The “stay at home” order has affected about 90 percent of the United States’ population. COVID-19 has restricted Americans’ daily lives to preserve public health against the virus.
California became the first state to declare a “stay at home” order on March 19, and since then, about 37 more states have instituted similar measures.
Besides its impact on humans, there is a significant commercial, economic, and business impact being felt globally.
“The reality is, Covid-19 has hit more than 1000 businesses across the globe”
As the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect the workplace and activities, people now consider work from home. The pandemic has done more harm than good, and people are forced to consider the impact of work from home. Small business owners on the east coast of America are not left out.
For instance, Jack works 9-5 at a call experience center before the “lockdown” and averages about 50 phone calls and 30 emails daily. With his work now remote, He doesn’t have a specified resumption and closing time.
He now receives more daily calls at home about 90 averages, from clients who call in for complaints since they are also affected by the “stay at home” order.
This is more than the number of calls he has handled in many years. It’s taking a toll on him and leading to burnout. His company recently announced a 40% salary reduction to cushion the economic impact of COVID-19. His finance is on a downward spiral while the workload keeps increasing.
Since the pandemic, countries have closed borders and shut down social gatherings. Employees ordered to stay home and work remotely, merging work and private lives.
Over the years, we tried to differentiate home and our work lives. We pretend that our home doesn’t exist when we’re at work. Now, it’s all gone!
“The number of hours put into work from home is unsustainable and leads to burnout”.
The impact of burnout has gone past employees’ personal lives. For many, the pandemic has taken a negative toll on their mental health. The outcome includes feelings of unhappiness, mental health problems, productivity, and operational challenges. It could also lead to legal consequences such as a rift in labor employment laws.
What can companies do to avoid employee burnout?
Business owners are expected to create a structure and set new standards to re-enact balance. New models should be set up for work.
Many companies have made work hours flexible and encouraged employees to compact their work schedule to four days a week. Some use Slack, WhatsApp, and Zoom for teams to share their work-from-home experiences. Staff receives compensation for office equipment used to enhance work experience and productivity.
Organizing online events like teleconference calls help to boost morale. These are various means of reaching out and showing support. They may not seem so big a deal, but they have a considerable impact on employees. Some companies include time for lunch and virtual team meetings on their calendar. Taking a cue from this can go a long way in boosting employee productivity!
Variation is expected in an employee’s routine as they likewise handle personal responsibilities. It is often unrealistic to have someone work from 9 am to 5 pm with kids and family members at home. Scheduling a two-hour work period during the day is more achievable.
Post COVID-19, I hope businesses learn from these experiences to change their perspective.
“Business owners should understand that now is the time to look after their workers. When a company puts an employee’s welfare as a priority, it builds commitment, loyalty, and long-lasting teams.”
When all this is over, lots of change is expected, with lessons learned. We will learn to appreciate each other, understand that our health and family is essential. We have to strike a balance between work and our personal lives!
Special contribution from Ola Isaac