What has work from home taught me, that working at office did not

When joining an organisation, we all looked for the ‘work from home’ clause in the contract/policy document. As this culture was still making this place in the environment and in the minds of decision-makers, people considered it as an indicator of a fancy or a modern workplace.

But now that it has got real for any organisation or institution from a start up to the Google, the fanciness is fading and reality is sinking in.

There are elements that we have been missing like the coffee tours, washroom banter with random co-workers, the post-lunch walks, the lollygagging, the innocuous workplace flirting, you get the drift. And then there are elements that we are grateful for – being able to prioritise health, being able to be with our loved ones, being able to take a break from inevitable chaos.

There is so much we have learnt and so much we had to unlearn in just a few months.
I have come to terms with things that I would definitely not have agreed or given a thought to before. For example, working from home is not really a luxury all the time, for everyone; that being stuck at one place makes you feel more claustrophobic than being stuck in traffic at times, that confrontation in person is way more easier and effective in person than on phone or email, that dressing up for work is one of the most blessed experiences and that innovation, creativity, engagement and growth demand being around more people and more ideas.

However, if you ask me to tell you one thing that working from home has taught me specifically, I wouldn’t count any of the points mentioned above. If there is one thing that this whole new arrangement has made me internalise within myself, in the duration of 3 and a half months, it’s that –

“No-one ever knows what she is truly capable of until doing it is the last option.”

I have claustrophobia. I have cried in a lift within 10 seconds of it being stuck because of technical failure. When I was trapped in a rented space of 2 rooms that I was not supposed to leave until the lockdown was over, I felt suffocated. I wanted to go to my native place but had no option to reach there whatsoever. I am terrified by the feeling of getting stuck. But with this option being the last option, I was absolutely OK with it. I sailed through.

We forget that we all are built to survive. That’s only a small example to support the case in point – that everything is possible; that everything is normal; that we all are stronger than we ever give ourselves credit for.

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