Aakriti Agarwal- Director, Customer Marketing at Numly(TM), Inc.
Being a digital marketer and a content writer, my roles have always been multiple and blurred. Pandemic just made the struggle pretty real.
I remember at the peak of the pandemic; my then team size was dropped to only 14% of total capacity, the business soared high like never before and we were still pushing to meet all the deadlines.
Jarred routines, a new way of living with family 24*7, and the pressure to have the green dot beside your name all the time, was my testimony of major Burnout. I ate breakfast while replying to emails and dinner with my video off on zooms. I couldn’t speak politely with anyone as a result.
Man is and will continue to be a social animal. We need humans around us to function at our best. The pandemic brought with it the WFH dynamic which took away the same social animal from us – from a well-crowded office space, where peers engaged on favorite coffee booths and activities and put him into a cage. A home office with a laptop where we are expected to work the same way we used to. This pandemic has largely taken us away from human interactions – the very social factor that makes us unique.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs also puts the need of belongingness right after the basic needs of food and shelter. The absence of which is an impediment to our very functioning.
Emotional wellbeing has been the buzz of the social media landscape forever, with no one to walk their talk. Organizations are seldom considerate enough to address this as a mainstream issue and to be able to prioritize the mental health of their greatest asset – people. While managers in the new normal themselves bore the brunt of this burnout, some were considerate enough to motivate their teams to take personal time off to cope. The short breaks and vacations helped, but only until the day of returning to office with all the craziness around pending files.
In the November of 2020, BMC Public Health released a review of research on the topic of how working from home (WFH) affects mental and physical health. This review found that the impact of WFH on a team member’s health depended greatly on the level of organizational support within an institution.
The review further states:
“It is likely mandated [WFH] will continue to some degree for the foreseeable future; organizations will need to implement formalized [WFH] policies that consider work-home boundary management support, role clarity, workload, performance indicators, technical support, facilitation of co-worker networking, and training for managers.”
The overarching message from this research is clear: the well-being of an institution’s team starts with the support and resources provided by business leaders.
Peer Coaching could be the antidote for dealing with burnout. By design, peer coaching brings people who have no formal accountability or interaction with each other under a safe space. When people are well-matched based on their skill sets, interests, and goals, this space enables them to share, interact, and foster deeper learning. It completes the missing social factor, by enabling meaningful conversations with peers journeying through similar situations and challenges. Thus, enhancing the feeling of belonging and boosting engagement at the workspace, where the loads are largely reduced through sharing.