Hey superhero!

For decades, I have struggled to be a superwoman, a juggler managing multiple tasks and environments at one go and making sense of what that work-life balance actually means!

The COVID-19 crisis and its subsequent fall out of working from home (wfh) has finally helped me achieve my dream. I am either impressed in household chores. Or I am on calls most of the time. And whatever little time I can snatch, I am meditating so that I stay sane.

I don’t know about you. But this mandatory lockdown has changed the whole definition of wfh for me.

The before scenario

Ironic isn’t it…when you have a flexible wfh policy available one often chose to go to office and be with people, harassed by numerous meetings and get plain tired commuting and breathing that obnoxious air. 

The wfh scenario before COVID-19 was one of luxury. Honestly. It meant you could work with a relaxed frame of mind. You could work uninterrupted from calls and meetings that have an insidious way of eating your precious time away. It also meant that you could sit to work with the house pic and clean, the garbage kept out, and the meals cooked. It meant no long hours of commute on that day. You could be home with your pet and take short breaks, stretch, get energised and be back on your desk. Everything was manageable. Work got done. There was no chaos. Things were organised.

And perhaps, like me, you looked forward to applying for wfh for those special occasions when you wanted to celebrate, be home with loved ones or just wanted a short break from the daily commute. It was spontaneous and yet sporadic. It was planned and yet unplanned.

The current scenario

Two weeks gone and another week to go. And I don’t know about you, but this wfh is something that I have never experienced before, and I don’t think I would want this scenario to stay for long. 

My days begin and end with multiple calls. Couple of key topics that are regularly touched upon and measured against a tracker are: communications, stakeholder engagement and business continuity. At the end of each day, my head is swarming with COVID-19 and nothing else. Communicators and consultancies will concur that in any crisis, the first and foremost priority is honest, clear, simple and transparent employee communications and engagement. These are the drivers that strengthen trust and credibility. COVID-19 is no different. Every other discussion, every other PR, every other communication strategy is now at the back-burner.

This wfh scenario is also taking a mental toll. There is simply no escape from the multitude of tasks that are now interspersed with work. Cleaning. Cooking. Laundry. I am finally the superhero I dreamt to be. Only, I am now worried of the subsequent burnout. 

The question remains – how do we make the most of this situation and not saturate ourselves?

Staying sane

We all are coping with wfh and its numerous fall outs and advantages in our own ways. Mental well-being conversations are all around us. Thank God for this one at least. 

Some simple tips to ensure you stay healthy and mindful:

  • Work hard. Play hard.

Why should you have calls only to discuss work? Hang out with your teams digitally with fun as an agenda. May be a tea party. Or discussion around that interesting Netflix show one saw recently.

  • Stretch out

Hydrate yourself and walk away from your desk after every 60/90 minutes.

  • Keep that music on

Yes, this is the time to have the music on. Who knows, you may well graduate from being just a bathroom singer to now having a repertoire of great songs and finally becoming the party entertainer! 

  • Rediscover yourself

Rediscover your hobbies. Pick up new skills!

  • Design your own work environment

I stay in a 3-bedroom flat. My bedrooms are named Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi. When I want to be in Delhi, I simply switch the room! Be creative. Design your own work environment. It does not matter where you stay. Let your imagination run riot!

Finally, shut your devices and keep them away for a few hours. Take a break. You so deserve it.

You are the real superhero!

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Sarita Bahl
Country Group Head CSR at Bayer - South Asia
Sarita Bahl leads the Corporate Social Responsibility function for Bayer South Asia and is also the Director – Bayer Prayas Association. Prior to this, she successfully oversaw the communications and public affairs function for Bayer South Asia. Over her three decades of professional experience, Sarita has held multiple roles across diverse industries, public sector, trade associations, MNCs and the Not-for-profit sector. An alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Science and the Swedish Institute of Management Program, Sarita specializes in stakeholder engagement, sustainability and communications. She is passionate about animals (is mother to a female cat), books and movies.

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