THE TRANSITION TO REMOTE WORKING OR 'WORK FROM HOME' AS A RESPONSE TO THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AND ITS IMPACT ON OUR WORK LIFE
It's really interesting to note that recent surveys have found that 74 % of Indians would prefer to continue working from home after COVID-19.
As we progress further into the year 2021, the way we work has changed drastically. Many of us are working from home when possible. Boardroom discussions have been replaced by Zoom virtual meetings and spending hours in traffic has been replaced by instant login.
The digital transformation movement has accelerated due to the pandemic and will probably affect every organization. We all have heard the popular saying by now: 'Every company is a tech company'.
Let's try to examine the various ways in which the way we work has changed after the pandemic.
1. Moving more of the workforce online:
Covid-19 has brought into our lives the 'work from home' (WFH) culture which most people will agree is a blessing in disguise. What can be a better situation than being in home clothes, sitting on our bed/sofa and working in a relaxed manner?
Working remotely from home has kept all of us safely tucked in, away from the coronavirus. It has allowed us to save energy and time by eliminating the need to travel to our workplace. In fact, a new survey has found that more than 56 percent of commuters living in ten metro cities in India think they are likely to succumb to 'road rage' when faced with stressful situations like getting late for work. It's much better to just switch on the laptop and join the team meeting, isn't it?
2. It is changing our meaning of productivity:
As we are learning to stay at home due to the rise in cases of the coronavirus, the load of household chores also is on a rise and is equally distributed among all family members. With time we have begun to understand the real struggles of our household help, our mother, and all the homemakers out there.
Earlier, productivity meant putting all our focus on our work but now productivity means finishing off our household chores, doing our work along with it, and also learning to take care of our mental and physical health.
3. Work description flexibility:
With the WFH trend, our flexibility and capability to multitask have been put to the test. It’s at this time that we learn that even our way of working, our workplace, and the mindset, mental space, all of it can change with time. Nowadays we work in bouts, take breaks for our mental peace, and pause our work to take a breather or run off to complete an errand.
The biggest impact it has brought is in our mindset. A lot of us thought that we are incapable of change, or adjustment to change but COVID-19 made sure that we banish those mental blocks from our lives. So, along with multi-tasking, many of us have also indulged in re-skilling to adapt to the new reality of the job market.
For instance, many students felt that they couldn't manage an internship along with their studies during college life. However, many students are now realizing that they need to be more prepared. So many students are now working on virtual internships to complement their academic work.
Another example is that of sales professionals. Earlier, sales may have probably meant having to visit offices and engaging in face-to-face meetings everyday. But now, many professionals are shifting to digital marketing and virtual sales in order to survive and prosper in a post-COVID economy.
4. Titbits of E-learning for everyone:
We can all agree that we were a little behind on technical knowledge. After the Coronavirus hit the world so harshly, we realized that we have some catching up to do. So professionals at every level of the organization are now utilizing the plethora of E-learning products and services that have come up to cater to the need for career-relevant knowledge.
E-learning is not only more convenient but also much more affordable. Courses that were earlier available only in the best universities of the world are now open to everyone, sometimes for free! This is the best time to leverage the opportunity to grow further professionally and academically, with all tools available at the click of a button.
5. Hello, virtual meetings; bye-bye long commutes:
As we say goodbye to daily office meetings, we also part with our formal clothes, business attires which we used to wear to our work. Virtual meetings have been more of a boon than a curse because there were times even without the pandemic when people couldn’t make it to some meetings due to various reasons but WFH made all of that possible for us.
People are often bitterly divided over the concept of work from home - some love it and others hate it. Let us try to examine the pros and cons of WFH.
Working remotely has kept us safe from catching the infection and saved us from the strenuous commute but it has also affected our social life, which is an important part of our well-being. It has made work more convenient, but it has also led to some loss of motivation and connection with our workplace and colleagues.
WFH has given us our much-needed breaks from the office but has also increased our stress of completing household chores along with our office work which has affected our mental health and productivity.
Virtual calls have enabled us to connect with long-lost friends, made business meetings easier but only for those of us who can afford net connectivity properly, who are fortunate enough to live in places with proper reach to connect to a network. It has been difficult for a lot of people who don’t have the means to get internet outside the office due to financial or location constraints (for example, being located in a remote village). There is still some way to go before the world can provide equal digital access to everyone, but we are moving forward in that direction.
While we may love it or hate the WFH culture, the truth is that the COVID-19 pandemic has irreversibly changed the way we work. We need to find a way to prosper in this new work culture in order to advance our career.
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