Work From Home During Lockdown
The current work-from-home scenario is a peculiar one. While we still enjoy the perks of not having to fight the traffic for about an hour or more every day, thereby saving both time and energy, it is in no way as comfortable or perhaps fun as it had been before this.
- Domestic work. Most colonies have banned the entry of maids and even delivery boys. While the absence latter doesn’t hurt much, the absence of the former has completely disrupted our lives. Now even movie stars and higher management people, most of whom are too busy to give a second thought to petty tasks such as household chores, are now forced to do them. And videos of many men doing household chores have been circulating, which makes women feel proud and happy. But some mothers feel the pain to see their sons work.
- Daily essentials. Big Basket and many other home delivery services had not been available for many weeks. Each one of us had to walk the distance and buy some vegetables, whatever we could manage to get. We had the money but we were never sure whether it will help us get the items we needed then. This created a certain sense of anxiety in our minds, most often at the back of our minds but it’s there.
- Personal hygiene. We had to raise the standards of our personal hygiene so much that we have been applying sanitizers or washing our hands every time we stepped out of our homes, and then again once we returned, even if it was for 5 minutes. This extra effort also consumes time and mental space. Even though this might become a norm very soon, most of us are still trying to make it a habit.
- Cooking food. Food delivery is no longer an option in many places even now. This has forced many of us to learn how to cook, which is good. But cooking food consumes time and needs planning and effort for a beginner.
Each of these activities consumes time and energy and occupies some mental space in our minds. While avoiding traffic and saving commute time gives us a sense of gaining time, we are actually left with lesser time than on a normal day, to spend on our work and with our family.
This situation is peculiar and particularly interesting because many of my friends in IT and e-commerce have told me that their work has been increased because of the perception that they have that extra hour or so from not commuting to the office and back. Even though my work hasn’t increased, I have experienced that we are spending extra time communicating work-related information to a team member or supervisor over the official call or messenger software (I miss those days when we negotiated with other teams for meeting rooms!). Add to this the uncertainty in internet network connection or electricity connection due to unreliable infrastructure and lack of technical support during this lockdown.
As many experts are predicting these seem like the initial days of what they’re calling the “new normal”. Apart from making people more self-reliant in doing their own stuff (Do Your Own Stuff (DYOS)), this will also perhaps redefine what “communication” means.