Career Zone

#WFHNewNorm

Erika Joshi US SEO Analyst smiling in front of camera with her laptop at her homeI still remember crisply, the evening of 19th March, when I returned home with my system – simply to work from home for a couple of days as a part of testing due to the COVID-19 pandemic which had just reared its head in India. Following this, a national lockdown was declared by the PM, and never in my wildest dreams did I think of working from home for 2 months now and counting.

My work from home journey started from here – the excitement had just begun. I created my working space at home near my plants. I had just barged into my husband’s working place who is working from home since November. I did not have to struggle for bandwidth, laptop charging points, etc. In a way, I was luckier!

On day 1, I logged in before 9.15 am just to make sure everything was working. I went through the tasks of the day and was really looking forward to my first online daily standup meeting. Most of the ReachLocal Employees were excited about working from home. We were used to getting connected in person but connecting online was a different experience altogether. It gave me a feeling of really entering the digital world where everything was happening online!

The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence. I always envied my husband for working from home. He always used to talk to me about its benefits as well as challenges, both. As I started my work from home journey, even I started to realize these challenges.

  • I noticed that sometimes applications like Wrike take time to open. Initially, I felt it was a broadband issue at my home, I even restarted my Wi-Fi, but then I noticed it was an application-side issue. This challenge keeps on popping its head on and off. Those days we should be ready that the tasks will take more time than usual to complete.
  • One fine day, I realized that my account was un-synced from the Chrome browser. I escalated this to the required personnel and was guided to connect to IT regarding the same. I had to have a remote session and share my screen while facing connectivity issues with the IT guy. Something which could have been resolved real quick face to face had taken hours to resolve online. This made me realize that some things are quickly resolved face to face.
  • I changed my password as it was due for renewal. At that time, in the process it was mentioned for not changing the laptop password, neither was it mentioned that it would affect automatically. The next day, I was not able to connect to my machine. I panicked that during this lockdown period, what was I going to do to resolve this. Coincidentally, I could unlock my system with the newly changed password. This was unexpected because it was explicitly instructed not to change it.
  • Though the Wi-Fi & the set-up was readily available for me, I experienced internet speed issues as most of the people were working from home. I had to lodge a complaint since I was going on and off the connectivity. I remember working on a mobile hotspot until the issue was taken care of.

Every coin has 2 sides. I never thought I would be coming across such challenges. And though, working from home seemed interesting, it had its own set of technical challenges.

Apart from these and such other technical challenges, there were other unimagined challenges that I faced too. Initially, though I was excited about working from home, I was missing on conversing with my ReachLocal Employees. Though we connected online, the feeling of face to face discussion is always different. The same was the scenario for the floor meetings and activities being organized personally.

My day to day routine was changed initially because there was no more traveling for work, I could get up a bit late and cook breakfast. Gradually, I realized this had its own challenges as well as I had to run through my pre-work daily chores like cooking, getting ready, cleaning, etc. I was becoming lazier and taking things for granted. After a week of helter-skelter, and my husband sat down and re-worked the entire daily schedule as all these were running out of hands.

Though it’s just the 2 of us in the lockdown, I am not much stressed for cooking, however, I need to cook daily. My husband also helps me with cooking and cleaning dishes. In these unprecedented times, our housing society allows sabji-wala once in a week on the premises. One day, it so happened that this collided with my meeting schedule. Since the meeting was a priority, my husband had to do the weekly grocery shopping!

Thanks to our leadership support, who always advises us on maintaining a daily routine with our work commitment and why it is important. Now I know why! This quarantine period has truly been a roller coaster ride. There are times when we really miss being with our families. Nowadays, we often connect with our families and friends through online apps. We have made it a norm to have an online video call family get together including extended families once a week. These apps existed before lockdown as well but their importance has been appreciated only during this period. I remember calling my grandma for a traditional “thalipeeth” recipe. We cousins are often engaged in playing online games late evening.

I am also getting time to pursue my hobby of playing music – I am now able to record one song per day after work hours to dissipate my daily work stress. Even my gym trainer has been sending us daily workouts using available things at home like water bottles instead of weights. We enjoy doing it!

My unique lockdown experience was attending an e-wedding of my brother in law that took place in Pune with 10 people attending personally with due permissions. The best part of it was, our relatives across the globe could attend it too.

Work from home is becoming the new norm and as it is being mentioned that we will have to live with COVID-19 virus, I hope that we all abide by the safety laws and be safe at home, be positive by doing things we like, eating proper food, working out as much as possible, staying connected with loved ones and make sure you try to do your bit to keep them safe and happy!

 

Best Regards,

Erika Joshi