Paying guests find ‘work from home’ a struggle

Lack of computers, poor Internet, overcrowded rooms, and frequent power cuts affect their productivity level

March 19, 2020 11:44 pm | Updated 11:44 pm IST - Bengaluru

Some PG occupants are reportedly facing pressure from owners to vacate over fears that COVID-19 virus will spread.

Some PG occupants are reportedly facing pressure from owners to vacate over fears that COVID-19 virus will spread.

Young working professionals living in paying guest accommodations are finding it difficult to sustain the usual level of productivity after an increasing number of companies have asked them to work from home. Most employees have instructed them not to leave the city.

Their problems range from lack of computers and high speed Internet to the fact that not all of them enjoy the luxury of having an entire room to themselves, which defeats the purpose of self-isolation. Others are reportedly facing pressure from paying guest accommodation owners to vacate over fears that the COVID-19 virus would spread.

A video of a paying guest being taken in an ambulance started doing rounds on social media on Thursday, sparking fears that the person was being tested for COVID19. This created panic. “As most of them are working professionals and have travelled or been in contact with people from other countries, we are worried,” a PG owner in Nagavarapalya said.

PG owners and residents admit that overcrowding is becoming a problem. Many residents pointed out that self-isolation is not possible in a PG, as rooms are shared by three to four people, if not more.

On Thursday, BBMP Commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar tweeted that PGs should ensure that living space for two people, excluding the kitchen, toilet/bathroom, must be 110 sq ft. However, most PGs do not follow this rule.

There have been reports of PG owners insisting that residents vacate their premises claiming that it had been ordered by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). In response, the civic body issued a stern warning asking owners not to do so. “Our advisory is for maintaining sanitation, cleanliness and prevention of overcrowding in a limited space. We have not asked IT professionals or any working persons to vacate hostels or PGs,” said Ravi Kumar Surpur, Special Commissioner (Projects and Health).

Productivity drops

Both residents and owners of PGs admit that access to high-speed Internet is a problem. “As so many of us are now working out of the same accommodation and using the Internet, the speed has dropped. It is affecting my work,” said Nagesh N., an engineer who lives in a PG near Tin Factory. Many have also asked their employees to buy dongles.

Another drawback is power cut. Residents in some neighbourhoods like K.R. Puram and Mahadevapura say they cannot work when power supply is constantly interrupted. A mechanical engineer working in an MNC said that he cannot use his office or personal laptop as they are not compatible with the systems at work. “My company has decided to install an office desktop at people’s homes, but that is not possible in the PG,” the engineer said.

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