FEBRUARY 14, 2023

We Haven’t Yet Seen The Impact of All Virtual Work

I’m going to bring my hairdresser into this blog.

Last week I was at the salon, and we got into a conversation about virtual vs. in-person work.

He said, “I have a client who is being forced to return to work. What do you think about that?”

Before I answered, the young woman in the next chair said, “That’s wrong. We’ve all figured out how to work from home, and it’s not a big deal!”

My hairdresser agreed. “Right? I feel like management is just trying to control people again.”

Then they looked at me.

“Interesting,” I said, “because I think we should return to work.”

Well, as you can imagine, everyone’s ears perked up.

“It’s true,” I said, “we did figure out how to work from home, but I don’t think we’ve truly seen the impact of it yet. There’s a cost that hasn’t been calculated, but is being felt.”

“Well,” my hairdresser said, “You got the whole room lookin’ at you again!”

Returning To Work

There are two things I’ve noticed as someone who asked her entire team to return to work and has returned herself.

First, employees suffer from a lack of separation between their personal and professional lives. Work and home are blending into each other, and it’s getting messy.

Secondly, regarding work-life balance, we’ve reverted back in time. At a minimum, we’ve lost the ground we gained.

A few years ago, employers focused on creating programs that promoted work-life balance which made them a destination employer and prevented burnout. Organizations were getting creative and helping their employees turn off, take vacation, or care for themselves. Some even became more thoughtful about bombarding people with requests and emails after 5 pm.

Now that we’re remote, all that is shrinking and our days are getting longer.

Unbalanced Work-Life

We stop work to wash dishes, pray, or tend to our children because it’s all sitting in front of us, alongside our work.

Then, later, we have to play catch up, usually at night, because of all the chores and personal tasks we infused into our workday.

One might say that is their balance. As someone who works closely with leaders, managers, and organizations daily, I am watching the lack of separation lead to burnout even faster.

This is one of the major reasons why I advocate for returning to work and getting those health and wellness checks.

Let’s get our balance back.

Do you need help getting your organization back on track after the pandemic? Reach out to OAIB. We can help.