Is work-life balance still deemed as a misnomer in the culture of productivity or pandemic changed this thought process?
NM The sentiment around the meaning and relevance of ‘work-life’ balance has always been a topic of debate. While ‘work’ had a negative and ‘chore like’ connotation, ‘life’ was its opposite – ‘positive’. However, this concept has evolved over time; and moreover, the global pandemic has blurred the lines between work and life, as the definition of ‘normal’ has transformed. Now that everything happens remotely, within our homes, the focus has shifted towards productivity rather than the time spent on projects. This seems to be a positive trend and will have a lasting impact on future workplace evolution and the way we work.
How do you underline the importance of work-life balance in the present pandemic period?
NM Over the last few years, work-life balance has gained tremendous importance. Organisations were realizing the benefits of a healthy, happy workforce on productivity. But the global pandemic created a new normal, where the boundaries between personal and professional life has blurred.
The secret formula for balanced and productive work-life integration is adaptability-consciously establishing boundaries between work and life, prioritizing to get disproportionate outcomes, exercising mindfulness, and maintaining our passion.
Along with adapting to the new ways of working, many people are dealing with loss of friends, family members, and taking-on care giving responsibilities for their loved ones. At this point, flexibility of the organisation is highly valued – something that we have imbued in our culture for over a year now. As an organisation, Luminous has invested in safety and well-being of its employees and has helped them cope with changes. We have also advised and encouraged employees to help set work boundaries, provide care leaves, avoid long meeting hours, and focus on self-care.
What new challenges have been posed by pandemic induced Remote working or WFH as it has become living at work?
NM Segregating personal and professional lives and setting up strict boundaries between the two has become challenging in a WFH environment. Schools and daycares are closed, kitchen tables have turned into workspaces, and meetings are interrupted by pets, deliveries – making work from home a complex proposition. While it is taxing for everyone, it is augmented for working women, who tend to the family and take care of the household. Another impact of the pandemic is on the emotional and mental wellbeing of people. Constantly working in the virtual world with limited social interactions has lowered employee motivation and increased stress. And in some cases, it is also the result of an increase in monitoring and micromanagement.
It is important to create an environment of trust and empathy, where employees are enabled to deliver at their own pace with flexible hours. Constant engagement, frequent check-ins, open communication, and encouraging virtual interactions are great measures to increase engagement amongst teams. At Luminous, we have always strived to enable flexible working. We have systematically invested in the right technology and infrastructure over the years to facilitate remote working. We have also been looking at de-prioritizing non-discretionary work to provide more personal time for employees.