The Work from Home Reality
How urban professionals are dealing with this new way of working
Due to COVID 19 all of a sudden, a large chunk of the workforce finds itself working from home. To understand how urban professionals are dealing with this new way of working, I conducted an online survey. The 163 respondents (~53% women and ~47% men) were mainly from Bangalore, Mumbai, and Delhi and either worked with large corporates or had ventures of their own. This report takes a look at what are their key challenges, what are they doing to be more productive in this time period, what are they doing for self-care, and how likely are they to go back to the ‘office’.
Men and women face different challenges in a work from home situation
The top challenges across the board were structuring a workday (40.5%), distractions at home (38%). Lack of communication with colleagues, household chores, and lack of visibility to the rest of the organization were challenge faced by ~37% of the respondents.
Women are overwhelmed by household chores (57%) and distractions at home (50%). In comparison only 16% of men find household chores a challenge and only 25% find more distractions at home. Keeping the kids engaged is also something more women (34%) are struggling while men are more worried about lack of communication with colleagues (45.5%) and lack of visibility across the organization (~42%).
There are also infrastructure challenges, such as stable Internet connection, power outages, and setting up a home office cited by some respondents. People who need to be physically present such as civil engineers, prototype designers etc. are also finding it impossible to work from home.
People are working more and could potentially burn-out!
A majority of people (38%) say that their work-life boundaries have blurred, and they feel as if they are working all the time. At the other end of the spectrum are people (32%) who have added some structure to their workday by blocking chunks of time dedicated to work, play, and chores.
The most common approach respondents are taking to ensure productivity in this new normal is setting clear goals and expectations for themselves and/or their teams. Scheduling regular connects with team (47%) and taking regular breaks (45%) is also something respondents say helps them stay productive.
Mental wellbeing is becoming a key priority area
The survey found that most people are focusing on eating healthy (55%), exercising (52%), and getting more sleep (47%). But that also begs the question if people are neglecting their mental wellbeing. Almost 1/5th of the respondents also feel that they are not able to take care of themselves at all as their schedules have gone for a toss.
Respondents also indicate that they are feeling the impact of social isolation and missing the fun at work. As one respondent puts it, “I’m unable to focus. I procrastinate. I feel lethargic. I feel unproductive and that’s depressing.” Another one says, “I feel anxious. I’m unable to sleep. I’m struggling with bringing myself to finish simple tasks.”
This is possibly going to become a frequently heard complaint if the lockdown continues to extend for long periods. It’s also a timely alert for organizations to invest in mental wellbeing programs for their workforce.
Will the office ever be the same again?
While the jury is not yet outon whether more people would prefer staying at home, the balance is tilting in that favor with 47% of respondents more than likely to continue working from home even after the compulsion to do so is over. One thing is very clear though, in the aftermath of this lockdown, we will see the emergence of more flexible workplaces and more work-life integration.
Download the full report to find out what companies can do to manage this crisis so that they and their people are able to emerge from this relatively unscathed.