Article (August-2020)

Articles

WORK FROM HOME MAY BE A NIGHTMARE

H.L. Kumar

Designation : -   Advocate, Supreme Court

Organization : -  New Delhi

01-Aug-2020

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When humanity all over the world is gasping for life from the pandemic caused by the corona virus, the milestones in the lives of people are uncared for and rightly so. We are passing through a period of corana virus in history or never been dreamt as a remote possibility have become a grim reality. COVID-19 has brought many almost irreversible changes in the life of human being. The pandemic has spurred the new work culture of 'Work from Home' (WFH) particularly pertaining to office works. As on now, even the courts have been transformed from practical to virtual modes. There are many areas like production and distribution where work from home is still a wild goose chase, but nobody knows about the future.

Man, as they say, is a social animal but COVID -19 has compelled the people to become unsocial. This culture has also increased the psychological problems as it has significantly restricted the movement and the socialization of the people. There are no doubts, many pros in favour of Work from the Home system. Some of them are: It is easier to get into a flow of state of deep work when you are in your home office, without colleagues dropping by and sitting down impromptu to talk about their weaknesses. Limiting unnecessary interruptions from your colleagues and the boss is a big plus of working from home and it is one of the reasons why many remote workers are more productive than office-based workers.

The other advantage is that 9-to-5 desk job is that it prevents you from being able to handle almost anything else that comes up in your life, whether attending a routine dentist appointment or picking a sick kid up from school. When you work from home, while you still have to meet your deadlines and be available. When you say you will be, you generally, have wider bandwidth to tend to other responsibilities without jeopardizing your job.

The absence of an obvious division between the personal and professional realms means some remote workers get distracted by housework. It is a constant balancing act to make sure you are taking enough time for your family and yourself. The pitfall is that there is always a computer on and available, so setting boundaries and sticking to those boundaries is pretty important.

The third most important good thing with the new culture is that you can save a lot of money and avoid wasting hours that others spend simply getting to and from work when your office is right down the hall. It helps to avoid traffic battles of travelling long-distances. Not having to deal with commuting is a huge plus and saves a minimum of an hour a day that could be put to better and more satisfying use.

However, the flip side of it appears to be weightier than the plus side. Many who work from home lament that they often find themselves working around the clock since their labour has no definite start or end times. As a result, they sometimes feel like they are literally always at work, making it difficult to shift to the post-work relaxation mode that many office workers take for granted.

The absence of an obvious division between the personal and professional realms means some remote workers get distracted by housework. It is a constant balancing act to make sure you are taking enough time for your family and yourself. The pitfall is that there is always a computer on and available, so setting boundaries and sticking to those boundaries is pretty important.

Similarly, while a few who work from the home express feeling of being 'lonely'. Although they always remain flooded with digital communications systems such as email, chat, social media and text. Just like in relationships, it can be easy to misconstrue tonality of someone's messages. We are often blind without body language and facial expressions to rely on, and we assume the worst. Therefore, there needs to be an extra effort made in maintaining positive communications. In the same way, what can be a blessing can also become a curse in the form of cabin fever. Some freelancers and others who work from home generally complain that the place they work during the day is the exact same place they'll be sitting later that evening and that getting involved in their work often translates to spending a huge portion of the day indoors. Many have to reschedule their lunches and other meetings to keep them in the mix and avoid the rut of never leaving the house.

It is easier said than done that Work from Home can be the choice of many persons. Most of the office goers and techies in India cannot afford to have small houses and therefore, it is highly difficult for them to keep one separate room for the office work. When the children find their parents are at home, they take usual liberty granted with them, which not only causes distractions but also the tensions in the equal proportions. For young married persons, work from home is a real tight rope walk, when both espouses want to have more attention of each other. Moreover, in order to regularly work from home, one has to make a reasonably good amount of investments for the working table, good laptop, dimmable lights, lamps, pen stands and acoustic systems, which again is no less than a luxury for most of the employees.

It is for the first time we are witnessing the complexity of having to work through both demand and supply-side issue. So many parts of the supply-chain have been disrupted because the demand has considerably come down. The people can increase their demands when they have the money in their pockets and then they feel good about spending money more so, when there is certainty in their lives. At present because of the extreme slowdown which started much before the COVID-19, people do not have the capacity to buy anything apart from essentials. Therefore, to consider that the work from home is panacea to many of the problems is an over-simplistic statement. It is true that a large number of people have started depending on the online services, but affordability is the main constraints that come in the way. New generation and the captains of industry and business will have to seriously consider and address the problems arising out of the pandemic of Corona to find the long-time solutions of the problems.