Letter To Editor | Is Hybrid the Future of Work?

I am writing this as a response to a nice write-up that appeared in KASHMIR OBSERVER, dated March 18, 2022, “The Future of Work is Hybrid”

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered the perception to the extent that companies globally are willing to extend the 'work from home' concept, and this ‘new normal’ has become the ‘accepted normal’ ever since the outbreak of Coronavirus. When employees work from home, companies benefit on costs in terms of rent, water, electricity and fuel allowances. Work stations worldwide are generally crowded. There may be a situation of an asymptomatic employee who could potentially infect the whole office, and hence it is better to err on the side of caution.

Though it is a real challenge to work remotely, it also gives an opportunity for one to acquire and hone many new skills like planning, forward-thinking, coordination in times of distress, and so on. In addition, it is natural that when you are working from home, you save a lot of commute time and get to spend it with your family.

But then there are issues that employees face in the ‘work from home’ model. The combination of work and personal, and collective health anxiety are contributing to a specific kind of burnout brought on by the pandemic. Uncertainty took hold of the entire work-force, leading to stress and worries to emerge. In fact, the emotional trauma from stress has been even higher among remote workers due to the challenges of balancing home life and office work in the same setting. However, there are ways to deal with burnout.

It could be like taking a few deep breaths or smelling a wonderful fragrance, since it is important for our brain to take small breaks from often monotonous tasks. Also talking to friends and relatives can be helpful as they may give some insights into how you can reduce your stress during the pandemic days.

In the final analysis, a shift towards home working doesn’t mean that an employee has to necessarily work from home always. Often splitting time between home and the workplace is, perhaps, the most productive and profitable solution irrespective of whether Covid will end or not.

Ranganathan Sivakumar

[email protected]

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