How work-from-home has disrupted mothers’ work-life balance

Work-from-home has only upended a working woman's work-life balance, affecting her physical and mental health.

By Yogita Tulsiani

The life of a working mother is not easy, and juggling home and work responsibilities keeps them on their toes. Despite that, many are able to manage both and excel.

The equation, however, has changed completely after the Covid-19 outbreak. The pandemic-induced lockdown has paved the way for work-from-home (WFH), which was initially touted as an ideal solution for those finding work-life balance, especially for working mothers, for they could give more time to their kids and home. It, however, became a daunting task to manage the burden of daily chores, 24×7 caregiving, and balancing professional life for a lot of working women.

Here’s how WFH has impacted the lives of working women.

1. More responsibilities, more challenges: Working mothers don’t just have professional responsibilities, they are also invested in caregiving. Due to the pandemic, schools have gone online and it has only made things difficult for children. Since it’s tough for them to adapt to this new way of learning, they need their parents’ supervision and for working women, it gets tough to simultaneously handle their own work and assist kids with online classes. The workload increases as they also have to devote time to help kids with homework. This affects their work performance. It is even tougher with toddlers who are still breastfeeding. In such cases, women have little time to themselves.

2. Impact on physical/mental health: Work-from-home has only upended a working woman’s work-life balance, affecting her physical and mental health. The strenuous efforts to keep up with work responsibilities with long hours of shifts along with caregiving duties drain her energy. The same cycle takes a toll on her mental health as well.

3. Effect on current and long-term career prospects: For working mothers dealing with the weight of work and home responsibilities, there have been several missed opportunities that they could not convert into possible successes. The long hours of work coupled with home duties have only made things tough for women aiming for bigger roles and better opportunities in their careers. They find it tough to apply for a better opportunity or look for a bigger role as handling both could become too much. The crisis is exposing new inequalities in the gender gap as working mothers deal with a greater burden.

4. Meeting deadlines in this new set-up: Remote working comes with its own set of challenges as efficiency and productivity remain a concern. Allocation of time and resources becomes a tough task for companies, and for employees, especially working mothers, it gets even tougher to adjust to the demand.

5. No time for rest: Not just work and kids, women are usually involved in most of the household work, too, in the absence of domestic help due to the pandemic. This reduces whatever time they are left with to rest or relax. It may result in an over-exhausted, stressful, and overburdened population of women.

6. A lonely way: Working women miss out on a lot of things. Due to lack of time, it gets tough to participate in social gatherings or other such events. In fact, interaction with colleagues also remains negligible so the scope for discussions, idea sharing, or casual office chats is limited. Communication is essential for every individual and remote working has taken that away.

(The writer is the MD of iXceed Solutions)

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