Coronavirus has altered the way we work. The invisible line that once existed between an employee’s personal and professional work-life-balance (WLB) is more blurred than ever. Many professionals take important meetings between childcare duties for example. Indeed, many calls are interrupted by family or pets. By life?! But is this a bad thing? Our observations are that we may very well be more connected, relate more to each other, and are more empathic and understanding of our colleagues but in different ways.
Research suggests that those who were required to work from home (WFH) did not struggle to make the transition and made the adjustment quiet easily. As a highly adaptive species, it is no surprise that as time passed it got easier. Up to 80% of respondents felt they had adequate tech support, direction, and communications to be productive and work effectively from home. Many report the benefits of WFH (e.g., less commute, family time, shared domestic duties, and task focus) have outweighed the challenges (e.g., collaboration, creativity, and room at home). Notwithstanding those people and businesses that have struggled, we may all be better for the disruption in the long term.
But of course, it is not all upside. What is truly important to a flourishing human life has been thrown into stark relief. Social connection, physical activity, and the psychological freedom to interact with our environment at will.
Regardless of the outcome of this social experiment, the modern WLB-WFH paradigm is under review by us all. If all of this has taught us one thing isn’t it that it is possible to disenthrall ourselves with a strict work-home demarcation? Perhaps we need to be more deliberate about how we arrange our lives. I have often argued that our calendars are too empty, and not full enough. At least not full enough of the important stuff.
At Stotan, we understand that humans are way more complex than 9 to 5 linearity, we are more sophisticated than that. We all have different needs and will require a different approach if we want to evolve the WLB-WFH paradigm. Not only in how we organise our own lives but in levels of tolerance for how others, such as our staff, do too.
Blurring the boundaries is not something to fear; rather, our mindset might be one of innovating how humans work and play. Who knows, we may just realise a new and more rewarding and meaningful way of being and belonging? Whatever happens, it seems to me the answer is not in the old paradigm of more time at home (i.e., family time = good) and less time at the office (i.e., working long = bad); rather, it may be in a new paradigm where both are intermingled, comfortable together. Work and home dancing together instead of wrestling each other.
And, with all the cheap office space in the CBD, who knows? You may just find yourself going home to work and going to work to play.