So, how are you pronouncing work from home – is it “Working from home” OR “Work for home” OR is it a combination of “Work from Home for Home”.
The coronavirus pandemic though has made us realize that one can also work and operate from home. But no one would have ever thought that the extension of lockdown will keep on happening just like the number of cases around the globe.
Initial days of working from home were like chilling & working, away from faces you might dislike a little more, for some, working from home is an opportunity to be at home with family and working, for some, home-cooked food is heaven now. For many employees, leaving rented houses and going back to the roots (home) is finally a dream come true, for many others, work and spending time with the family go hand to hand.
But this is just the tale of initial days. Work from home, in the beginning, can also be pronounced as working from a comfort zone. Soon, the situation turns comfort to discomfort, then anxiety, irritation, and whatnot. You name the issues, and 7 out of 10 employees might be dealing with such situations.
Working from home is no discomfort, but working with loads of work pressure, miscommunication, longer working hours, no leaves, error rectification, and so on has turned everything upside down.
On one hand, the surging number of COVID cases, the loss of jobs, job performance pressure, saving the job and so affecting not just mind but health too.
Here are striking facts showcasing the impact-
- One-third of Americans experience chronic work stress.
- 80 percent of people feel stressed about a job.
- Work-related stress costs U.S. companies over $300 billion as a result of employee turnover, medical costs, and absenteeism.
- About 33.3% claimed that they were denied leave.
- 55.2% claiming to have worked for more than their usual office hours.
- 91% of them complained of doing so without receiving due incentives.
- 54% noticed a considerable decrease in their ‘me time’.
- 63% reported a spike in their personal expenses.
And it goes on and on!
Let us dig deeper and understand things about workload, job performance, organizational politics along having a look at managing workload too.
What is burdening employees?
In combat with workload balancing, organizational politics, family, expenses, and many others, an employee always finds himself/herself at the place of a warrior. That warrior is trying to defeat many for a single cause- Happiness!
Here are the things an employee often talks about-
1. Basic & everyday issues
- Lack of sleep
- Back and neck pain
- Uncomfortable sitting zone
- Muscle and joint pain
- Digestive distresses
- Weight gain/ overeating
- Anxiety, depression, and frustration
- Loss of motivation
- Lesser work capacity
- Poor mental focus
- Quick mood swings
A few issues in the list were still in the office aisle, but working from home now seems like a containment zone of these issues.
Workload equals physical and mental stress affecting job performance that further leads to diminished productivity. And this is not the end of the circle, workload then affects employee morale and increases the chances of absenteeism, burnout and you name it and you will find it!
3. Job security
A few times back, the world was locked down and the economy on the other hand was the victim of all these. This results in many people losing their job whereas some were on the verge of losing and many were trying to save the job!
The thing here is that- job security is a two-way concern. On one side, employees’ jobs are at risk and on the other hand, businesses are trying to save their organization from this pandemic.
4. Harassment and bullying
As per a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, over 45% of respondents reported being bullied by their superiors. Another 46% blamed their colleagues, a few among them were falsely blamed for mistakes they haven’t made and some are being yelled by bosses in front of everyone.
Gender, race, and other attributes are another hole in the boat. Everything together results in losing confidence, self-esteem, mental stress, peer pressure and thus affects performance and sometimes, losing a job!
5. Job Performance
There are employees who are making compromises due to job insecurity, expenses, financial causes, competitive job market, and others. Also, longer working hours are always associated with an employees’ loyalty towards the organization but this is now leading to burnouts, anxiety, frustration, conflicts, more time to finish a task, delayed projects, and more.
Yes, work from home is now leading to all these, as employees are spending more hours on office work only. The long working hours are caused due to communicating with dependent people, TL, PC- something which is easier in the office just by talking or a quick meeting.
Furthermore, the task which used to take 1 hour to complete is now not possible without taking 3 hours or more. The dependency factor is one of the reasons. The frustration of long working hours is definitely affecting the job performance graph.
6. Health issues
Munching at home in the comfort zone is causing health issues for sure. Pandemic has given people the chance to try many different cuisines or finding a chef inside them- the habit of eating at ill timing is one of the reasons for health issues.
Health is not only related to obesity, weight gain, and other naked eye causes, health is also about mental well being, good sleep, a stable mind. However, health issues can be seen in the maximum number of employees during this working from home scenario.
7. Communication gap
What was easily possible in the office is now challenging through Zoom or Google Meet calls. Communication gaps are the biggest loophole that is liable for issues like- missing the keys, missing goals, tasks, leads, and much more. Conflicts and organizational politics are quite common but they have taken the giant shape amid pandemic.
For instance- the clock is ticking fast, your boss is shouting to finish the task, and you are overburdened with so many things and in that time, if your colleague comes to you for the smallest of help- there are high chances that you might burst out at them, or complete deny them of any help or ignore them. The scenario can be the key to communication gaps and conflicts.
