Is working from home more challenging than working from office?
When the entire country went on a lockdown and Sanyukta, like many other office goers in India, was given the option to work from home, she saw it as a silver lining. The first day of remotely working from office made her face many challenges that she wasn’t aware of earlier. With two children and a husband, who demanded her attention now and then, she found it very difficult to pay undivided attention to her work. Her 9 to 5 job turned into a 5 to 9 job! She started working the moment she woke up and it continued till nine or ten at night. After the first week, she had a breakdown and applied for leave. “I could not take it any longer. I salute the people who manage kids while working from home. And the situation now is very different. Since the maids are no longer here, I also have to do household chores, which itself is like a full time job. I had no other option but to apply for leave,” complained Sanyukta.
Nitin Gokhale, a 26-year-old public affairs executive in a private PR firm, stays with his parents and two other siblings in a cramped 2-BHK apartment in the suburbs of Mumbai, one of the largest COVID-19 affected places in India. When he came to know that he would have to work from home till April 14 due to the lockdown, his first thought was where will he work from? The two rooms, which were also used as bedrooms at night, hardly had space for a man to work peacefully. With worry writ large on his face, he returned home to find that his siblings too would be home during the lockdown. Which meant six people, including his ailing and aging grandmother, would be sharing the 500 sq feet roof! The first day of work from home was an unforgettable experience for young Nitin. When he was in a web meeting with one of the very important clients, his grandmother had an asthma attack and everyone rushed to her side. Soon it was followed by loud requests for him to carry her to her bed. Nitin excused himself from the call and joined his family to ease his grandmother’s pain. The next day his boss reprimanded him calling his behaviour ‘unprofessional’. Caught between the devil and the dead sea, Nitin, who needed the job desperately for money, apologized and said such incidents would not happen again. For thousands of people like Nitin, working from home is not an easy option.
“It’s true that a lot of people are facing many new challenges while working from home under the current situation. These are very stressful times. It is quite normal to feel overwhelmed,” said Richa Singh, senior consultant psychologist. “We need to be very patient during these stressful times. Working from home requires discipline, focus and planning; these are the three pillars that keep your work-life balance intact. If any of these elements are missing, working from home can become very challenging.”
According to experts, under the current circumstances, the boundary between personal life and professional life has become blurred. As a result of which, most people are stressed and find it very difficult to concentrate on their work. In case you are looking for tips to help you manage work from home better, you can read our article on “How to stay focused and avoid distractions while working from home”