Choose to Work from Wherever
This was a great outcome – the collective office-going population came to the realization that so many jobs don’t actually need you to go through an excruciating daily commute, just to plant yourself in a space designated as “office”. And now that we have jointly redefined “flexible working”, we need to hold on to that definition. Already, some managements are murmuring about physical interaction being essential for collaboration and innovation.
But if anything, the pandemic has proved that a collaborative and creative work culture can be achieved in more ways than one. Being in the same physical space is not mandatory for this. Meeting face to face is great from time to time, but it should not become the rule. We should be careful not to reverse our work-life evolution and go back to the days of punching in and out of office. If there is an option which is clearly more efficient, productive, and which cuts the load of carbon-generating daily travel, then we must do our best to keep that option alive. We owe it to ourselves not to let this go, and to retain it as one of the integral parts of the future of work.
Personal note: I am not going back to office in the conventional way, and I will work for organizations that are aligned to this way of thinking.
Prioritize your Health
If you have good health, you have everything. A healthy lifestyle is underpinned by some very basic principles: eat home-cooked food (mostly), get some exercise, wash your hands (often), cover your face where there is a chance of infection, and so on. Nothing complicated, but just do it.
Personal note: I didn’t face Covid-19 but took a jolt with another infection. I used to pride myself on being ‘healthy’ (weight under control) but was forced to accept that being ‘thin’ is not ‘healthy’. Goal set by doctor is to actually gain weight. It really is best to keep things simple on the food intake front: eat wholesome, eat well, don’t force any extreme cut-outs from your diet like zero sugar, zero fat etc. ‘Balance’ is the way to go.
Pursue a Hobby
So many multitudes of people forced into the boundaries of their homes for multiples of months realized that to keep their sanity they needed to have a passion, a hobby, an interest. People learnt musical instruments, took up terrace farming, dabbled in NFTs, started cloud kitchens, played balcony tennis and wrote books. Let’s not give up our hobbies and passions. Let’s continue to find our creative expressions through them, and also our solace and serenity.
Personal note: I took up a project of making 5 dance videos for family and friends, one to celebrate each decade of my 50 years. Can happily say that video-making is a new skill that I have added during thelockdown. I am about to complete this journey – check out my 4th video here
(5th and final one will be done by year end – will add the link here)
Stay in Touch – Use Technology
First the office meetings shifted to Zoom calls and video calls – then we realized the platforms were equally useful to reach out our personal connects. College reunions, family meetings, weddings, birthday parties and even funerals and memorial meetings – all went online. The technology tools were always available – but we were not using them to potential. Now we are – the pandemic made ‘touch’ go out fashion – but staying in touch took on a whole new meaning. Now that we have moved up the curve on this aspect, let us not slide. Let us keep our connections and friendships alive – it is so easy.
Personal note: Best moments during the lockdown: connecting with my girl gang from college over Zoom calls. This is my stressbuster, morale-enhancer, feel-good group – and meeting them every few months was a bonanza. Zoom was always there – but our 1st batch-wide reunion after leaving college was the 25th year physical reunion at our alma mater – pre-pandemic days. And now we are having online virtual meets every few months – a drastic change, and a real good one.
During the lockdown we were compelled to do chores that we had not touched for months and years. No one was showing up to do the dirty dishes – you had to conquer them each day yourself. And, surprise, surprise: we survived. Doing daily tasks around the house was somehow grounding and cathartic at the same time for many of us. House help is back at most places and that’s a relief – but we probably respect and value the work a lot more. Let’s preserve that outlook, and also the habit of figuring things out for ourselves, if necessary.
Personal note: Fast mopping and fan cleaning are not bad things to know – and if you have a good technique, it helps to get the task done well.
Summing up: the pandemic disrupted the world. But now let’s not fritter away the realizations, and let it not be a wasted crisis. Let us not reset the key things it has disrupted, for the better. It is completely up to us.