The COVID-19 pandemic has not only created havoc in the healthcare systems worldwide but has also resulted in a wide range of changes vis-à-vis the personal and work lives of people around the globe. To prevent the spread of this virus, a large number of countries took steps such as imposing a lockdown, closure of offices, social distancing, etc. This unprecedented situation created significant changes in the everyday life scenario of people, especially resulting in an imbalance in the work-life balance.
According to a report by UNESCO in 2020, it was estimated that more than 70% of the world's student population, which is roughly around 1.2 billion students, had been affected by temporary school closures and/or restricted services. Even the working individuals, who previously had a distinction between their professional work and personal lives, continue to experience emotional exhaustion while working from home during these tough times. As compared to earlier, when there was a different work environment and then a home to return to after a stressful day at the office, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely overturned this set of affairs.
The unforeseen collapse of work-life boundaries has made the working demographic juggle between the work requirements and taking care of the family needs. Not only this, but the non-working population has also suffered deeply, being a victim of exploitative stress-induced behavioural changes, increased household chores, etc. Even though there are lesser gender inequalities in terms of professional circumstances with the evolution in societies, this ball-game in which we currently find ourselves, has somehow sustained these gender-related differences, especially in developing countries like India.
Subsequently, employers, as well as governments around the world, need to pay attention to these concerns regarding social equality, mental well-being and also professional work security. Families should support their fellow members and share responsibilities and/or obligations, disregarding the so-called gender-defined roles. Only when all of us join hands together, we can somehow accomplish maintaining this work-life balance, adjusting to this new normal.
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