The New Normal of Office Life
2020 has been a year filled with new experiences. This involves both learning to adjust to living within four walls and juggling a job in the middle of a pandemic. There has been no dearth of challenges for people to battle with. On a personal level, I had to take on joining a new office, which was operating on a remote basis entirely from home. Here the major challenge lay in working collaboratively with a team of people without actually meeting them. But given the structure of the company and the people here, it wasn’t long before I managed to fit right in.
I embraced my new identity as a SELISIAN right in the middle of the lockdown in Bangladesh. At this time, people were still wary of the virus, and there seemed to be no cure in sight. In those dark days of early March 2020, we were worried for our safety. Most of us were worried we wouldn’t be able to hug a fellow human being for the next couple of years. Others still believed that life pre-pandemic had been erased for good. While we grappled with mixed emotions on a personal level, every person in the corporate sector had to deal with a new way of working. Fast forward to almost seven months, and now we are all waiting tirelessly for the promised vaccine. This might mean a chance to return to work from a brick-and-mortar office. But it could also be a choice for companies to cut back on their overhead costs. And consider embracing a remote office entirely.
In the span of those 7 months that I spent here, a new job in the IT-sphere was equally exciting and daunting. As a fresher with a degree in marketing, IT consulting went on to become a completely new ball-game. It requires more experiential learning and more on-the-job training than other industries. Being a part of the Business Development and Consulting Unit further meant that I would go on to work with people across the company. Collaborating and coordinating with multiple stakeholders spread in four different parts of the world is a challenge itself. But the structure actually boosted the new remote working setup, given how SELISIANS work in different time zones. While initially intimidating, it taught us to take more ownership of our work and the way we allocated the work on our schedules. But there was still the struggle of collaborating soundly with fellow team members whom I hadn’t met before: team members not based in Switzerland, but rather right here in Bangladesh.
Major Struggle in Work From Home
The major struggle remains to be more than just a voice behind a name and an email address. However, the arrangement also allows flexibility in office hours and the comfort of being able to work from the confines of one’s bedroom. There was no physical office space that I had to commute to. Rather, my bedroom merged into a multi-faceted entity with an office cubicle, meeting room, and break-room – all condensed into one. Resisting the urge to lie down on the bed every few minutes and the opportunity to do so in the first place, required a bit of personal discipline.
Regardless of the comfort or the challenge of WFH, the much-anticipated vaccine will surely make it safer to consider the option of going back to work in the old ways. Or, rather explore the option of adapting to a new way of post-pandemic white-collar work