Three Hours Longer, the Pandemic Workday Has Obliterated Work-Life Balance

Three Hours Longer, the Pandemic Workday Has Obliterated Work-Life Balance
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People are overworked, stressed, and eager to get back to the office.

An executive at JPMorgan Chase & Co. gets unapologetic messages from colleagues on nights and weekends, including a notably demanding one on Easter Sunday. A web designer whose bedroom doubles as an office has to set an alarm to remind himself to eat during his non-stop workday. At Intel Corp., a vice president with four kids logs 13-hour days while attempting to juggle her parenting duties and her job.

Six weeks into a nationwide work-from-home experiment with no end in sight, whatever boundaries remained between work and life have almost entirely disappeared.

With many living a few steps from their offices, America’s always-on work culture has reached new heights. The 9-to-5 workday, or any semblance of it, seems like a relic of a bygone era. Long gone are the regretful formalities for calling or emailing at inappropriate times. Burnt-out employees feel like they have even less free time than when they wasted hours commuting.

“I honest to goodness am wearing the exact same outfit that I started with on Monday,” Rachel Mushahwar, the vice president and general manager of U.S. sales and marketing at Intel, said in an interview last Thursday. “I think I’ve showered three times.”

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