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WFH not very productive, say some professionals, others welcome the break

Many professionals in the city have spent nearly a month working from their homes. For some, the experience is more of relaxation with fewer burdens and more free time.

WFH not very productive, say some professionals, others welcome the break


For others, the combined pressure of prolonged working hours and domestic responsibilities are taking a toll on them. All these are affecting their productivity, they said.

For many, the home environment is one that does not psychologically promote work and this has affected working styles. “I just spend the whole day unable to start working. It’s difficult to say why. I’m used to the office space. The transition is still difficult. I cram all my work till the last minute to meet my deadline,” said Princy Belinda, a content marketer.

Methodology aside, for many, working from home is an added responsibility to their domestic duties. With household chores and familial responsibilities, many are finding this time to be mentally and physically taxing. Some have reported extended working hours as home responsibilities come between and must be attended to, leading to 12 or 13hour shifts.

Adding to this, many feel that work from home culture defies the typical nine-to-five workday schedule that they typically follow, as many are expected to be available throughout the day. A public accountant based in the city said, “We have a strict weekly target for working hours. There are unreasonable expectations to work long hours while managingthe house. We also have unlimited communication going on, which is more stressful because our Indian team will communicate with the US team till late hours.” 

Some reported that their productivity from home has seen an uneven tangent. One professional based in the city said, “One week, I’ll be motivated and on top of all my assignments, and then the next week, I won’t be able to do anything properly. It’s a mixture of working from a personal space and the lack of a structure,” she said.

For others, working from home has acted as a moment to take a breather and a well-deserved rest. “I’m enjoying working from home because I have been saying I needed a break from the usual grind for a long time. Clients demand has been less during the lockdown, so we have less work, too. They aren’t in a hurry, so we can take our time. Despite our productivity going down, it’s a well-deserved break for us,” said Saima Farheen, founder of Socially Crisp, a marketing firm.

But some report increased productivity, as well as increased time for personal hobbies and passions. “There’s a lot of self-realisation once I noticed that my responsibilities and priorities were put to the test. I also am very passionate about my job, so the tight deadlines for me are a chance to prove myself. I’m also utilising my time to the maximum by working on other skills while also working.

When else will we ever get the opportunity to do something like this again?” said Vanya Vimal, a graphic designer and visualiser. But once the shutdown is lifted, many seek for a gradual rise back to the normal. “I don’t think I would be able to return to our usual hectic schedule immediately. We need time to work ourselves up to that level of productivity, and we need time to recover from all this,” added Farheen.

Working women and their domestic help struggle without each other 

Working from home during the shutdown is a different ballgame than working from home at any other time, and working women attest to this. With the double burden on their shoulders, many are finding the shutdown stressful and have difficulties coping.
According to Akshaya Shankar, a working mother, balancing work, home responsibilities and her child is taxing. “I am someone who likes to have everything neat and orderly and that doesn’t help the current situation. I have my work calls all through the day and then I am cleaning the entire house. Then I have to make sure my daughter does her assignments from school. At the end of the day, I just feel so exhausted,” she shared.
While the situation can be overwhelming, some couples have decided to split chores and reduce their workload to juggle their responsibilities while maintaining their physical and mental strength. “My husband and I take turns with the chores and we have cut down the number of times we sweep and mop the house to just thrice a week. I cook, and he does the dishes. It isn’t a perfect system, but it works for us temporarily. However, I have also come to appreciate the services of domestic help so much more during this time,” said Nisha Rajagopal, a mother of two.
Domestic workers, however, find themselves in limbo. Some, like Alamelu, are still getting their wages despite not going to work. “The families whose houses I go to regularly have all paid the salaries for April. I have known them for a long time, and so we are all like family. It is a relief during this time, but I hope we can resume work in May,” said Alamelu.
But things are not so easy for others, like Mariamma. “I haven’t gotten salary for April from any homes. In March, they gave me my salary and we are managing with that. But I still have rent to pay and buy food for ourselves. It is very difficult for me at this time,” she said.

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