Bengaluru is the IT hub of India and when a nerd contracted Coronavirus, his international company panicked and closed its offices and told everyone to work from home.
The same thing happened in Hyderabad (575 kms from Bengaluru, by road), when a IT guy tested positive for the bug that has advanced features than the regular flu virus. The whole building was shut down and everyone was told to go to the safety of their homes and work from there.
Working from home seems so cool; you don’t have to stress over traffic jams on way to work, especially if you are living in Bengaluru and have to cross the infamous Hebbal Bridge or the tear-inducing Mekhri Circle.
The workplace today has turned productive and there is maximum utilisation of office space. Gone are the desk cubicles made infamous by the American comic strip Dilbert
In Europe, people get to work from home once every week so that they do not become nervous wrecks and have frequent panic attacks, as the office atmosphere is so stressful.
When you work from home you do not have a creepy supervisor peeking over your shoulder and you do not have to deal with the office bully, or the smiley guy in finance looking for an office partner.
The workplace today has turned productive and there is maximum utilisation of office space. Gone are the desk cubicles made infamous by the American comic strip Dilbert.
Everything is now “open space”, and you plug in your tiny laptop on a desk allocated to you for the day and quickly start making a lot of money for the company, or so the ergonomic experts believe.
I once told my boss that I am working from home so that I can get a load of things done, and he agreed.
“Wow, I got it made,” I thought to myself, sitting in my pyjamas at my work table at home, unshaven, my teeth unbrushed, the favourite jazz radio station blasting out the sweet notes, and scratching the cat’s ears, when the doorbell rang.
The panic you feel when you are relaxed at home and working productively and suddenly hear the doorbell ring, is even more terrible then when the boss comes over to your desk and tells you do something which you really, really hate to do.
Your wife, spouse, partner or whatever the other half is called these days, had forgotten to tell you she has ordered groceries for the day; inane stuff like eggs and drain cleaner.
You shove the perishable groceries into the fridge, make myself another cup of Rooibos tea (that was many years ago, now I drink Kombucha, fermented tea) and settle down to work, when the doorbell rings again. Your partner has ordered cat food for the silly ball of fur.
The cat instinctively knows it is the Amazon guy and follows me to the door for its salmon treats and quickly disappears out of the door. The delivery guy and I run around like crazy behind the cat but it is gone.
The traffic at this flat builds up and soon the maid arrives. “Did you have breakfast,” she asks like a nagging spouse. “Make you egg bhujia”?
I check where the nearest Starbucks is even though I hate coffee, but as you know, WiFi is free. The cat is back and sleeping as I quietly slip out of the flat, which is reverberating to the sound of our powerful vacuum cleaner.
Coronavirus or not, working from home is not such a great idea. It will be better if everyone worked from the workplace and sneezed into the office creep’s face. He or she will have a runny nose for two weeks and hopefully will have to be isolated in some hospital.
— Mahmood Saberi is a storyteller and blogger based in Bengaluru, India. Twitter: @mahmood_saberi