Work life balance - What did 2021 teach us
38% of people stated that their company hardly makes it possible for them to maintain a healthy work life balance. And that was something we expected to fix when we stepped into the work from home set up, didn’t we? But as soon as the work shifted in our homes it took over all the place for most of us and our life ended by being dictated by work.
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Work from home. A term that used to be a choice and a selective thing up until 2020 became a mandate for everyone. Everyone who could, started working from home to keep themselves safe. However, while we were working from home and keeping ourselves physically healthy, the work from home senario made it difficult to maintain a balance between our personal and professional life. 38% of people stated that their company hardly makes it possible for them to maintain a healthy work life balance. And that was something we expected to fix when we stepped into the work from home set up, didn’t we? But as soon as the work shifted in our homes it took over all the place for most of us and our life ended by being dictated by work.
Here are some companies that decided to help their employees maintain a healthy work life balance and ensure that they were making their life a priority instead of being engulfed by work.
Taking a break in TaskUs
Ever since we started working from home our screen time has vastly increased, for work and leisure. No matter how much we try, our screen time for work is difficult to curb. A study conducted by CMR and funded by Vivo revealed that the work from home situation has led to a 75% increase in screen time. Yes, that number is no joke. And that amount of screen time obviously results in health issues as well. But what can be done? We can for sure work on reducing it when it comes to our leisure time but when it comes to our work it is difficult to control. With remote work you are required to stay connected with your teams which does mean calls and mails constantly. But fortunately a lot of companies are realizing the importance of taking breaks and have started encouraging their employees to take small breaks in between work to not stress out.
TaskUs decided to make it more official, so the employees treat their break as seriously as they take their work. In the pandemic they created policies for the same. TaskUs has always focused on putting their employees well-being first even before pandemic with inhouse gym, daycare centre, game rooms, meditation centres, and even sleeping pods. So, even when the pandemic hit they decided to keep with it. They have a strict no meetings on Friday policy. Apart from that the employees are asked to have zero work communication over weekends and employees are allowed to take personal time off when they don’t feel they are on top of their game. Cool, right?
Keeping the family first with Quick Base
When the offices shut down and it was clear that they wouldn’t open any time, most of us who had been away from home and were able to go back home, used the opportunity. Hoping that in the time of crisis it’s better to cherish the moments and be there for our families. However, for most of us working from home became working more and the time we expected to spend with family became difficult to come by. 60% people across 203 cities in India stated that work from home has resulted in difficulty finding a balance between work and family.
Quick Base has always believed that the company is run by humans and not robots, hence gives utmost importance in treating their employees more humanely. They want their employees to keep their family first and worry less about work in the pandemic. The employees don’t need to be apologetic about any interruption by a family member, human or otherwise, during a call. And apart from that they are free to reschedule calls if there is any requirement at home. Employees at Quick Base plan their daily schedule around their family including their work instead the other way around- because at Quick Base family does come first.
Tophatter’s home office setup
Let’s face it we aren’t all alike and we don’t function the same way.
Tophatter, keeping up with creating the best work-life balance in pandemic, encouraged their employees to create a dedicated corner for their office work. Tophatter sent $500 to all it’s employees to set up their home-work station for themselves. Apart from that they paid for their employees’ internet services too. Working from home wasn’t a choice or an option for people across the globe. Hence, this initiative of supporting their employees to set up and decorate their office corner was not only a good way to support their employees but also a strong move stating that work and home should always remain separate even when working from home.
Self care promoted by SurveyMonkey
Let’s be honest most of our lives went for a toss as soon as the pandemic started. Most of us struggled finding time to take care of ourselves. Finding time to do things that we enjoyed while working from home bugged us all initially. A study showed that 80% of adults intended to be more mindful about taking care of themselves. Covid did shake all of us and keeping our health both physical and mental became more important than ever. But the new setup didn’t make it easy and all of us found it difficult to buy time for ourselves to share with family and loved ones also, to focus on us. But then again, we all struggle with change and this was a major shift to get used to. So, how do you ensure to do everything while working from home?
SurveyMonkey decided to give its employees paid time-off to figure out a balance between their personal and professional life. They have an unlimited leaves policy which they call the ‘responsible paid time-off’ in which the employees decide the number of leaves they want to take. This policy often made employees not take adequate time out instead work more. So, in the pandemic last year they asked all employees to take a few “care flex days” before June. Around 70% of employees took the opportunity to actually focus on themselves and take care of their health and personal life.
KnowBe4 keeping the employees connected
Remember the good old days of catching up with your colleagues post office hours or taking tea breaks with them? Fun times, right? Unfortunately, the work from home situation has stripped us off that fun. Now, almost all our conversations with our colleagues are just about work. According to research, there has been a 36.1% reduction in people’s interactions with their colleagues. In the present times where social interactions are limited to virtual space, our social life has completely gone for a toss and the only way to feel a part of community is our interactions with our colleagues. But you can’t compel your colleagues to spare time post office hours, can you?
KnowBe4 the cybersecurity firm, hence decided to correct this by creating spaces for their employees to socialise even during office hours. Erika Lance, the senior vice president of people operations shared that they have been giving kickboxing and yoga classes to their employees over the company’s intranet. Apart from this the managers keep interacting with the employees and ask them for their new co-workers’ (human or otherwise) pictures. This makes the employees feel connected and a part of each other’s life beyond work.
We all learnt it in our kindergarten, ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’, but over the passage of time we all have given into the temptations of being a workaholic. While loving your work isn’t bad at all, dedicating all your time to it may result in harmful consequences. So, make sure to maintain a healthy balance between your work and life to not become a dull boy like Jack!