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Sunday, Oct 11, 2020 22:00 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Oct 11, 2020 16:24 [IST]

Be careful what you wish for

Before an invisible monster called coronavirus burst into our lives, many of us yearned for an idyll called work from home (WFH). That snarly commute downtown would be a distant memory and life would get a chance to balance the scale against work. We got we may have wish for. But, the honeymoon is over even before it actually started.  Indians seem especially overstretched, going by Microsoft’s latest Work Trend Index. Its survey of over 6,000 information and first-line workers across eight countries found that 29% of those in India were facing a burnout, with Covid-fear rated as the top stress point, followed by an inability to keep life and work apart, a loss of co-worker fellowship, and a heavy workload (or extra hours). This may apply to workers in other sectors too. A LinkedIn survey revealed that 41% of Indian professionals felt that working remotely had got in the way of their career progression, even as they endured job uncertainty. Psychologists, meanwhile, have reported a range of other afflictions caused by WFH. This is not how it was supposed to be.

While it is human nature to make a virtue out of a necessity, it is not as if WFH has nothing going for it. In its early days, enhanced productivity was among the gains observed by several business managers. Suddenly, workplace overheads that had seemed hardwired into cost structures went poof. Indeed, the liberation granted by technology from cubicle farms is not to be scoffed at. WFH can also be work from anywhere, and any expansion of choice is to be valued—at least in theory.

India, however, is a country of poor connectivity, power snap-offs and crowded homes, by and large. The daily routines of remote employees have varied contexts. While some find that WFH has put them at a disadvantage vis-a-vis their peers—women with unfair burdens of domestic chores, for example—others are unsettled by a sense of being at the voiceless end of an electronic leash. Apart from stiff boss-subordinate relations, many complain of remote work cultures being a little too robotic. With non-verbal cues all but missing in work interactions, stray but valuable thoughts may fail to get articulated. Group dynamics could suffer. And then, of course, is the lost liveliness of an office buzz. All this may just be the trauma of an inevitable transition, though, as we adjust to a post-Covid world. Offices remain unsafe, WFH cannot be wished away, and cost calculations could push many organizations towards a hybrid model even after the corona scare goes away. If WFH is to prevail well into the future, then it’s about time that we come

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi