COVID-19 (or Wuhan Coronavirus, 2019-nCOV, 2019 Novel Coronavirus). The virus that is slowly consuming the world, quite literally.
But I’m not in any position to talk or comment about COVID-19.
In fact, I’m trying to read up as much as I can about the virus to be informed on a very basic level so I know how to protect myself and my loved ones from it.
But on a more personal level, it has affected how I’m working right now. This might sound silly, but I feel weird about having to work from home for the foreseeable future.
Sure, I’ve worked from home one or two days because I fell sick previously but never before for weeks or even months, looking at how the situation is panning out.
First things first
I have to give some context to the situation. I’ve never worked remotely before despite reading how it has changed the lives of many remote workers.
Hell, I’ve worked with remote-working colleagues ever since I’ve joined the current agency I’m working for.
And for most Singaporeans like myself, working remotely is something quite foreign and I would expect the already declining productivity to dip further because of this. Or maybe I would be wrong, what do I know?
Anyway, this piece might sound ludicrous or even laughable to some, but let me explain.
I love working in an office
Call me old school or whatever you want, but I love the experience of working in an office.
A workspace where I share with team members during our working hours, a space where we work together and leave for home when we’re done for the day.
The pantry is a sacred space for when we lunch together, enjoying each other’s presence and company to escape temporarily from the hectic agency life.
It is where new colleagues get acquainted and grow closer with one another, building rapport and trust for the daunting challenges ahead as we fight our battles every day.
Also, nothing – and I mean absolutely nothing – can replace actual human interaction in the flesh.
I may be an introvert but I enjoy spending time with people I’m comfortable with and regardless of how introverted a person is, he or she will still like some human interaction.
Working from home puts us in a spot where human interaction is reduced to text on the screen or a voice with video at best.
Commuting to work and back home
Of course, one of the biggest perks of working from home is the removal of commuting time, which can be a huge time suck for most.
I have to admit, it’s pretty damn awesome to save those couple of hours dressing up and commuting to work for more sleep or extra exercise at home.
But for some, commuting can be quite therapeutic, and I happen to be one of them who can relish commutes very much.
I listen to my favourite podcasts or catch up on reading my saved articles, or just zone out while enjoying a soothing playlist.
I’m not complaining about not having to commute, but more like it’s going to feel a little weird having that part removed from my workday. If you’re like me, you’ll get what I mean.
All that said, the freedom that comes with working from home is something invaluable.
As long as I deliver the work when it’s due, there’s no real control over what I do at home – no one will know for sure how many hours I’m working, unlike when it’s in the office.
Even if I were to go out for a yoga class or fitness-related activity (of course, not so much during this climate) before or after work, I just need to make sure I have my laptop ready when the need arises.
But often, with more freedom comes more responsibility and the need for good discipline.
It’s like how most people who have fitness trainers tend to get ahead of their health and fitness as compared to just depending on their own onus and discipline to get fit.
Looking forward to going back
I’m still all for working in the office.
Sure, working from home can be an option for some, since the flexibility that comes with it is valuable for many.
But I’m someone who values working in an office over working from home – I like to separate work from home (pun intended) because it’s hard to mentally compartmentalise when the line is blurred.
For now, hope everyone stays safe and healthy while this outbreak pans out.