The whistle blew in the middle of Ria’s presentation. Even before she could mute the call and shut the video, her client already had a frown across her forehead. She shouted at her roommate to get the pressure cooker off the stove and resumed her presentation with an extra big smile. This was soon followed by another whistle with frequent WiFi issues. The one-hour meeting went on to become a three-hour presentation with interruptions from almost everyone in the team.
Ria was clearly not happy with the presentation. She figured being in the same meeting room while presenting would have made matters easier. She could crack a few not-so-terrible jokes and maybe smuggle a few smiles here and there with a lot of passionate gestures to get her point across to the client and everyone else.
If only, if only, she could be in a meeting room, she thought!
When the WFH dream failed
Well, most of us have been in similar situations. If your WiFi works then the client’s laptop doesn’t and so on and on. Work from home hasn’t really been all pajama-clad and relaxed coffee sips like they told us. It has been a roller coaster ride with conference calls while doing the dishes or stinking until Wednesday because you just had to finish a project deadline.
Four months down the line and I think I would really enjoy daily showers and dressing up in those power clothes. The pajamas have lost their cutesy touch by now and I hate the way I make coffee. I crave all the things that I took for granted; such a classic case of taking things for granted.
And the crazy thing is it’s not just me. A survey commissioned by Microsoft found that balancing work and life while working from home has been a real challenge. The shocking revelation of the study was that it’s not the older generations who are struggling while working remotely, but Gen Z and millennials.
Another study by Microsoft found that people are even working during the weekends and there are no 9-to-5 jobs anymore, it’s working round-the-clock.
WFH is not all roses and no thorns
As ideal as it sounded initially, the reality of WFH is sinking in now and people are struggling to make it work. The home offices or corners that we have created for ourselves since the pandemic aren’t helping out as we had hoped for. Every day presents itself with a series of challenges, some old, some new. The challenges of WFH are as difficult as choosing between a donut and a danish but of course, they cannot be ignored and need to be addressed.
- Collaboration doesn’t work with bad WiFi
A major hurdle that most team members face while working from home is collaboration. The ease of collaborating when the entire team is together physically in one place becomes way easier than having to do it online. Yes, there are multiple tools available out there. But nothing can beat the energetic, bustling huddles every morning over shared laughs and elbow bumps to ease tension and let the creative juices flow.
While the physical absence can leave a mark on the team members and hinder true collaboration, many other factors come into action here. Fluctuating WiFi can be the biggest culprit here. Just one bad connectivity can ruin the entire presentation, and embarrass the entire team.
- Interruptions can drive you crazy
While WFH, it’s very difficult to be in the work mode constantly. The interruptions never stop coming and even a simple email can take an hour. There are obviously different forms of interruptions. In fact, even a showcase of love from your pet could annoy you while you try to figure out that missing image from the repository. The thing is, even the simplest and best of things can interrupt you which will only lead to irritation and frustration on your part.
Things are much easier in office when the only interruptions you have are way more controlled; either in the form of cake-cutting ceremonies or a friendly bickering match with your colleagues. This helps you enjoy the interruptions and actually focus on your work and finish them faster.
- Work-life balance tossed out of the window
If there’s anything that people are complaining about the most about then it’s gotta be the lack of work-life balance. Due to the high number of interruptions, whether from your child or your roommate, you end up working beyond office hours. This leaves you with little or no time for yourself. In fact, most people have been working throughout the weekends now to make up for the lost time. This leaves you completely drained and burnt out with no energy to relax over a movie even. The only thing your body keeps screaming for is to hit the bed.
- Shower is the only place left to find inspiration
While working from an office, inspiration always found its way. Maybe you could grab a coffee with a friend during lunch break or crack a few jokes and discuss the problem at hand with other teams — inspiration never failed you. But that becomes a tad difficult while working remotely.
The only place you can find inspiration is while taking a shower or doing the dishes, lest nothing’s burning in the pan. Creativity has taken a toll because we are constantly overworking ourselves with no separation of personal and professional spheres. We are left stuck in loops of the same activities over and over again while being burnt out, which leaves no scope or imagination or inspiration.
So yes, working from home definitely has its share of pain points that even dedicated home offices cannot fix them. This was the one dream that all of us shared but has shattered irrevocably. The only way we can truly focus on work and keep a healthy, balanced life is by working out of physical workspaces with a happy and inspired community to fall back on and enjoy me-time without fail.