Work from home fun is over – now there are endless work hours, midnight calls from bosses and employees are not happy

Pixabay
  • Employees are beginning to realise that work from home is beginning to translate to always available.
  • There are endless zoom calls, bosses overworking them because really where else can they go in a lockdown and to top it all – pay cuts.
  • Companies are slowly beginning to realise and are now offering extended lunch breaks, no meeting days and more.
In the wee hours of the morning at 5.30 am, Priyanka Pandey (name changed), an IT professional woke up from her sleep to login to a Zoom call. “There are no work hours anymore,” she said.

But it's not just her alone, as work from home becomes the new normal, employees are beginning to realise that work from home is beginning to translate to always available. There are endless zoom calls, bosses overworking them because really where else can they go in a lockdown and to top it all – pay cuts and the fear that if they speak up now, there’s a threat to their job.

“One big issue is there is no segregation between personal life and office life now. We are expected to be available all the time, including weekends, simply because the employer assumes that we are at home all the time due to the ongoing situation,” said an employee at a law firm.

Advertisement

Endless meetings and work hours

In India, employees are working way beyond 48 hours a week – crossing International Labour Organization’s norms of working. According to the labour standards. “the general standard is 48 regular hours of work per week, with a maximum of eight hours per day.” says the ILO website.

In April, Microsoft Teams saw 200 million meeting participants in a single day and as of April 29 a new daily record of 4.1 billion meeting minutes in one day.

Advertisement

Understanding the stress and anxiety of employees, tech giant Google in May announced a company holiday to let employees relax.

“One of the bigger challenges for a distributed workforce is collaboration. It helps to have core working hours for scheduling all work-related virtual meetings and interactions. This gives employees clarity and helps set boundaries,” said Anuradha Bharat, Head, People Operations at Razorpay.

Taking cognizance of the piling number of meetings on employees, gaming unicorn DreamSports which runs Dream11 has announced ‘no meeting Thursdays’ to allow one day a week that are meeting-free for straight 4 hours. The startup has also extended the lunch break from 60 minutes to 90 minutes.

Advertisement

“Since the onset of COVID19, there has been a drastic change in lifestyle clubbed with a global economic slowdown. This has led to anxiety and insecurity among people everywhere. To ensure the mental and physical wellbeing of our employees, Dream Sports introduced various programs and activities to build positivity and boost their morale,” said Kevin Freitas, CHRO, Dream Sports.

Connectivity, chairs and no chai

Work from home along with it has brought a new set of issues. “There’s connectivity issues at times, setting up a comfortable work from home office is not possible and we can’t take those chai breaks anymore,” said another employee. The employee's suggestion is weekly calls to connect with the team at a personal level is important.

Advertisement

At Razorpay, they have set up a work from home allowance to help employees. “Ensuring employees can work comfortably from home is the primary need. Some may not have high-speed internet, others might not have a comfortable work chair. We have found that providing a no-questions-asked allowance to set up a home office and partnering with brands offering such products like ergonomic chairs at a subsidised cost goes a long way in making the employee’s life that much easier,” said Bharat.

HR tech startup Springworks in Bengaluru, has been sending office chairs that have been lying vacant to the employee’s homes while also reimbursing some for their internet connection.

Interestingly, Dream11 has planned ‘seasonal surprises’ that is doorstep delivery of goodies to cheer up employees, while also arranging travel for employees outside of Mumbai to help them get back home safe. Dream11 will also be arranging groceries for employees who are stuck in the red zone.

Advertisement

SEE ALSO:

INTERVIEW: Zoom's India head believes he will able to convince the Home Ministry that the app is safe

The lawyers who got India to legalise homosexuality will now push for same sex marriage





{{}}