Life after the lockdown has changed the face of human resource development indefinitely. Most organizations have got a taste of the benefits of remote working, however, this sweetness of cost saving comes with its bitter side effects. The covid-19 crisis still lives on and the World Health Organization has stated that the pandemic is causing extensive distress and mental ill health, especially where there is a lack of investment in mental healthcare.

There are proliferating advantages of working from home. Many employees who spent hours commuting to and from the work are now able to allocate their time to other more productive activities. The additional hours are spent caring for their loves ones or working longer hours. The motivation levels are boosted due to the relaxing and flexible work hours. A good example is Google that is currently fully operational remotely where all employees are set to return in October or December 2020.

Moreover, it is generally believed that many employees value flexible work hours above higher earnings, and this is positively correlated with higher job satisfaction levels. According to Stephen P. Robbins, the author of Organizational Behaviour, there is evidence of a significant decline in job satisfaction since the early 1990s. This evidence is contrary to the recent economic expansion, increased incomes, and a positive labour market. He goes to state that economic prosperity does not reflect on job satisfaction in all circumstances. Therefore, it is not surprising to find increased job satisfaction levels amidst the covid-19 pandemic due to the growing level of autonomy in work and work-life balance.

Trend of work from home

Contrariwise, with a house full of distractions; perhaps the employee’s wife or husband is also working from home, constant exposure to sounds and information, children who need attention and help, and the responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, and organizing house chores can certainly lead to losing one’s sanity. Research states that some employees feel the pressure to over perform and work longer hours whilst working from home. Even when employees are highly motivated, the very experience of moving out of the usual office environment inevitably causes some level of anxiety.

On a positive note, the World Health Organization places a heavy emphasis on the mental health and well being of an individual. They suggest the following health practices:

  1. Maintaining a daily structured work-life schedule will reduce stress and enhance self care.
  2. Staying connected with family and friends will build a robust safe environment and support system that can help an individual feel positive emotions and feelings.
  3. Staying physically fit, getting fresh air by exercising regularly and maintaining a good diet will keep your immune system strong.
  4. Practicing personal hygiene and limiting contact with others, especially in current times where infection can spread in several ways will also ensure the highest level of good health.

Finally to summarize, promoting employee well-being that includes emphasizing programs that inculcate exercise, nutrition and mindfulness, and a healthy work-life balance will boost immunity and health, and likewise influence work performance. Despite the continuous challenges faced by the pandemic, an organization’s objective should be to increase job satisfaction. Happy employees aren’t necessarily productive workers. However, productivity is likely to lead to satisfaction. The reason why we cannot support the satisfaction-causes-productivity thesis is that studies have been attentive on individuals than on organizations and that individual-level measures of productivity do not take into consideration all the interactions and complexities in the work process such as location of work, the environment of work, the work structure, level of autonomy at work, and the human interaction with other workers in an organization. Therefore, whilst we might not be able to say that a happy worker is more productive, it might be true that a happy organization is more productive based on its culture that nurtures change, diversity, work-life balance, and economic complexities.

 

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