WFO (Work From Office)
I am startled to see a message from my manager in my Inbox. He wants me to come to the office from 1st March. I am terrified at the thought. Yes. I need to attend office in flesh and blood, and no more virtual ‘tamasha’. My mind and body are not ready for the new development. The transition from WFH to WFO is harrowing. I have settled down to the WFH model in the last two years. As you are aware, it isn’t easy to switch from one state to the other, and it would require tremendous energy for the transition. I had an excellent routine and family time in the last two years. My wife and children loved my presence at home, 24/7. I was filling in for my family for several activities, including a doorman and serving as a permanent security guard at the house. I need to make several changes in my lifestyle in the next few days.
I quickly made a list of tasks that needed immediate attention — car, dress, shoes, backpack, breakfast, tiffin box and water bottle. I have never used my car for the last two years. The vehicle requires complete service, new tyres and wheel alignment, and the activity involves time and money. I never wore formal dress and managed shorts in the last two years. The pants I repurchased two years do not fit me as I have put on a lot of weight. I worked my zoom appearances with a couple of collared shirts, as the medium requires a presentation of my upper body and does not care what I do with my lower body.
I am sure my shoes require a good polish as I have been managing my chappals in the last two years. I need to find them first, and I am sure they require a good shine. My wife has been using my backpack to store small things. I must find a place to dump the contents and make the bag ready to use. I am sure she would be upset.
My next challenge is to go and get a proper haircut. My wife had taken the role of a barber all these days. Though I was a guinea pig for learning the new skill, she has become pro-ready to start a barbershop in the neighbourhood. However, my hair and the beard require some tending.
Breakfast management comes next on the list. I am happy to say that I have mastered cooking in the last two years. I learnt to cook breakfast and lunch between the rings to make my family happy. As I had to participate in calls in different time zones, I would wake up early. Even my servant maid was glad to come and go anytime as I was always in the house. My wife was delighted to have extra two hours of sleep in the last two years.
I was in perfect harmony with all the sounds around- the hissing of the pressure cooker in the kitchen, my wife’s rants when she gets up, the comedy shows of Netflix and Prime, frequent chimes of the calling bill. I had the luxury of occasional short naps between logging in and logging out and coffee breaks.
I am not sure of my workplace arrangements in my office now- chair, table and coffee service. The attendance recording systems would make my life miserable. I need to face the wrath of my manager, who would frequently come around and check whether I am at my workplace. As I have not met colleagues for the last two years, I may not recognise many of them. I foresee difficulties in face-to-face meetings, as there is no zoom ‘baba’ to rescue me whenever I dozed. It was much easier to have the occasional romantic interludes with my female colleagues, which never came under my wife’s radar thanks to zoom.
I have heard of an organisation experimenting with a simulation of the home conditions at the office. They are doing away with a formal dress code and allowing the employees to work in home clothes. Easy chairs and sofas have replaced chairs and desks. Hissing sounds of a pressure cooker, a TV streaming some soap, and randomly thrown toys and gadgets on the floor appear in the workplace.
It is the time to switch to make my work ambience ‘homely’.