WORK FROM HOME NOT THAT ROSY ANY MORE!
The initial days of lockdown due to the pandemic sighed relief to many, more than men women were happy. Work from home was a soothing balm rubbed over her guilt of not able to spend ‘sufficient’ time with her family. Soon its calming effect was over, what happened?
SUBURB brings you challenges for women working from home:
Sameera, a senior team leader, working for an FMCG company, says, “To create a hard line between home and work is tough while working home. My little daughter sees me at home, and she wants my attention. Sumitra Iyengar, says, “Since I have to coordinate with different offices operating under varied time zones, I realise that time boundaries have collapsed mostly for all. My boss & seniors have suddenly become more demanding. Most of the time, I am in a state of fatigue due to lack of sleep.
These are experiences and candid sharing we received from women working at mid & senior levels in their companies who now are working from home. We summarise some underlying challenges that women are facing a balancing work & life as they walk a tight rope to save their positions and family
1. Collapsing Boundaries: The new guard of work says, ‘Your office is where you live.’ So with this logic, you are in the office all the time. When in times of physical office, there was a time to wind up from the office and go home, to continue the next day. In the present scenario, there is no mental break. Being a woman, she morally is burdened with household responsibilities more so in times when domestic help are scarce or not available at all. When small children especially find their mother at home, they become more demanding.
Being a patriarchal cultural setup, a woman always has to prove herself many times more than her male counterpart. In work from a home situation, it has become trickier as the boss may think that if she is at home, she would be busy in household chores and not giving work the priority it requires. Hence online meetings, reviews have become a dangerous time consumer.
2. Elaborate Reviews: Some quick analysis of work in progress at the office that would take five minutes in the current situation takes far too long in a virtual meeting set up. Since the meeting is called, the team leader tries to fit more people in the meeting for a review. The time of other team members is wasted in the process of attending long review meetings on a common platform.
3. Multitasking: Research does not support multitasking, and a woman is continually doing so trying to walk a tight rope of doing domestic chores and meeting office deadlines. Incidentally, with commuting time cut, it appears that one has extra hours to work and a woman she has a tendency to take more on her plate than she can accommodate which is giving her constant stress and guilt.
4. Post Cubicle Life: For many, physical office spaces is a pleasant change and a respite from ongoing household drama. Office premises and one’s seating gives a sense of comfort, confidence and job security. All of a sudden with moving away from the physical structure of the office, much has emotionally changed. A hot cup of coffee and open chit chat with colleagues is therapeutic which pushes the mundane stress away. It’s rejuvenating to have company of people, colleagues, friends around which unfortunately the pandemic has taken all away.
Loneliness crawling into the lives are bringing a loss of identity and fear of losing a job.
5. Disillusioned: Since the times are tough mentally, emotionally, financially and physically too and it has been like this for some months now, how long the spell would go on, no one knows which has left people in uncertainty, turning into gloom and fear now. Job security is also challenged. So it is seen, with the fear of losing their job people are working more.
6. Growing Loneliness: It is lonely to work from home devoid of company. One longs for a casual chat and space for interaction. Networking gets lost when having to work remotely. The issue is also raising a struggle for self-identity. The need to get dressed up in formals, step out for work brings instant rejuvenation and confidence which now is suffering.
7. Increased Screen Time: Since there is increased screen time; serious cases of dry eyes, strain & redness in eyes, back issues, spondylitis and other related problems have increased. In current times with gyms being shut and people not getting opportunities to exercise at home or run, the exercise regimen has taken a back seat giving rise to physical and emotional problems.
8. Family Disputes & Abuse: There is a sudden rise in domestic violence and family disputes. The couples with marital discords, having to stay at home constantly under one roof has brought to light many issues buried under the carpet. Children and adults both parties perhaps in some households are feeling caught having to stay under one roof in stressful situations, building a lot of stress in the family.
When at a physical workplace, it is easier to pack and leave what you do at the office to resume the next day.