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  • Raghav Sand

Fake Commute: Life Hack or Fad

Life has been confined to indoors for almost everyone since March 2020 due the Covid-19 pandemic. The workforce engaged in service industry along with students and non-essential workers have seen abrupt disruption in their daily routine. It has been almost nine months since the first circuit breaker lockdown was imposed across the world. Respective countries have tried to unlock in a step-by-step approach as cases have come down. The central government in India has tried to give suggestive guidelines, and has put the onus on states to take the final call as per the prevailing situation.

Virtual Fatigue

Zoom calls have surely saved the day for work and family life. Other tech companies brushed-up their existing video-conferencing software to ride the virtual wave and a lot of new entrants were also seen to have come up with homogenous services. Over time, the line between professional and personal life has become increasingly blurred. A handful of organizations realised it in the first three months of lockdown, while others were clueless about keeping the employees energized and engaged. There was no template or textbook solution to this phenomenon and human resource professionals figured out a way with passage of time. Getting the news of pay cuts and layoffs made matters worse for already jaded personnel.

Social networking and brainstorming about finding a solution to work from home (WFH) woes was not keeping pace with employee burnout and subsequent depression. It was a time when luminaries in people management skills, either vocally or confidentially, conceded, “I don’t know”. The world is run with a mix of experience and academic knowledge and the pandemic made lot of people feel like human for a change. As economies juggle between lockdown and unlock, we have seen few companies announcing extension to WFH directives.

The Balancing Act

Employers who are committed to providing environments that support work-life balance for their employees can save on costs, experience fewer cases of absenteeism, and enjoy a more loyal and productive workforce. Some of the ways to create a better work-life balance are:

  1. Strive for a realistic schedule, and prioritise your health and family;

  2. Keep looking for a job that you would love and will offer both professional growth and well-being;

  3. Unplug from the noise whenever you get an opportunity;

  4. Set boundaries for work hours and negotiate realistic deadlines; and

  5. Stay the course with your strategy.

Commuting was a pain for most people, but it was also the time they got for themselves during the day. The time spent during commute worked as a good transition between work and family life. Having a routine is important to get the juices flowing and get things done in a set time frame.

Is Fake Commute for You?

A fortnight back, LinkedIn News Australia ran a poll asking remote workers about their preferred fake commute. Going out for a walk was the top response with 51% votes, while getting coffee (31%) and taking a drive (11%) came in the second and third spot, respectively. Rest of the respondents commented about having an exercise schedule or doing household chores to have a sense of routine. Mundane life can seem purposeful if we feel more in control of our schedule. If you have doubts about the effectiveness of this social experiment, then, give it a try. You never know it might uplift mood and enhance productivity.

Driving is therapeutic for those who like being behind the wheels. Traffic in most cities is dense during peak office hours, but it is still an activity to look forward to. Dropping your kids to their school and/or carpooling with spouse, colleagues, friends or neighbours had its own social and environmental benefits. This time spent in a confined space enhanced emotional bonds and instilled a feeling of companionship. Those who opted for public transport used this time to read, watch / listen content on streaming app, while few others simply chose to give their mind and body some rest.

Nowadays a lot of things are being undertaken on a trial and error basis, and there is no harm in trying something new. It is essential to maintain morale in the last leg of this remote working environment as a vaccine for Covid-19 may be around the corner.

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