Are we already living in a ‘brave new world’ as imagined by Aldous Huxley in early 20th century or are we just going in that direction?
The Romanian society tends to look more and more like
the dystopia imagined by Huxley, who envisaged a world of stability and peace
where completely despiritualized people used to live in false freedom and
harmony. The restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the dreadful
coronavirus are changing the human nature in a very subtle way, which was quite
unpredictable in the early days of the pandemic. However, all these strange
things like the lockdown, the limited freedom of movement, the closed theatres,
cinemas and restaurants is the new normalcy. And so is the remote working. In
the following minutes, sociologist Vladimir Ionas is going to tell us more on how
the working conditions changed during the pandemic and how they are influencing
the psychological exhaustion phenomenon.
Vladimir Ionas:" The pandemic has altered both the behaviour of
the employee and the employer. The idea of people working from home at first
raised a lot of questions related to productivity. However, productivity didn't
drop during the pandemic as expected, on the contrary. And employers started to
like the idea of letting employees to work from home as much as they can.
Besides a lot of advantages related to rented offices and other costs,
employers realized that productivity is on the rise and that's a good thing."
No one would have believed at
that time that one could raise productivity by working in pajamas and attending
ZOOM sessions. However, there are side effects, like increased psychological
and physical exhaustion adding to the burnout phenomenon, as working from home
implies a larger amount of work. Here is
again Vladimir Ionaș:
Vladimir Ionas:" Employees are motivated by the uncertainties
related to keeping their jobs, and they want to prove that they can perform
well from home too or even better. So they have doubled their efforts, trying
to finish the work faster and they start being affected by the burnout effect,
which has been reported in an increasingly higher number of categories not only
in the medical personnel who have lately been subjected to an increased amount
of stress. There were employees who worked without breaks in a bid to finish
their work earlier and they even worked at night. There are also children who
are at home now because schools have been closed down and they need attention
too. So, there are many factors as you can see, which may lead to this burnout
Old vulnerabilities that we all feel at certain times
in our careers, have deepened during the pandemic mainly as the job market
doesn't look very good nowadays. This has also exerted more pressure on
employees. Here is Vladimir Ionaș with more on the issue.
Vladimir Ionaș:" The concern that we all feel these days about
our jobs has triggered in those working from home the need to prove that can
perform as good as if they were in the office. There were people even before
the pandemic who said they can do their jobs from home, they don't need an
office, and the pandemic gave them the opportunity to prove they can be even
better at their jobs by working from home. Unfortunately, this situation has
prolonged and it proved that for some employees the amount of work they had to
deal with proved to be higher than before the pandemic. Even now, there are big
percentages, around 60-65 % of the active population, who prefer to do their
work from home because besides all the shortcomings there are also positive
aspects, like more time to spend with the family and the loved ones and that's
a good thing."
School from home was also believed to be absurd until
the pandemic but now it's reality, significantly impacting the development of
the young people's social abilities. Let's listen to Vladimir Ionaș again:
Vladimir Ionaș: "Young people are bearing the brunt of the new
situation as they were at the beginning of a new life, a student life when one
has to go from hostel to classes and meet with friends and colleagues. They can
no longer enjoy the student life as we know it because most of the faculties
and universities shifted to online courses. And I believe these young people need
more attention from the psychological point of view. The fact that 65% of the
employees have voted in favour of home working even after the pandemic proves
they are pleased with how things are going on right now."
A question remains though: are we already seeing the
dawns of the society depicted in Huxley's book or is this just an impression?