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Is this Pandemic, the WFH reality-check that we needed?

Even as I write this, am glancing at the time, it is almost 5.30 pm here and my work for the day is far from over. Ever since the WFH / work-from-home schedule started, I have been unable to sign off all of the tasks by the evening. At office I was perhaps a lot more adept at time management. Still, I feel, I am more available throughout the day, more keen on working in tandem with the marketing teams because I conserve a lot more energy. The shortest breathers, like a 10-minute tickling session with my baby or changing her diapers, freshens the mind.

In many ways, WFH dynamics are making me question the modern workplace - especially the ones that have had an office-only culture so far. I realize that some organizations have relaxed WFH approvals, ensuring that at least a day in the week is flexible, but largely, most offices still follow the dictum of shift hours. There is something very good and if you look closely, a lot that is counter-productive in the traditional 9-6 working culture. There is a sense of relief when you are about to break free - a sense of accomplishment all of us have carried over from school days. But then there are people who just cannot be communicated with beyond the standard timings and there are those, who need to go back home and re-plug the laptop. The WFH equation could be the savior in both cases as long as it is managed smartly.

I feel mid-Managerial level job profiles and junior roles that don't need a lot of interaction need the liberty of taking up to 4 WFH days in the month. It allows people to maintain a better work-life balance. It takes away the excuses people put up, like those related to traveling in peak hours every day. In a way, it reduces the dependence on casual leaves that are often the result of boredom or just being too tired. Lesser leave deductions should contribute to more employee satisfaction levels. Managers can demand that the day after the WFH leave is the day to perform at 125% level because the team needs it. More energized people on the production floor means more jokes, sarcasm, smiles, and that vibe of positivity.

A mid-week WFH can be a break that people need to get better at their jobs. It also takes away the pandemic of enthusiasm around the weekends - two days at most that seem to be celebrated by every lifestyle channel without realizing that there are lesser fortunate souls who have a long list of chores and families to tend to and not walk down to the local brewery serving froths and the freshest produce for snack time. This season, I have invested in indoor plants, a step away from the overload of planters in the balconies that was getting too dense to manage through the year.

I now realize that the shortest 5-minute break of putting a bottle cap of water into the indoor planters acts like an anxiety relief pill for me. Yes, I have anxiety issues, and during normal working days, the options to get up from the desk and circulate to gather some fresh air usually meant stepping into an overcrowded office lobby or meeting someone who was too eager to explain why his marital life was falling apart.

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