One of the most striking ways the pandemic has changed our normal day-to-day lives is how many of us have had to manage our work and personal lives. Without a commute to separate our work life from home life, the two have become increasingly mixed, a fact of life that has brought both new challenges and joys.
Benefits of Pandemic Changes to Work/Life Balance
There are plenty of office workers around the world who have mostly experienced benefits to their new work-from-home setups. Increased flexibility around work hours has helped employees complete their most valuable work at the time that best suits their focus and sleep schedules. Opinions on remote-only communication vary, but with video calls giving everyone a glimpse into coworkers’ homes (and a chance to meet pets), some teams find themselves getting to know fellow employees in completely news ways, occasionally leading to enhanced collaboration. And without the barrage of office distractions, many workers are experiencing better focus in their workday.
There are of course many drawbacks to the remote work experience, and many of them stem from each person’s varying living accommodations. Employees who live alone in small apartments often experience isolation, and there has been a widespread struggle to find proper childcare among households with younger children. Employees in these situations have often found few positives to the newly reimagined work/life balance in America.
Quality or Quantity?
It’s also worth mentioning that the pandemic has started a slight shift in how Americans view work. Instead of expecting employees to sit eight hours a day before their computers, many companies are shifting focus to the quality of work employees give, instead of number of hours those employees’ work. Although the typical forty-hour week is unlikely to change in the U.S., the pandemic has at least introduced the question of how many hours do employees need to be “on” to produce work that leads to their organization’s success.
For better or worse, the pandemic has made a lasting change to not only how we work in America, but also to our attitudes toward a better work/life balance.