We, millennials, have so many problems in life that we tackle on a day to day basis. Finding a house that’s close to workplace, clearing off the air having pollution everywhere around, managing to eat healthy, saving our money, and battling the traffic. All of these problems, in some way, gave way to the phenomenon of work from home.
This work from home phenomenon came like a breath of fresh air to most of us who were wasting our time and energy on commuting. We got time to concentrate on ourselves, we could go to the gym, cook our own food, meet our friends and family more often, and even, do little things like grocery shopping ourselves.
Ask anyone around, everyone will tell you that remote working is the future. Remote working brings comfort, convenience, flexibility, ease of doing work, and plus to that, money. The cost structures for the businesses also get redefined, and allocation of resources surfaces accordingly.
Wear another lens, this is the world where inconvenience is the new convenience.
There are hiring trends across the global companies where they are scaling up their remote workforce. There must be some good reason in doing so, while we are witnessing heavy layoffs in organisations these days. The skilled and experienced workforce is getting unemployed while leaders are revisiting their business models yet again. Remote working again brings hope for them.
Sitting at home, on our desks where our laptop is eyeing at us, working for hours, per convenience every day without feeling a need to leave to office for an hour even, is some luxury. At that point, there’s no need for an office even, well. What’s absolute luxury? When the home becomes your own office, and you work as per your mood, per your choice, per your routine, it’s absolute luxury. And that absolute luxury can be a relative luxury too.
It’s not for everyone, it’s for you. Similarly, it’s not for you, it’s for everyone else. Relative luxury, true, that is.
While these are the most obvious outcomes of working from home or working remotely, there are some other repercussions that we don’t talk about, or rather, in my opinion, have not even been acknowledged by most of us yet.
No matter how convenient the above-mentioned things may seem from the outside. A work from home job makes us lonely. We may get up and work from the comfort of our home, we may take important client calls in our pyjamas, and we may not have to brush our teeth before attending a Skype call. But all these things could contribute to the downfall of our mental health as well. It leads us to a life of no human interaction.
You become more of a part of the virtual world than of real one.
When you’re heading to workplace, you are meeting different people. You are interacting and engaging with people. You are witnessing different traits of people. You get to learn different things every day. We are getting to know them, and in turn, we are sharing a part of ourselves with them. We get to share our experiences and our emotions.
Reverse the situation, and switch the side, remote working gets introduced to you.
You don’t get that corporate ambience around. You don’t find groups whom you meet with every day. You don’t have a circle of sharing experiences and of learnings. You don’t remain a part of the culture. Your lifestyle takes a shift to a completely different side. You are all alone. That’s a bit, and that is where remote working takes a hold on you. That is a problem. You become more of a part of the virtual world than of real one. And therefrom, loneliness stems.
Life of a writer who is always on the go seems perfect from the outside. We see them work while they’re on the beach, a coffee shop, or even, the metro. But have you ever thought about what goes in the mind of such a freelancer? They aren’t at ease at all times. They aren’t at peace at all times.
They are reminded of their deadlines 24×7, regardless of where they are or where they go. What worsens their situation is the absence of a team to fall back on. In a formal office set up, one has colleagues and teammates to fall back on, to help us out with our share of work when we are not able to deliver our best, feeling our best. A mere cupcake that your office bestie gets you on a bad day can help you come out of that zone and focus better. But these small gestures have no place in the life of a professional who’s on the path of “working remotely”.
Remote working is not easy. It has everything that a full-time worker is expected to do on a daily basis. Tasks. Reporting. Working. Thinking. Preparing. Researching. Relaxing. Presenting. Dealing. Multitasking. And working. All of this, all alone. No respite, no break. There’s no 5 minutes break to catch up with a colleague, no 5 minutes break to go have tea or smoke with someone, no 5 minutes breather to discuss what happened on your favorite show last night. No means No.
This argument really brings us to a very important dilemma. We all look for an opportunity of working remotely, thinking it’s the best deal one can get. Regardless of how alluring and fascinating this opportunity seems to us, we end up battling loneliness, boredom, and depression at the end of it. It brings us to a fork in the road where we need to question the very dynamics of our work culture.
Humans are not meant to be sitting at one place all day long. Be it in the office or at home. Humans are not meant to not socialize. We were not born to be trapped in a cubicle, but we were not even born to be trapped in our bedrooms for days at stretch that one doesn’t even feel the need to be out of their pyjamas.
It’s not for everyone, it’s for you. It’s not for you, it’s for everyone else.
With more and more people opting and looking for jobs that give them the flexibility of working remotely, many questions that linger the mind.
Is the future of work lonely? Is it not?! Are we getting lonelier having loads of work in hand, sitting at home? Aren’t we?! Nobody craves loneliness, and everyone, almost, would surely want to be a part of the future of work. What is the future of such a world that’s full of productive and creative people sharing their talents and ideas virtually, but not engaging in the real world, real time?
Is this what the human race is headed for? Is this what you see yourself doing for the rest of your lives till you retire? Is this a relative luxury? And is it for you?
(With inputs from Ayush Garg)
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An omnist, anxious girl in pursuit of nirvana. Lover of the mountains. Seeking peace and tranquility. Also, a writer.