I’m going to start with what may be the most generic thing everyone would say. “These times have been very trying.” Everyone is reacting to it differently. Some people are scared and not leaving their homes, some people are in denial that this cannot be the new normal, some have embraced it, and some have ignored it. I would place myself in the pool of people who have embraced it.
In all honesty, it wasn’t all too hard to embrace it for me, but it does have its pros and cons. Let’s start with the Pros. You save a lot of time and money on the commute. I was one of those who hated traffic so much that I was ready to reach the office an hour before rush hour and leave an hour after to avoid the traffic. Sleep hours have increased, with the extra time you save from the commute. You work from the comfort of your home, which includes furniture and comfy clothes. Time spent with my parents has drastically increased, owing to working from home, but even regular plans have reduced exponentially. It was at least once a week back in the regular workdays, and now it’s like once a month.
Moving on to the Cons, the major one is not getting to hang with the office mates for like 9 months now. The Friday Jalsa plans (sometimes even mid-week), the amazing lunches, where people showed off their skills as chefs, the chai time snacking… Yes, a lot of the things I miss are food-related. I also believe work can be a lot more effective if meetings were still physical; in that case, clients did not have the liberty to dodge our calls as often if you show up at their offices. I got to learn and grow a lot more when I was amongst the team every day. Not that people don’t offer help now but working in silos restricts that to a certain limit.
The story of how the lockdown started for me is a tad different than most of you. So, in the early stages of the pandemic, back in early March, when not too many people (Including me) were taking it seriously. However, I was asked to quarantine and work from home when I got back, and during my quarantine, our country went down into country-wide lockdown 2.0.
Although my job didn’t exactly need me physically present in the office, being one who worked better in the office took some getting accustomed to the new normal. Also, I was in the middle of a significant transition internally, which did add insult to injury. But quite quickly, I accepted that this is the new normal, which I will be working with for a while. So I may as well make the most of it. I stumbled for a bit, as did many people, I assume, but I think it’s safe to say I landed on my feet. That is basically when I understood the weight of the below sentence.
No matter how impossible it may seem, if something needs to be done, you find a way to get it done.
I think everyone would agree that different markets function differently, but I would agree that most global markets do have some similarities in the functions. Still, it sometimes seems like the Indian market is just doing its own thing, which is a transition. I was in between changing markets and grasping how this side of the business functions without continually being around people who have been here was the more significant challenge for me with the lockdown and working from home.
Having said that, triumphing over the challenges mentioned above would be the most significant achievement during this lockdown. My team has been able to bring in accounts/business, and I have grown it to as high as 300% in a month. Q3 I found myself managing a minimum of 25 campaigns live at any given time and across multiple industries, the biggest of which are technology, finance, and to my surprise as well, TRAVEL!
Being something that I never imagined happening in my wildest of dreams, I was not prepared for this, and that gave me some crucial things to keep in mind while working from home in the future. The top of which would be that work NEVER stops. I should have a desk at home and make sure you NEVER let your family know you have a minute free or get 20 errands to run for home. And finally, work from home does not mean you stop taking care of your body and get lazy. Stay Active.
The fact that it is a new normal, working from home is a trend that I believe will be set in stone for everyone. As people have slowly, but indeed, started to think that this is the new normal, and remote working, or avoiding physical meetings as far as possible, may become a tradition in the industry. Of course, this is all circumstantial, and I think it depends on how long the pandemic lasts, but as I said in the start, I am one of those who have embraced this. So, I’m not complaining either way.
Authored Article by Harman Singh, Asst. Client Account Manager, Httpool India