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Work From Home: How The Pandemic Has Changed How We Work

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In this pandemic situation, the government imposed a nationwide lockdown to prevent its citizens from coronavirus. All the offices and employers are bound to give work-from-home (WFH), which has turned over the life of every employee.

New Aspects of Living During The Coronavirus

After enforcing a work-from-home, the schedule of every person has been modified. People are no more working from 9am to 5:30pm or 8 hours a day. Instead, they’re giving all of their time to their work. Employees are freely working in pajamas and sipping coffee while doing their job. Not only has one’s schedule and lifestyle changed, but the mindset of people has also changed.

People are more focused on adding value to their company rather than relying on others for getting their work done. I am in the export industry and we have to work six days a week, and were not allowed WFH. Before the lockdown, I’d never thought of working from home, but now, interestingly, the company has made a WFH policy for its employees. Unbelievable, but it is true!

Decisive Effect of Coronavirus

After imposing WFH, people are spending more time with their families and helping in household activities too. The family starts understanding the sincerity of their child towards work, family and personal life. In the same way, children are understanding the importance of family in a wider way, and by doing so, the trust factor is building between the family members.

work from home
After imposing WFH, people are spending more time with their families and helping in household activities too.

One thing I realised during this lockdown is that all industries, whether they’re in production, export, automobile or real estate, are providing WFH to their employees. In the export industry, the marketing team has to go abroad to showcase products in the fair organised by the Trade Centre. But now, the Trade Centre has decided to conduct ‘Virtual Trade Fair’, which shows that the whole world has adopted a new way of life.

While taking such steps, not only is the travelling time and the expense incurred is get reduced, but the efficiency and commitment of the employees towards their organisation is getting enhanced. By doing so, we are saving our nature, improving our Air Quality Index (AQI), polluting our oceans and rivers less, and animals are happy to get their life. Even when we go to our balcony, we can feel the freshness in the air. People who live in metropolitan cities and are used to seeing planes in the sky, can now see and feel the presence of shiny stars in the sky.

Impact On The Economic Conditions Of Companies

In this pandemic situation, we cannot deny that our economy has been affected in a vast way. Industries that are in production are not able to open their production department, due to which the economic condition of industries such as the automobile, export etc. are crumbling down day by day. Now, the companies are in a situation where they are seizing salaries of their employees.

In some companies, a salary bar graph has been made and according to their salary, a percentage of the deduction of salaries is being fixed. On the other hand, some companies are cutting a small percentage of salaries and Earned Leaves too. With a dramatic change in the financial status of the company, they are also firing employees and are more focused on stabilising the company by reducing the staff.

Adverse Effects On Employee Conditions During The Pandemic

With companies taking such hard steps, every employee is living in the fear of losing their job and financial security. There are companies that have not provided any clarity to their employees regarding their remuneration, which makes the employees think whether they’ll be getting a fair remuneration for the job they have done.

On the other hand, the decision to reduce the number of employees is in process, which is also affecting the mental stability of employees. In this crucial situation, employees are bound to think, what if they are kicked out from the company? What will be the source of income if the company fires them? In this recession time, do they get a job in any company? If yes, then how much time will it take? Because no one knows for how long we have to live with this virus and when the situation will get back to normal.

Together We Can And We Will Overcome From The Pandemic

There have been both favourable and adverse effects of this pandemic. To face these hardships, we have to be together, because together we can win any situation. This is a crucial time and it is important that both the employers and employees think about each other and be more focused on overcoming this pandemic situation.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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