Nearly two years into the pandemic are PR professionals in India exhausted?
Media outreach specialist Deepayan Roy says candidly,"Working from home has disrupted our usual routine and daily work-life balance. As there is no start and definite log-off time or lunch breaks it leaves us exhausted. Also, we don't get to meet our colleagues face to face or chat over lunch and to discuss any work-related issues. Which earlier acted like good therapy sessions to release our stress. Yes, we can solve these issues over Zoom or Microsoft calls but in person meetings are way much more impactful than Zoom calls."
Neha Yaduvanshi, founder & CEO, Vastada Consulting explains that anxiety and sleep has been exhausted leading to exhaustion at work, additionally, "There is negative news all around the world, which indirectly affects the mental health of an individual. I remember during the second wave of the pandemic, news from miles away, like Italy, distressed us here in India as it pains to see a virus taking control of the world. Working in such a tired, disturbed mental state, makes you want to do nothing."
Pooja Arora, senior PR associate says, "There hasn’t been any breathing space or moments of less pressure or stress. Working in the healthcare industry keeps me on my toes and wide awake all day, reading about the high rate of infections and the daily load of COVID-19."
Sandhya Sutodia, co-founder, Turiya Communications LLP agrees with this saying that people are under tremendous stress because of the media bombarding them with news.
She adds, In addition to that, "Somebody in every family is dealing with Covid symptoms and they fear that there will be casualties. We have observed that this subconscious fear percolates to their working life."
Work from Home adding to the exhaustion at work
"Sitting back on your bed or table and calling media or your clients with your family talking in the background can really be exhausting and unprofessional at times- which de-motivates and slows down work !“ says Mehar Gulati, founder. Scarlet Relations.
Senior PR Executive Sneha * says, "Honestly, I feel face to face meetings/discussions are more effective than those we do via video calls. Also, working alone at home lacks motivation, while working in an office with fellow employees creates a motivational work environment."
What are firms doing to support their employees?
Agreeing that WFH is a major cause for exhaustion, Arushi Awasthi, director-brand communications, of online professional education portal Hero Vired says,"Hero Vired has implemented several measures to keep employees engaged as well as safe and healthy. The organization understands the importance of employees emotional wellbeing, it being the need of the hour, and has initiated 1:1 complimentary sessions with a counsellor."
Kuresha Jain, image manager, Crosshairs Communications shares that apart from Fun Friday's, "Post-work, we also get on casual calls where we talk about non-work affairs like K-dramas and industry gossip. Of course, only if one wishes to! In a nutshell, we’re trying our best to thrive in this pandemic with the hope that this phase shall end soon and we’ll be back in offices, sipping coffee during breaks. Together!"
Sutodia says that her firm, "Do not engage in any WhatsApp communication after office hours and on weekends unless it is an emergency. Also, we provide online counselling to our colleagues and team members whenever required."
Runki Goswami, CMO Xebia Global Services, has helped work on, "Various initiatives and policies such as “Silent Hours” which discourages us from making calls or planning meetings, internally, post 7 PM. We also have a dedicated counselling platform - “YourDost” which offers therapy any time."
Arora shares that, "Keeping in mind our physical wellness, my organization sent across fitness buddies in the form of smartwatches, which encouraged us to perform daily step challenges and provided a personalized wellness report. We also have access to Headspace, which provides daily advice to help us relax, reset, and recharge our minds."
Roy believes that, "The most important thing is to start speaking up. Not venting out emotions can actually make our minds dull and toxic. Journalling our thoughts or talking about them with someone is helpful to a large extent. I feel I am more expressive with colours. Hence, whenever a negative thought strikes I take some personal time out to paint or draw something in order to calm myself and get back rejuvenated."
Top Tips for self care at work
Vanshika Naranng, Founder & CEO of Lets Talk Mind!
- Reduce multitasking
- Switch to regular calls instead of Zoom meetings which means less screen time.
- Sleep well or take a nap in between
- Listen to music to keep you pepped.
- Focus on your goals.
- Keep your working hours fixed