I heard this term “Work from Home” for the first time when I worked with Apna Paisa a Sequoia funded venture – the new-age start-up. This was the official term used for “Working from Home” where I was one of the privileged ones to avail “Work from Home” periodically. I loved this arrangement especially in monsoon, by avoiding clumsy travel and enjoy rains with tea and pakoras in the company of my laptop.
This motivated me to create a small work station in the living room from where I could watch nature in its full glory. This was many years ago but work station remains, I am superstitious that most great ideas for writing emerge from here. I would admit that I have done some great pieces from here and call it “Sinhasan Battissi” So whenever I needed to work on a stressful rather challenging assignment, I would tell my boss, Mr Harsh Roongta, WFH on SB. He would laugh it off…
Coming back to WFH – It’s not that I never did office work at home but it was charitable work, it was never accounted for. In the 90s it was unthinkable – not to go to the office at 9 AM. Going to the office was sacrosanct. It used to give us a different high altogether.
WFH returned in my life again after a gap of four years with a prestigious project in IIT Bombay where I anchored and edited a book – Energy Swaraj. Author Dr Chetan Singh Solanki gave me full freedom/flexibility to plan it all including – WFH. And I must admit that it turned out to be such a rewarding experience and Dr Solanki would acknowledge that with the result in the form of his book and blogs.
This time my approach was very disciplined: Work from 10:30 AM to 1:30 AM (Peak productive time, of course, domestic helps withstanding) followed by a course full meal, not tiffin, two-hour rest back at work around 4 with tea and snacks, till 7:30 followed by a two-hour break and then night shift. It worked well and this is how I realised the importance of WFH. It is a great way to exploit the potential of senior employees in the creative field who have the skillset and expertise but not the energy of fighting the crowds of Mumbai locals and official grind.
Now, WFH has proven to be the lifeline of the corporate world. I knew it will become something very big someday, but this way, never imagined. This time, it is not out of flexibility or a new corporate culture where you can be at home in office and vice versa while working for global companies, it is out of compulsion.
WFH is the new normal, trend favoured going forward ( WFH resurfaced again in my life with me joining corporate sector briefly). This time we are holed up indoors, with no chance of meeting anyone, visiting friends or relatives, it’s just you, your family and laptop. The only difference being “You are working from home and Working for home” simultaneously. It is like playing the double role of 70s movie “Sita Aur Gita” – when the boss calls, you timidly say “Yes Sir / Maam, no problem, I will do it just now! With Jhaadu in one hand and mobile in the other, you don’t know which to bang first. When the husband calls for tea, you become Gita: Can’t you see the boss called, I have to finish that report. Prepare tea and give me too!
Life couldn’t have been busier than this! All domestic / household work – teamwork completely at a toss, cooking, dishes, washing, cleaning, attending phones – personal, official and then humongous office work. Then there are webinars/ FB Live Shows/ Hobby Classes and full-time FB and Twitter. Not to forget regular bantering by husband and children who think mummy/wife is at home to dole out dishes and dance to their tunes. This is when we take over the role of Geeta! Thanks, Sippy ji for giving us endearing Hema Malini ji as Sita and Gita, my all-time favourite.
WFH is the nectar from Covid19, let’s not let it become: Nectar in the sieve.
Let’s exploit its full potential Covid or no Covid.