Work life balance? We've heard of it. Pandemic means 9-5 shifts are a thing of the past for many

Will the hardest workers want to go back to the offce for a break?


How’s your work life balance? For some people the lines between the daily grind and their personal time has blurred, and they are putting more hours into the job than before the pandemic forced offices to close.

According to a quick temperature reading, 5,556 employees recorded an opinion on Blind, an anonymous app-based forum, and 57 per cent said the blend of work and play has been skewed since lockdown measures were introduced.

Among the verified employees - they needed to provide a work email addy to be able to access the survey - were folk from Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Intel, SAP, Oracle, Cisco, Adobe, IBM, Nvidia and more.

“There used to be some delineation between work and home life, now it’s gone,” said an anonymous person at Google, “Not working from home, just living at work.”

According to 65 per of 652 workers at Amazon who voiced an opinion, working from home meant their work life balance had deteriorated. The same was true for 63 per cent of 363 staff at Microsoft and 65 per cent of 330 individuals at the Chocolate Factory.

Matthew Ball, chief analyst at Canalys, highlighted Parkinson’s Law at the recent virtual Forum 2020, which states that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion" - if someone has a 9-5 shift then they make sure they try to finish things in that timeframe.

“When a task is completed, they just move on to another. However, when working from home, for the hard workers, work still fills all time available from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed.

“But for the more work-shy work shrinks. So they need to do the same as before, but in less time. They basically just do less,” he added.

There was a word of warning for those spending longer at their desk: It’s not sustainable. Ball joked that we may see the “work-shy being forced to return to the office” whereas the “hard workers” may “want to come back to the office just for a break.”

According to Forrester, at least one-third of staff will primarily work from home in 2021 compared to just 4 per cent in 2019 - though this is predicated on finding a vaccine for the virus and distributing it.

This rate is far lower than some discussed by the likes of Dell, Dropbox, Fujitsu or the UK’s Institute of Directors.

Microsoft recently told its 150,000 + employees that they can work from anywhere, anytime, most of the time.

Ball at Canalys said that on the one side, workers have shown they can be productive at home, and so offices aren’t needed, but on the flip side, “businesses want to maintain their culture and onboard new employees with new skills, all of which is best done with people in the office.”

“Work is no longer a set place or a set time. And as offices reopen, we will see the rise of hybrid workers, which will be essential in a more resilient business environment.

“These hybrid workers are location-independent, spending part of the time in the office and the other working remotely. They can switch to fully remote instantly. Many of us now fit into this category and will remain so, so the balance between office and home will fluctuate over time. These workers will need almost the identical IT set-up in both locations. Taking all your equipment from one to the other is awkward.”

How do you plan to work after the pandemic? Let us know in the comments below. ®

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