Juggling the demands of working from home


THE “new normal” of working from home has become a buzzword since the Movement Control Order (MCO) came into effect and slowly erased the physical boundaries between the job, family and household chores.

While there could be ample articles and books on the subject, the reality may not be as easy, especially when no one seemed to notice someone who is working from home under the MCO as the nation battle COVID-19.

For Ramizah Abdul Shukor, 29, a contract administration employee in an oil and gas company, the hardest part for her is to shift into a work mode, as “it is not as simple as working on a planned scheduled.”

She said a lot of things could go wrong as one shuffles between doing the household chores, handling job commitments, feeding the family, and keeping the kids occupied.

The mother of two finds solace when her husband is around to help out.

“His job falls under the essential services and therefore he goes to work as usual, but during his days off, he helps to take care of the kids, and things become a little manageable during that time,” she related.

Nur Atiqah Suparjo Noordin, 30, a teacher with an international school, said she manages the household chores like cooking and caring for her two kids in between conducting online classes, meetings and training courses.

“I make use of the time between one class and another,” she said.

“Burnout,” is what Mohamad Izham Zainal Abidin, 30, feels at times as he juggles between his job as television manufacturing engineer, and taking care of his heavily pregnant wife and a five-year-old daughter.

“My wife is pregnant with twins and as she is in her third trimester, it is difficult for her to do any household chores. Hence, I take care of it, as well as keep my daughter occupied.

“With these and a string of deadlines, I have had experienced burnout.

“It can be emotionally exhausting. But I manage to find a balance by completing most of my office work at night and get some rest whenever possible without sacrificing my family time,” he explained.

Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) Counseling Centre director Dr Fauziah Mohd Saad emphasised the need to have a positive mindset, despite the predicament that comes with the MCO and the “new norm” of working from home.

An article on Moster.com.my, a global online employment solution for people seeking jobs and the employers who need great people, opined that one of the disadvantages of working from home is that one can forget to clock out.

This is prevalent, especially now that people are not allowed to step out to get social time to contain the pandemic.

Hence, Fauziah said it is important for those who are working from home to get enough rest, perhaps some exercises in their daily routine as well.

“On the other hand, being too laid back can also create anxiety,” she cautioned.

In essence, it all about striking a balance between job and family but not necessarily in a way social media influencers are portraying it to be or how it is written in the books or endless articles, instead what is deemed fit for each and every one of us.