Working from home in times of Coronavirus: Yay or Nay?
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Ever since the coronavirus… sorry! ‘The COVID-19 pandemic' has invaded India; our social media feeds are flooded with snaps, hashtags, stories, posts about coronavirus and everything related to corona, basically. Cringey TikTok videos (where people overact in the name of social awareness) and medical advisories issued by uncles and aunties from WhatsApp University is altogether another crisis in the times of corona. But in the midst of lockdown and home quarantine stories, an amusing thing which grabbed our attention is how the millennials are showing off their ‘Work from Home' thing on social media. While people often whine about work pressure and bash their bosses verbally for all the burden during chai breaks are now suddenly enjoying their work… the question is are they really enjoying it or is it just for garnering attention on social media? And apparently, a study done by Nicholas Bloom, a professor at the University of Stanford shows that working from home boosts one's productivity as compared to office. How true it is in context to current scenario in India, when most of the employees are working from home. We spoke to some people who are currently under house arrest and are bound to Work from Home (WFH) to find out are they really having fun while doing WFH, what are the pros and cons as per them and are they satisfied with Modiji's approach towards combating corona… Well, let's just forget this point.

First-timers speak: Unlike freelancers who have well adapted to the work from home culture, here's what office goers who are told to work from home after the COVID-19 outbreak has to say about it. Shruti Ramesh, Associate Consultant at Atos Global IT Solutions, says, “I don't think it's easy to work from home. Working for one or two weeks is manageable for one month or more would be a trouble. We face a lot of network issues plus we have to be available as and when required. We don't get our evening snacks break. Personally, I feel that our working hours at home are more as compared to office hours.” On the same note, Paresh Sukheja, Graphic/ Web Designer and Senior Manager of Designing team asserts, “My team consists of seven people and after the lockdown, managing the team has become a task. Sometimes coordinating on calls doesn't help. From font size, colour, logo etc. every small things I have to scrutinise properly. And if I want something to change something, then I have to explain them on call or video call. Such things make my work more hectic and time consuming.” Both Shruti and Paresh agree to the fact that minor glitches hamper their work flow and you lose the track and it delays everything. Whereas, Sharad Yadav, Jr. Chemical Researcher at IIT Bombay, quips, “It depends upon the nature of work. At this moment some of my work is online research based and can be done remotely, so it's easier.”

Productivity check: Does working from home actually improve one's productivity? To this Shikha Jain, a freelance writer and co-owner of the start-up ‘The Word Affair' answers, “I kind of agree to the fact that working from home might give you better results as there's no protocol to be followed. And I believe when you're at your comfort zone without any burden at the back of your mind you are bound to do better.” Like Shikha who have been working from home from last one and a half years, Shiv Rajvanshi, a PR Expert & Brand Strategist, who's managing all his work sitting at home due to corona crisis, too agrees with the fact. “I totally agree with this study because at home you are at your own comfort zone. It becomes way easier to strike a work-life balance which is quite difficult when you go to office. You get to spend more time with your family and your home provides the much needed stress free environment which creates a room for improvement.” Unlike Shikha and Shiv, Paresh has a different view, “Being a team manager, I disagree with the found study. I don't find any improvement in my or my team's productivity. On the other hand, my work has become a lot more hectic.”

Work, chill and repeat: While some agree and some disagree to the productivity theory as it is something which depends on person to person and is mostly interlinked with environment you work under. But Work from Home comes with a bunch of benefits. You can ditch formals, can sit the way you want and even lie down in bed and work. On the same note, Content writer Harsha Ahuja who opted working from home seven years ago, says, “You continuously don't have to focus on your how you are looking and that gives time to sit in pyjamas without bathing; scratching your bum for some creativity surely helps!” Counting on benefits, Shruti says, “We get more time to spend with our families. You don't have to travel all the way to office and when there is no work, you can watch your favourite web series which is strictly prohibited at office.” Paresh, a doting father of five months old daughter says, “The only benefit is that I can stay around with my daughter all day.”

WFH and woes: Not everything is cool and blissful about WFH, there are minor and major cons which makes this work culture unlikeable. “There are times when it gets difficult when your internet won't work and you can't blame your boss for that. Or if you live with your family your mom can ask you to do chores instead that sucks,” says Harsha. “Family members talking to each other and bumping into your room leads to distractions. Birds chirping, dogs barking, family members arguing while online meetings end up making you feel embarrassed,” shares Shruti. Anurag Singh, Jr. Software Test Engineer at Pulse Solutions, says “There are no major difficulties as such instead WFH cuts down travelling time. The only problem is internet and also power cuts which makes my job difficult.” A part from connectivity issues, you tend to procrastinate which eventually delays your work.

Major missing: Chai breaks, gossiping and sharing lunch with favourite co-workers are the things which make our workplace cheerful and lively. In the times of lockdown, people are missing their workplace and desperately want their work life to be on track. On asked whether you are missing office or enjoying working at home, Shruti said, “I'm missing my office and my colleagues. Working in office with everyone around is fun as we get some time to go out for lunch and tea breaks which is not the case at home.” “Both. Sometimes it feels that office was dedicated for work so it was better and sometimes due to comfort home seems better,” Sharad replied. “I miss making fun of my office buddies,” shares Anurag.

On opting WFH: In future, if ever you had to work as a freelancer or anything which doesn't requires you to go to office, then would you guys do it? “Nope”, Paresh said straightaway. Whereas Shiv says, “Yes! I would give it a shot. Since you have a sense of freedom and can work according to your own time. But when you work in office, you have to work as per company's rules and regulations.” “I am already doing it and would do it for the rest of my witty existence,” Harsha declares. Sharad too feels and says, “Surely, will give it a try.” From Shruti's end it's a big no! “No. I am not a person who loves to stay at home for long. So I would definitely not opt for any job that requires working from home unless and until my situation at that time asks for it.”

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