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Work from home and well-being: As the pandemic ruled over most of 2020, and has spread its way into 2021, the way people live and work has changed. For most people, the days of everyday-hustle to get to office are long gone as they work from their homes. However, working lives and the way people interact with their organisations have a major impact on the emotions and mental health of the employees. To look into how changes in home life and work life have impacted the attitudes and feelings of people, Avaya, a major tech company, conducted a survey, the findings of which were shared in a report titled “Life and Work Beyond 2020”. As per the survey’s findings, only 27% of the respondents said that they were happier in 2020 as compared to 2019, while 43% said that they were less happy.
The survey found that among factors that contributed to people being unhappy in 2020, key reasons were of course, the COVID-19 pandemic, along with face-to-face contact with other people. Moreover, many were upset over money-related worries, and 62% were bothered by world affairs.
On the other hand, people who were happier cited the flexibility of being able to decide where they worked from as a major source of happiness. Some people were also happy because of their own health and family circumstances. For people, the fact that they got more work from home and that their boss trusted them to work from anywhere was also a key reason for being happier.
The survey also spoke about the change in routines of people. As per the survey, 51% of the respondents were feeling more disinclined to take risks than ever before. 50% respondents also stated that they felt anxious about doing what they wanted on their own while also being considerate as well as respectful of others. As far as work was concerned, 37% respondents placed more importance on work than well-being. In terms of travel, 58% also said they felt safer taking a domestic vacation than an international one.
However, the pandemic did disrupt people’s work-life balance majorly. While 48% of the respondents said that they were planning to slow down soon, 46% felt trapped in a daily routine. Reflecting how most people have been feeling during this time, 43% of the respondents said that they were struggling with their work-life balance, while 39% considered themselves to be workaholics.
The unhealthy working patterns have also been fuelled by several worries related to the work environment. 45% of the respondents said they feared they would be replaced by automation, while 43% were worried about being monitored by their employers when they were working remotely. Interestingly, 42% respondents were also worried about having to work from home forever, indicating the vicious cycle of hectic work from home fuelled by worries of working from home forever that several people found themselves in.
People also had mixed feelings about working from home. 46% said that they loved working from home, while 10% said that they hated it. 29% respondents were indifferent to it, however. On the other hand, for 2 out of every 3 couples, working from home was the preferred mode of working.
The survey found that the best balance could be maintained using a hybrid model of working from home and office, because while 77% felt more productive and happy working remotely, 54% were also frustrated at the lack of availability of proper tech tools. On the other hand, 65% also said that they were more productive when they were trusted with being able to work remotely. Thus, 56% of the respondents said that they would be happier with a hybrid model, while 21% said they would not prefer a hybrid model.
The survey has brought to light the extent to which work is affecting the emotions and feelings of people, more due to the fact that while work from home gives comfort and happiness at being able to be around family, it also blurs the line where work ends and personal life begins. This causes people to feel like they are working for much longer than they were at office. On the other hand, the feeling that they are being trusted by their employers is also a major motivator for them. This leads to a roller coaster of emotions, and thus, it seems that a hybrid model might be the best way forward.
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