worlds are mixed, it is sure to create a great chaos within ourselves. So, there is an urgency to deal with the way we would tackle the work-life balance. For this, we need to prioritize to get appropriate results, practice mindfulness, and retain hobbies which become the secret sauce to maintain the work life balance.
What new challenges have been posed by pandemic induced Remote working or WFH as it has become living at work?
PP When you work from home, the lines between work and leisure often start to blur. There are too many disruptions which impact the attention and task performance. It is hard to motivate and difficult to set boundaries between work and personal life. At times one might seem isolating from the team due to the absence of physical presence. The zoom or screen fatigue also leads to low productivity amid the chaos within the employees. All these adds up in reducing the affinity and connectivity towards the organisation. Simultaneously, with schools closed and limited recreation options outside, all of a sudden, we have started spending more time with kids and family. So, there is a conscious effort to make the best of it.
We can tackle problems which can be seen, but the most difficult to tackle the unseen challenge, which is the mental health of the employees, which is further being difficult to detect and create a culture of adaptability. In this circumstance, "Adaptability" is surely the key ingredient for healthy and productive work-life integration.
Also, empathy, humility, agility, transparent communication, active listening, genuine concern for a safe workplace, technology-driven processes, leading by example is important for leaders to navigate through this challenging phase of business.