BENGALURU: Worries about catching the virus, topsy-turvy sleep cycles, concerns about public transport... Professionals are facing work-from-home withdrawal symptoms as they swap their pajamas for formals again
For techie Jeetesh Irudayraj, a workday was earlier involved planning the day in advance, keeping an outfit ready and preparing for meetings. But after working from home for over two months, he has lost track of his daily routine. So much so that going back to his older timetable seems like a nightmare to him now. And Irudayraj isn’t alone in feeling the trepidation. With employers resuming the work-from-office schedule, many workers are citing anxious moments to get back to the old cycle.
During the initial phase of the lockdown, Mpower, a mental health counselling centre, had launched a helpline to address mental health concerns during COVID-19. In the past two months, they received over 45,000 calls. According to them, 52 per cent of their callers complained about being anxious about life post lockdown.
“I have lost track of time – I sleep late and there is no particular time of waking up. I have almost forgotten what clothes I have in my wardrobe,” laughs Irudayraj, whose firm has asked employees to report to office on alternate days. He adds that his biggest fear is being unable to wake up on time for his daily 10am meetings. “I don’t understand how an alternative day schedule of working from home keeps us safe,” wonders Irudayraj, who resumed working from office on Monday.
Agrees Sweta Sarangi, a techie who stated that being a mother of a four-year-old, it’s a scary thought for her to step out of home with concerns of getting infected. “Though I prefer to work from home, absence of a househelp made it a nightmare to manage work and home. But I would not have had it any other way since I know we are safe at home, especially my daughter,” says Sarangi, who has been working from home since March. She adds, “I watched a video on the difficulties faced by kids who were infected, and from then on I further ensured sanitation. But now, reporting back to my office raises concerns of being exposed to the virus.”
For Bharat M, his usual bus from Koramangla to Bellandur has now been replaced by an Uber. “It’s become a huge expense for me. Work from home seemed like a better option,” says the operations manager. Experts feel that the constantly evolving present scenario is bound to leave people feeling misplaced. “Most can’t even predict how their next day is going to be, so feeling lost is a normal human tendency. This is added onto concerns of being safe from the virus,” says Venkatesh Babu GM, consultant psychiatrist, Fortis Hospital. “The best way to deal with such situations is communication. If you are living with a child or elderly people, you should immediately raise your concerns with your office.”
As different Indian states gradually ease the lockdown restrictions, Mpower’s helpline received calls from people reporting various concerns, including
● Anxiousness about stepping out of their homes
● Returning to work
● Work-life balance