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Work From Home: the new work style of Mauritians – By Afsheen Nobeebux

During this new age, the balance between work and life commitments has always been a subject of debate. It is a gruelling task to achieve equilibrium between these two life determining responsibilities.

The Government introduced the concept of Working From Home (the “WFH”) in July 2018 and the Employment Rights (Working From Home) Regulations 2019 (the “Regulation) came into force as from 01st March 2019. Home working became an antidote in saving the overbalanced work life. However, this phenomenon is new to Mauritius, adopted during the outbreak of Coronavirus and giving no time to its population to create the right working atmosphere at home.

The implementation of the Regulation by the Government was an act of good faith. However, will Mauritians adapt to this lifestyle, working to the detriment of their mental health during the lockdown?

WFH has been fully embraced by the private sector. In this sudden change of situation since 20th March 2020, many employers and employees have been doing their best in the delivery of their work. However, there are several challenges which need to be considered while WFH, namely:

  • Tendency to work too hard and for a longer period
  • Working in the comfort of one’s home comes with its own distractions
  • Struggling with one’s productivity when not supervised
  • The pervasive feelings of being lonely and isolated for a long term

Working in the comfort of one’s home is a dream that comes true to many, yet a nightmare to some. Working from home can make us feel isolated and lonely. Loneliness is the most reported challenge when it comes to home working. It is indirectly proportional to the motivation and the productivity of people.

What is the consequence of people not adopting the WFH concept?

It is regarded as ‘unfair’ to many individuals who are working as there are few who aren’t doing the same but are receiving their end month salary. The question which arose from this situation is: What is the penalty?

The annual leaves of those not-working employees are being deducted in the attempt of achieving fairness – based on the Section 45(6) of the Workers’ Rights Act 2019 (the “WRA 2019”). Nevertheless, an agreement between the employer and the employee is the sine qua non of the reduction of annual leaves.

Another remedy proposed by the WRA 2019 – Section 32 is, an accord is reached between the employer and the employee for a cutback in his/her salary because he/she is working for a lesser number of hours.

How can one overcome those challenges?

Home working is a band-aid solution to the economy during the crisis. The proposed solutions are as follows:

  • It is important that the individual maintains communication with his/her manager to understand what is expected from him/her.
  • Create a functional workspace – this will build a clear boundary between work and home and this will send an important message to the people living with you that you are actually working.

It is a fact that the Beer virus is pushing everyone to isolate themselves. Nevertheless, we should not give up on ourselves. This is indeed a stressful time. The scope of avoiding isolating feelings is higher if we put more effort in reaching out to colleagues and friends.

So, do not be reluctant to reach out for help because we are only human.

By Afsheen Nabillah Nobeebux

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