It is human nature to dwell on the negative.
With infection counts and business closures dominating the headlines, it’s hard not to these days.
The COVID pandemic has had a catastrophic impact on businesses. It has caused widespread disruption, forcing many companies to scale back operations and others to close altogether. Long-lasting repercussions are still unknown.
Among the negativity, some positive trends have emerged. As businesses rebuild and reinvent how they will operate in the new reality, employers and employees are experiencing some unexpected benefits.
Greater Attention To Work-Life Balance
The abrupt shutdown of businesses in the early days of the crisis, forced two-thirds of U.S. employees to work from home. Employers had no choice but to accommodate remote work, whether they were a fan of it or not.
Working remotely used to be a perk. Now it’s survival.
No longer viewed as a privilege, remote work became the only option to ensure business continuity. Adapting to video conferencing, communication platforms, and other technologies to support the business needs of their newly remote teams instantly became a necessity.
But it wasn’t only employees’ business needs that needed attention. Employees’ personal lives needed a boost, too. The pandemic disrupted their work-life balance; many found themselves juggling the demands of a career and family all under one roof.
Workers were putting in more work hours—an average of 48.5 minutes more per day—as the boundaries between business and personal life blurred.
Employees Experience Burnout
It comes as no surprise that employee burnout has increased as a result: reported by 58% of workers in August 2020, as opposed to 35% in April of 2020. As the pandemic wears on, and as the need to keep employees out of the office continues, burnout will persist.
Fortunately, employers are acknowledging that burnout is a real phenomenon and reacting in ways that will nurture the well-being of their employees. Here are a few:
- Setting clear expectations around a healthy work-life balance and communicating that to their employees
- Encouraging boundaries and setting limits around when employees should work, make phone calls, respond to emails, etc.
- Encouraging, and in some cases requiring, time off
The Rise Of The CWO
Some companies, like Deloitte, have responded in a big way by appointing Chief Well-being Officers. The position, whose responsibility is to empower people to focus on their well-being, has been around for years, but is now increasing in popularity.
As COVID concerns continue to take a toll on employees, organizations have come to realize that the well-being of employees directly affects the well-being of the organization.
COVID has heightened awareness of the importance of work-life balance. Even if your organization doesn’t have the resources to create a CWO position, demonstrating to your employees that you care about their health and well-being benefits all.
Supporting the work-life balance of your employees is a trend that will hopefully endure long after COVID fades.