Would you rather work from home or an office?

As the lockdown forces us to work from home instead of an office, we debate which is the better option

April 27, 2020 04:50 pm | Updated 04:50 pm IST - Chennai

Two cheerful young business people giving high-five while their colleagues looking at them and smiling

Two cheerful young business people giving high-five while their colleagues looking at them and smiling

It is nearing 3 pm and the MetroPlus office is buzzing like a hive. “Has anyone subbed the story on Page 2?” “The press is asking if we can publish Page 4!”

The timekeepers of the office hurry up the obsessively detail-oriented. One joker spins around in her chair, chatting about her weekend, oblivious to the chaos. It was a stressful day, prompting the boss to order chai for everyone. Someone from another department brings in cake — it is his birthday.

Now tell me, how in the world do I condense the sheer life of this atmosphere into one conference call per day?

Working from home may reduce time on travelling, but is that really making you more efficient? As power cuts, network errors and hanging systems pop up alternatively like in a game of whack-a-mole, you pine for the strong arms of the office WiFi to cradle you.

You become a slave to your phone. It pings incessantly — with texts from people you could earlier simply shout out to — until you can no longer tell the difference between work and personal life. Hey, I don’t bring bedroom talk to the workspace, and so I wish I wasn’t forced to bring work to my bedroom.

Going to the office every day brings with itself a changing tapestry of conversations and observations: at the subway, at the water cooler, at shared rides back home. It turns colleagues you shared awkward first drinks with, to friends with whom you share embarrassingly intimate details. It gives you a reason to look nice for your ‘Jim’ or ‘Pam’.

Good luck convincing me on giving that up for the monotony of my home desk.

— Sweta Akundi is the co-screenwriter for over 50 unreleased movies thought up during office lunches

Girl teenager in a unicorn costume in the nature

Girl teenager in a unicorn costume in the nature

Yes, I have biryani for lunch and I don’t have to share it with the rest of my department. More for me. Correction: All for me. Well, that’s just one of the perks of working from home.

It is a long walk to the rest room at work. Normally, I waste three minutes of my time convincing colleagues to accompany me. That’s time saved while WFH.

I love my job. But let’s face it, the daily rigmarole — deciding what to wear, getting dressed and rushing to work at peak hour, the calm being penetrated by honking vehicles and a handful of people who should not have been issued driving licenses — can mentally wear you out even before you enter office.

That is why, when I first started Work From Home (WFH) last month, it felt like an unnecessary chunk had been removed from my schedule. I now feel like I have more time. Also, ever tried typing while reclining 160 degrees? Add to that the easy availability of snacks through the day, and it feels like flying business class.

The most popular reason why WFH is a hit is because one can wear what they want. Yes: unicorn onesies too, if you please. So, goodbye office wardrobe and hello old faithfuls (read: ragged shorts). And farewell awkward conversations in the elevator, holding my breath when the person next to me sneezes (Oh, did I mention I am a hypochondriac?), or freezing because the rest of the department likes the temperature set at 22 degrees.

Since at home, the environment is just how I want it: comfortable, it means more focus and ultimately being more productive. Plus, there is no stress of beating the evening traffic, so I can shut my laptop when I please and even then have time to squeeze in a workout.

Priyadarshini Paitandy is a sloth in human form and only moves fast when she sees a menu or the word SALE

In this column, we pit two icons against each other

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