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COVID and work life crisis

COVID and work life crisis

by Dr. Jayashree Dasgupta, Clinical Psychologist, PhD (NIMHANS) & Co-Founder – Samvedna Senior Care

Recently I was invited by a company to conduct a workshop for employee engagement to help the employees cope with anxiety, stress and uncertainties due to the coronavirus outbreak and the lockdown.

A couple of months ago, who would have guessed that 2020 was going to turn out the way it has with the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns across the globe impacting each and every one of us. The social, psychological and economic ramifications of these events are huge and undoubtedly will have long lasting implications which we are only just beginning to get a glimpse of.

As the global economy is thrown into turmoil, several thousands of employees are faced with impending salary cuts and lay-offs, creating an uncertainty about their future which is hard to imagine. But for others in sectors where working from home is possible, this previously privileged work arrangement that was offered to employees, has now become the norm.

Unlike pre-COVID days when working from home meant saving time and energy from navigating maddening traffic along with flexibility of working hours to become more efficient and productive; COVID working from home can be quite the opposite with employees struggling to figure out how to navigate work and family along with the anxieties about impact on financial losses and frustration of the lockdown.

Managing work life balance at this time is definitely not easy and can take its toll on psychological well-being and productivity, irrespective of whether you are living alone or with your family; whether you have just started working or have years of experience behind you.

But why is working from home so challenging right now? For many people, work and socializing with colleagues is what used to keep them feeling motivated and energized throughout their day. Being at office would provide a structure to the day and without emotional connectedness of interacting with colleagues, many people find themselves struggling to motivate themselves to work. Social distancing measures and restrictions on entertainment, leave many younger employees or those living alone feeling lonely or bored which further demotivates them. For working couples and families, juggling household chores and childcare alongside work can become quite overwhelming; not to mention the mere challenge of finding a quiet spot to work from without being interrupted by your child’s embarrassing requests, or partner on another conference call.

Let’s face it, the bulk of our work in the near future will most likely continue to be from home, and as our online interactions during the day increase, this requires rethinking the ways that we are working to help employees remain motivated and productive by minimizing fatigue and psychological frustration that most likely will be experienced at some point or the other as a result of the COVID crisis.

Here are five simple tips to begin with:

  1. Distinguish between your workspace and place for relaxation – avoid working from your bedroom.
  2. Set yourself a daily work routine and plan household work, childcare responsibilities accordingly
  3. Let family members know when you will be available for them and set rules to avoid interruptions
  4. Take breaks as you would during a regular office day to feel rejuvenated
  5. Switch of all devices at the end of the day to avoid feeling overwhelmed

Samvedna provides counselling support for families, professionals and organizations to deal with stress, anxiety, work life balance, retirement planning, caregiver stress and age related disorders. We can conduct online workshops for employee engagement and counselling to cope with the COVID19 crisis.

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Samvedna Senior Care, G-7 Oriental Villas, Sushant Lok III, Sector 57, Gurgaon

Samvedna Senior Care, C-13 Anand Niketan, New Delhi