Work from home or Work at home

Written by: Unknown || Graphics by: Khushi Arora

“I’m stressed”. You too? Get in line. Stress and worries have become the constant companion of everyone in the last year. While a common response to this pandemic must be to stay calm and composed, the reality has been a stark contrast from it. 

This global corona virus has made us suspend everything momentarily, only to triple the amount of work later. Everyone from kindergarteners to adults are burnt out from piled up assignments and work on their tables. 
Red eyes, grouchy mood, dragging feet is the common demeanor of people after journeying through 2020. 

A smart alternative has been the “work from home”. But it came with the side effect where it interfered with our ‘work at home’. 

Know the difference

The concept of ‘work from home’ was adapted widely to get work done during the pandemic. The term “work from home” literally translates to completing your office work from home by staying in touch with the office. 

Meanwhile, ‘work at home’ is an umbrella term that indicates all the chores that one has to complete at home. Washing the dishes, repairing a leaky tap, fixing the broken parts of the house, cooking, etc are few examples of work that one does at home.

While the option of work from home is beneficial in one too many ways, it locks horns with the work that one should do at home. Your boss is calling to do a follow up of the meeting. At the same time, your kid is crying as the dinner time nears. This is an imaginary situation of your two worlds colliding. This has been the state of many as they struggle to juggle them all.

Silver linings in the cloud

      Remember the old days, when you had to be up and around at the crack of dawn. Hurrying through your chores and catching the train to work. As much nostalgia as this may trigger, we all can agree that it is a tiresome process. Even Though the pandemic beat us up, it cut us some slack by giving us the option of work from home. 

The choice of work from home saved the economy from going to a complete stand still. When many worked from home, it led to less number of people commuting. This in turn, made a huge role in reducing the transmission of the virus. The employees relished the freedom of not having to dress up and slave away at office. 

The students were saved from repeating a year, as the teachers can teach from the safety of their homes. With many possessing internet connectivity and mobiles, technology became the savior that pulled the world from the brink of unemployment and drop in literacy rate. 

Many conferences were held by the method of ‘work from home’. This significantly reduced the amount of wastage that results when organizing these events. All the resources that one needed to attend a global conference is just a good internet connectivity. 
This opened the window for people from remote areas to take part in global conferences that would not have been a possibility for them in the pre-COVID-19 days. 

Troubles of Work from home

The prominent trouble in work from home is that it erases the line between personal and professional life. Merging of these two territories meant little to no time to enjoy life as it should be enjoyed. 
Students were also missing their memories that they could have made in their significant times of life by being locked up in one place. Practical knowledge and experiences that they could have gained in practical labs and internships were bid goodbye.
Phones and fast Internet are a mark of status these days. Hence, youths are afraid that poor network or lack of any gadgets will make them inferior to their friends. They become self-conscious of the way they present themselves and their surroundings. The walls that were broken in classes were rebuilt by online classes.

Learn from the pro

The pros of work from home are the Freelancers. Freelancers are the people who have been working from home since the dawn of the internet. They work from the comfort of their homes in their suitable times. They are expert jugglers of personal and professional lives. 

If you are looking for someone to show you the ropes for handling your day, follow in their footsteps. Many of them have a fixed bedtime and work hours. You can look for some YouTube videos or posts about a day in the life of a freelancer to get an idea. 

Strike a Balance

When the outer world is in chaos, we can only look into ourselves for some peace. In order to prevent ourselves from driving to the insanity station in this journey of battling against the covid-19, we can follow some guidelines to keep ourselves in check. 

So here are few pointers to balance the scales of your personal and professional life.

  1. Prepare a schedule and stick to it. This does not necessarily mean that you have to become a robot that is programmed to work in specific hours. Get an idea of your work hours, and design a schedule with a bit of flexibility. 
  2. Just like making a schedule for your office works, make one for your house chores. This list shouldn’t pertain just to everyday chores (like dishes, clothes).  Add some new things-to-do-at-home that require your physical labor. It includes works like cleaning your car, mowing the lawn, trimming the bushes. This will help you in escaping the monotonous routine and is also a form of exercise.
  3. Major struggle in the work from home scenario is the extension of work beyond your regular working hours. The supervisors may burden you by piling up work one after the other. This in turn leads you to slaving away after your normal working hours.
     Learn to resist the unfair works that are being dumped on you. There is no wrong in standing up for yourselves. But maintain your tone and be polite while stating your reason.
  4. Being rooted in a spot and staring at a screen for hours has become a sad feature of the work from home policy. You can follow specific gadget times to get your usage under control. Avoid using any kind of gadgets outside of this time.

Whatever we may complain about, the alternative of working from home in 2020 is much better than being locked up in the 90s with nothing to connect us. It is in our hands to find the key that opens the door to a balanced life. 
Humans are born to adapt to the ever-changing life. Hence, we can get through this pandemic together too, with just a little bit of adaptation and tons of optimism.


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