Home Alone

The 8:50 a.m alarm rang loud. Late night of experimenting a new technology and struggling with the day’s incomplete jobs had left Neal awake until over midnight. Nevertheless, he knew he had to login to skype for the daily scrum call in 10 minutes. So he left the bed to make a quick trip to the washroom. The familiar skype call sound at sharp 9 a.m and he plugged the earphones to take the call — “ 1. What was achieved yesterday? 2. What was the plan for today? 3. Any impediments? “ A daily scrum call was always helpful. It provided predictable rhythm to the project and helped identify problems early.

Done with the scrum call, Neal knew what all tasks he had to work on that day. But before that, he went to the kitchen to arrange breakfast for himself. By the time he finished his breakfast, it was already 10 a.m. He started with his tasks for the day. No doubts, Neal was passionate about technology and in moments he would engross deep into his work. Suddenly, the door bell rang. Neal lifted his eyes from the MacBook and went to open the door. It was the courier guy. Now that he has got up from his desk, he decides to go for a shower. After the shower, a trip to the kitchen for a cup of coffee. Neal finally sits back on his desk. He was amazed by the new web technologies and was using those to his best advantage for this product. He quickly gets into the routine of coding, making a few calls to his team mates, answering a couple of emails.

1:30 pm — Half the day is gone. Since Neal works from home, he prepares his own lunch. The entire lunch making and eating affair takes almost an hour. Neal is about to sit back for work when he realises that he hasn’t vacuumed his room in the last few days, his bed is cluttered too. He can’t help avoiding the mess. So, he takes some time off to clean his room. He feels tired and hungry. Opens the fridge, is tempted to pick the bottle of beer. “I am at work” he thinks to himself. “But beer is light” he thinks to himself. “And who would know” comes the final voice while he grabs the beer bottle with a smile and sips it. Back to work. Neal is about to look at those long lines of code when a friend, who works in an MNC, calls up to tell Neal about the awesome event they had in office. Neal listens with interest… is impressed. As he hangs up, suddenly, a feeling of isolation and loneliness creeps in. He knows he is missing a high value on social interactions at work. He feels the need to go out and meet people. The thought is broken by a skype call from his team member. They have a long discussion about a scope creep requirement.

5:00 p.m — The day is almost gone and the tasks are still left. He will have to stretch his evening to finish the task for the day.

The day ends with a bit of un-satisfaction, a bit of sadness and a bit of less fire.

In the new age work culture, many youngsters like Neal work from home. They are brilliant at their work but struggle to remain focused without direct supervision. They miss the routine of getting ready, looking their best and going to the office. They long for a corporate identity. They get hit hard by the absence of office events and togetherness. Getting up from the desk to prepare their food and coffee on their own and eating alone makes them sick.

A healthy organization culture allows employees to share values and ideas. When co-workers mingle at lunch or sip coffee together, some real learning gets done. A lot of information exchange takes place that creates a sense of competitive urgency. A lot of tactic knowledge that flows in the office is tapped during serendipitous interactions. The whole environment helps creating some inconspicuous benefits.

Working from home and by being all alone can fail to keep workers energetic and passionate. Is work from home killing that young, social confident chap?

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