Monday, November 9, 2020

Work-life balance has gone down the pan since the beginning of the pandemic

Work-life balance has gone down the pan since the beginning of the pandemic

Work-life balance has gone down the pan since the beginning of the pandemic

(Image credit: Shutterstock / GoodStudio)

The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent rise of remote working have been a disaster for work-life balance, new data suggests.

According to a blog from software firm Atlassian, not only have staff been working longer hours since lockdowns were introduced in March but also fail to detach themselves effectively when it comes time to sign off.

In the US, UK, and Australia, the typical remote employee is functioning for quite 30 additional minutes every day. Although this might not sound like much, that’s a minimum of an additional two and a half hours per week - or roughly 130 additional hours over the course of the year.

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Across all regions analyzed, the remote staff is both starting work earlier and finishing later, with many employees also making a habit of working into the late evening. In other words, the candle is being burned at both ends.

Switching faraway from work

The concern, consistent with Atlassian, is that issues that arise as a result of extended working hours will ultimately outweigh the advantages of remote working (e.g. greater flexibility, more family time, heightened focus), preventing employees from maintaining a healthy equilibrium.

“The grand (if unplanned) remote work experiment we discover ourselves in has been a boon for a few and a burden for others,” wrote Arik Friedman, Principal Data Scientist at Atlassian.

“Throughout this experience, I’ve sensed that performing from home blurs the boundaries between our professional and private lives, putting us in danger of burning out en bloc. But I couldn’t copy that feeling with facts, until now.”

Indeed, the firm found that quite half of the respondents said it’s now harder to take care of work-life boundaries, and 23% believe work after hours quite they want to.

According to Atlassian, companies will be got to check out setting strict policies that guard against potential burnout - regardless of how fanciful it will sound. These policies might include dedicated wellbeing check-ins, regular mandated breaks, and a prohibition on after-hours communication.

“Remote work is going to be a part of our lives to some extent for an extended time. The question now's whether we will find how to form remote work work - for everybody,” added Freidman.

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