The past year of working from home seems to have brought working professionals to an inflection point. Earlier this week, Microsoft published its 2021 Work Trend Index, noting that over 40% of professionals across the world are so tired that they want to change jobs, some even careers. Gen Z seems the worst affected: 60% said they were “merely surviving or struggling”; others admitted to feeling isolated, being unable to drum up enthusiasm for work, and not having much to contribute to team meetings. Yet time spent in meetings has more than doubled, and over 40 billion more emails were delivered in February compared to last year, the report says. It all adds up to a seemingly endless cycle of work, with little time for relaxation. The result is a sense of feeling burnt out, which is what our cover story explores this week.
We all know people who have been overwhelmed by the load of managing work, chores, online schooling, caregiving for elders from afar, and more. But while the pandemic has made us more prone to burnout, it’s not just the virus that has brought us to what seems like the brink. Workplaces tend to be harsh and in the corporate world, admitting to burnout is cause for shame and guilt about not doing enough. It is time for workplaces and managers to be more compassionate, and that requires more than just tokens like wellness leave. It’s about fostering a culture of inclusiveness, pay commensurate with work, and respect.
A company that claims to have benefited from policies on sabbaticals is Pepperfry, and its co-founder Ambareesh Murty says the idea for his furniture retail startup came to him while he was on such a break. It’s a practice he has introduced in Pepperfry, and he believes it has contributed to what he describes as the team’s tenacity during the pandemic, when the demand for home-office furniture and décor shot up.
Lounge has more easy reading this weekend, including an interview with artist Sudarshan Shetty, a piece on the role of acidity in daily cooking, stories on sports and fitness, and a column on learning to live with boredom.
Write to the Lounge editor firstname.lastname@example.org @shalinimb