These past 18 months have shown several ways in how work can be done and results can be achieved. But you know what? It has also shown what personal time means. The urge to work from home and flexible working hours has always been there in the mind. Oh, how I wish that would happen. It would be so nice to rest back in bed an extra 30 minutes, loiter around the house in the morning with a cup of hot tea (coffee too, in case you prefer that) and not having to rush to office every single day. Work as you want, take a short nap whenever you like, enjoy being at home 24×7. Wouldn’t that be great? Oh yes, yes, yes. I wish I could have it. Perhaps God heard that too close and decided to answer favourably, but with a twist.
When office closed in the last week of March 2020, I felt it would be easy to handle work while being at home. Perhaps I could throw in an activity or two, maybe some hobby to take up, indulge in some fun activities as well. Work from home was truly home and there I was, taking in the work pressure while also trying to relax and give myself time. You know what? It never happened! Because once the laptop switched on in the morning, the urge to finish work grew. It grew so strong that you felt tempted to stretch your evening to complete the doables. Now that you were at home and in no rush to having to wind up for the day and leave office, it felt good that you could stretch the evening. But then, all evenings continued to stretch now, either by way of attending to work or connecting on calls (Teams & Zoom became parallel lifelines). I guess the urge was not just with me but with everyone else. ‘Can you connect for a quick call?’, ‘Need to discuss something with you urgently’, ‘Can we discuss this a little late in the evening’ became the norm with everyone trying to prove that work is in control. But in reality, we were only burning ourselves out. I hardly managed to gaze at the sunset, or have some me-time while gazing up at the stars in the evenings. Work became never ending and in spite of devoting more time to work, it piled on. Reminds you of this custom in weddings where the groom sits to eat with his own group of friends and family and is served the choicest of food. I was a part of such a spread and with glee started to eat what was served on my plate. It was too many things, but too many good things there which I did not mind devouring. Let me tell you, I love ‘dahi vada’ and there it was on my plate. I finished it off with much glee and was just deciding what to attack next when another ‘dahi vada’ was courteously served to me. Oh no, no, no, I said. The server just smiled and went away. Now what to do, how to finish this serving? I cannot waste it, I thought. So, I finished it off too. Yes, it was too tasty, I tell you. And there we go again. A third serving of ‘dahi vada’ immediately dropped into my plate. I chose to ignore it and moved on to taste the paneer tikka. Finished it off in a flourish. And again! I never asked for a second helping but there it was on my plate, smoothly served with a smile and bow!
Anyway, enough of my eating. Back to where we were – my work. Yes, what I realized was that the faster I completed some work, the more work seemed to there and the more the urge to complete everything now. This was never so earlier. What had changed in this past 2 months of work-from-home. Work was suddenly never-ending. Even my son commented once ‘Papa, are you alright? You are working so late?’ I started yearning for office to start. Perhaps that would help get back life on track and help me give some time to myself and family. I started missing the morning rush, the office coffee, a quick chat with a colleague, the sense of ‘being’ in office in proper office wear. I suddenly wished for it to come back. Please God. I need that. And He heard me. Office opened on 8th Jun 2020 and there I was in office, feeling very happy and content. Work now became more controlled and manageable. I no longer wanted to work at home. No. These few weeks of covid induced days at home had taught me that everything is meant for a reason and has its own place. I realized that work is meant to be done at office, not at home. Home is where your family is, where you give them time and where you enjoy your me-time. And yes, where you enjoy your ‘dahi vada’ without the fear of being served too much!
Author: Rohit Pandey