Is work life balance still deemed as a misnomer in the culture of productivity or pandemic has changed this thought process?
VK For me work life balance has never been a misnomer or a fictional subject as it needs to be thought through as a long term culture hygiene for the sustainability of productivity and talent. The Pandemic has been able to help us look through this more closely but largely people leaders have been struggling with this subject. Basis the real life examples, following reasons are evident :
- Managers struggle to ascertain the reasons for people disengagement over a period of time and do not realise the intrinsic reason of work life being effected which leads to their derailment.
- People leaders have ability to gauge the productivity basis the output / input but not are unable to map basis the time required to complete the assigned tasks on the scale of marginal efficiency.
- The family situation and reasons of people are very different and each person's definition of Work vs family life is accordingly very difficult.
- Employee burnout happening especially during peaks not getting balanced during the remaining time leads to disengagement.
- Developing a culture of Care and well-being is a very important factor being governed by the work life balance of an individual.
- Post maternity or paternity commitment of employees and employee moved through a different states.
- Setting expectation by generalising the population behaviourtowards a few of the work alcoholics dis-balances the culture.
- Manager's ability to comply with the policies and processes is a true test of a healthy work life balance amongst the workforce.
How do you underline the importance of work-life balance in present pandemic period?
VK As specified earlier the work life balance issue has been raised to a closer level during the pandemic era due to the below reasons :
- The fine line of office timings have been reduced as being at home people have to struggle between their personal and professional commitments especially with the members who do not understand the work commitments and the professional stakeholders who do not understand the family constraints.
- The level of empathy has to be expressed trough the digital media. There are limited opportunities to come across people and understand their constraints. More engagement is required during this era to understand the level of professional and personal boundaries.
- There is a positive impact for people who are no more required to travel long distances and could save time and money to travel. The related stress and wear out due to this is certainly adding to better momentum.
- The flexibility of required work timings during the work from home needs to be managed by managers for people who work from home. This has to be closely monitored by managers at all levels.
- Due to technology it has become easy to reach people and managers need to follow protocols and restrain the urge to communicate through required processes including presence over voice or camera. Any adhoc call should follow a protocol "asking could I take a few minutes" Are you free for a meeting during this time "which should elaborate need for exhibiting more empathy.
What new challenges have been posed by pandemic induced Remote working or WFH as it has become living at work?
VK Non presence of employees at workplace do not help the managers to understand their side of story. This may create communication barriers.
- Non availability of required infrastructure during the remote working creates the problem in inducing the gaps in conducting live meetings.
- Change management for leaders who are not used to the new ways of working is very essential and they need to be coached on the way they would be able to manage the productivity effectively is very critical.
- Change in the approach to manage or gauge feedback on output rather than inputs is a steep strategic transformation which managers need to exhibit during the work from home scenario.
- There is a critical need forreengineering of processes and SOPs in order to gauge the change in work measurement and manage the prosthetics which need to be followed in the new normal.
- Empathy is an important factor which needs to be brought amongst the thought process of the supervisors and senior management and is being built as a critical component amongst the potential competencies of senior leaders. The measurement parameters in this situation can also be easily accessed through exhibited behaviour.
- On the basis of my interaction with HR leaders of various industries, the employee bonding due to coffee corner conversations or informal bonding over interactions is being compromised heavily due to excessive formal conversations restricted strictly to work objectives. It has been forecasted intelligently that die to lack of this bonding, the long term association of employees may get compromised and some organisations may face heavy attrition due to the same in the forthcoming years.