Trials & Tribulations of #WFH #CoronaVirusPandemic
| Dr. Jyotsna Pandit, Thought Leader, Writer, Noida, UP - 17 May 2021

Is Online Learning or Work From Home (WFH) Culture a Panacea in times of Corona Crisis?

This crisis has opened a new phase for online learning and working and will allow people to look at the fruitful side of e-learning technologies. This is the time when there is a lot of scope in bringing out surprising innovations and digital developments. 

By Dr. Jyotsna PANDIT

Oscar Wilde once said- “We all are in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”. This quote perfectly suits in current scenario.

The sudden outbreak of a deadly disease, Covid-19 has shook the entire world. WHO has declared it as a pandemic. This deadly and infectious disease has deeply affected the global economy.

The novel Coronavirus changed everything overnight, the lockdown was imposed, and social distancing became the new norm. In this hard and tough time people are staying connected with their friends and family through video calls, schools and colleges have started giving online classes through video conferencing apps. With the lockdown in place, it was estimated by a research that more than 3 billion people have been pushed to work from home excluding the essential workers.

For some young people, the pandemic took away what they envisaged for their upcoming year. People are thinking that being negative is the new positive these days.

Adaptation is the need of the hour and those showing resilience will not have trouble down the line.

This grave situation challenged the education system also across the world and overnight forced all educators to shift to an online mode of teaching. Educational institutions in India were majorly based only on traditional methods of learning. Although many academic organisations have started blended learning, still a lot of them are stuck with old methods &procedures. Many academic institutions that were earlier reluctant to change their traditional pedagogical approach had no option left now but to shift entirely toonline teaching–learning method.

People have always been complacent to the traditional methods, be it in any sector or industry and never tried some new modes of doing work. This crisis has opened a new phase for online learning and working and will allow people to look at the fruitful side of e-learning technologies. This is the time when there is a lot of scope in bringing out surprising innovations and digital developments. 

There is no proper cure for the virus, all we can do is avoid it by practicing social distancing and keeping our immunity strong. Corporations and authorities around the world have no other alternative than providing flexible working conditions including work from home.

Online Work / WFH is one of the biggest changes the world has ever witnessed, and it raises some important questions such as:

  • Is work from home (WFH) the new normal?
  • Is WFH better than working offline?
  • Is it just a temporary measure or is it here to stay longer?
  • Why are companies / organizations not keen on opening right now?

Working from home is a lot more congenial for lots of people. Employees can save a great deal of time and money since they do not have to travel so often, which means people will have more time for work and for themselves, too. Less travelling will also help reduce traffic jam, less usage of fuels and less pollution to our environment. Organizations if adopting WFH culture can have their cost cutting on infrastructure, transportation etc. so they seem in no hurry to open up in current scenario.

WFH has got its own pros and cons. People are confused between #WorkFromHome and #WorkForHome.

In India, it is estimated according to a research that over 60 per cent people face the problem of children or family demanding more attention from them while they work and many of them eventually either end up working late or not being able to give their 100 per cent attention to their work. Hence it becomes difficult to concentrate on work and constantly get distracted one way of the other. Nearly 33% of the people who work from home have distress while working from home as they have a hard time replicating their work environment at home. The order you do things at workplace is almost never the order you do things at home. It can be tough to mirror your schedule and processes once outside the office.

Well we all know that “The grass is always greener on the other side”.

When you’re at office, nothing sounds more astounding than a toasty day indoors with your favorite T-Shirt & Pyjamas on. When you’re at home, you reminisce about making jokes with your colleagues, having snacks & lunch together and wonder if the coffee machine made good coffee that day. Either way, it’s more important to choose the environment you’ll be most successful and prosperous in. If you’re self-motivated, adhere to your routine well, and enjoy minimal distractions, then working from home is the right choice for you. On the other hand if you thrive on social interactions, feel inspired by seeing others working, and stay on track best if others see you, then working from the office is the way to go. But in current testing times all, despite of their taste, are compulsorily forced to adopt WFH except the frontline workers.

However, the option is not feasible for multiple economic sectors and multiple organisations have pointed out that work from home is a luxury available only to certain sectors. There are various sectors and segments like manufacturing units where this WFH privilege will not be feasible.

People have become so mundane of this online and WFH culture that it is assumed in near future when the interviewer will ask “Where do you see yourself in next 5 years?” the interviewee will likely respond “Going to office, sitting in my cabin and Working Away From Home”.

As the entire world is practicing “Social Distancing” during this time, it is easy to get fidgety. However time spent in isolation can lead to great insights, Issac Newton proved that. In London there was an epidemic called The Great Plague which started in 1665. It was then the Trinity College of Cambridge University was closed which forced Newton to go back to his childhood home. The life span when Newton was away from Trinity College and was in his family’s estate is popularly known as “Year of Wonders” or Newton’s annus mirabilis. This is because he discovered many amazing things during this tenure which laid the foundation for modern Physics.

Newton proved that isolation breeds creativity. It was during this time when he discovered the Law of Universal Gravitation, when an apple fell on his head and made him think. Not only this, he also developed Calculus during this period. Taking the full utilisation of observing social distancing during that time Newton further discovered that white light is made up every colour of light.

Today we all might be struck in our homes following social distancing and lockdown, but we must not forget our habit to follow our routine and work accordingly. Many students are becoming nonchalant since their online classes are going on. There is lack of interest and seriousness in attending online classes. We should encourage them to sustain their interest in their academics. Similarly for all those professionals who are sitting at home and not doing anything.

For there was a story in which all the clouds went for a strike of 10 years and announced this in a village. All villagers were so sad to learn that and put down their tools & decided not to plough in their fields as it was useless to work until it rains. To the great surprise of all villagers, there went a poor farmer in his fields and started ploughing. All others ridiculed him. But he paid no heed to them and simply answered that he doesn’t want to give up his habit of working,otherwise when it will rain after 10 years it’ll be very difficult to work then. Clouds were listening to this poor fellow. And they got frightened realising that maybe after 10 years they themselves will forget the art of raining. So immediately they started to rain. Poor farmer’s field became all green full of crops, while the other field remained barren.

Moral of the story -“We should not stop doing our work even in odd circumstances else we will not be able to cope up of doing things when situations get normal”.

Dr. Seussrightly said, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.”

Summing up this all by a famous quote by Stephen Hawkings, “However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at”.

(The views expressed in this article are of author.)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Jyotsna Pandit, a Doctorate in Chemistry is highly versatile, diligent academician and researcherand currently working as HOD-Applied Science atMangalmay Institute of Engineering & Technology, Greater Noida, U.P., India.


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