8. More errors
It is quite common that the more workload you will have, the more are the chances of making errors. Offices are still the place where you can quickly ask for assistance or help whereas when you are working from home, getting instant help or assistance takes more time. Errors then call for rectification time and remember you got more work to complete, the clock is ticking, the boss is yelling and your colleague is still asking for help.
9. Lack of attention
Focus. Focus is important in order to shoot the spot rightly!
As I have already mentioned, working from home also means work for home, this is the reason, losing attention to several different household chores are obvious.
10. Fewer leaves
Well, the shortage of employees, too much workload, cracking deals, and generating revenue is the mightiest task to be done in this pandemic. Due to the shortage of experts required for the work, getting leave is one of the biggest challenges. More working hours have now shortened the time span of “my time” too. Hence, leave denials are also making employees irritated, agitated, and less productive.
These are a few pointers highlighting the super cause, but when you look at the corner, there is a pile of issues lying. Everything has solutions, all it takes is to find that solution! These issues will remain intact as long as we are working from home, but accepting them is dangerous for mental well being. So, to be a warrior and fight these causes, here are a few things you can definitely do-
Let’s have a look at them-
How to deal with workload pressure?
1. Think positive
Yes, you need to think positive every day. No matter what the situation is, just assume that you have no choice but to stay calm, compose, and positive. Starting your day with a positive thought can transform your dull day into a positive one.
2. Minimize distractions
You are at home and getting distracted is absolutely easy. Distraction then divides the mind into two parts- Personal and professional. The balance between these two will challenge your potential for managing workload. So, to eliminate such a situation, find out a decent place to work at!
3. Reward yourself
Of course, you deserve a reward too. You are working hard, spending more hours than required, you deserve a self-reward. Reward yourself by having a great sundae ice-cream, or maybe that cup of latte you were waiting for.
4. Social media limitations
Well, social media is one of the major ways to connect with the people amid the coronavirus pandemic. But, the constant notifications and sounds can become a distraction. Ensure you are managing them nicely!
5. Know your goals
Figure out your goals for the day and try to achieve them within the time duration. Challenge yourself every day to complete the task.
6. Workplace goals
Other than organizational goals, check out every corner of your house and sit where it is most comfortable. Comfortability is important, otherwise, back pains, neck pain, and others will remain your companion. For a little more positivity, add some indoor plants at your desk, choose the comfortable chair and table, a water bottle, some dry nuts, pen, diary. Ensure the place you have chosen is neat and clean. Organizing yourself here is deeply important
Instead of sitting back and watching what’s wrong happening, communicate, and provide solutions if you have one!
Also, communicate with your team to assist you. Do not wait for someone to come to you and then ask you for any issue. You are equally responsible for the upliftment of your organization’s ideology.
8. A right balance
Divide your daily tasks as per the priority. Give yourself time slots as per the need. And then make a balance between everything. Do not jump from one to another in a span of time. This will create chaos!
So, this is how you will be doing things for yourself. As you are working for the organization, your organization is also liable to make things nice and smooth for you too. If you are one of the employers leading the team by sitting at home, these are the points you should notice-
What can an organization do?
1. Prioritize employee well-being
Your employee is working for your goal, hence, it is your responsibility to look at their well being too. For that matter, talk to them once in a while, ask them if they are having some issues or how you can support them. The statements can boost their morale while making them more energetic for goals’ completion.
2. Financial well being
There are people who are jobless due to this pandemic and there are many who feared to lose the job. Living and working between job insecurity can affect employee productivity. Hence, take care of their financial well being too. You have appointed them and given certain roles, now, it is your responsibility to let them fulfill their responsibility too.
3. Stress-free environment
Well, giving a stress-free environment is a little challenging as compared to the office premises. But by effectively coordinating with the TL, PCs, and others, you can definitely provide a stress-free environment to your employee.
4. Listen to them
In order to be a great orator, you need to be a good listener first! Hence, as you are the leader, listening to your employees’ issues is your responsibility. Also, give them solutions to the cause and ensure that everything will be fine soon!
5. Reward their efforts
A reward is not limited to monetary benefits, sometimes reward also means appreciating the effort of the employee in front of the team, or through mails. Offering them some bonus will be like the cherry on the top and this will also increase their loyalty towards the organization. Motivating them, interacting with them personally once in a week or two, encouraging them is also part of good leadership skills.
These are the things, a maximum of us can relate to. Obviously, the lockdown step was taken to safeguard people and break the chain of a pandemic. We all are facing such a kind of pandemic for the first time and everyone is experimenting with different strategies and things to make things happen!
We shall overcome this situation soon as our frontline heroes are day and night working hard. Till then, stay home, stay home, and stay productive!