Work From Home Culture by Vibhor Bijoy

Work from home is the new norm in today's world of horror and despair. Before the onset of this devastating pandemic, people preferred to work from home only when they were ill or due to adverse weather conditions. But this monster corona has shut all doors of a peaceful working environment. In the beginning, it looked rosy as people were getting easy access to the network as we thought this pandemic issue will be resolved in a few days. But the pandemic escalated in no time that people have forgotten how was a normal life.   

Schools that are supposed to be building blocks in the future of a child are forced to take online classes and exams. Children are suffering from multiple disorders as a result of continuously glueing to computer screens for 8 hours. Continuous glueing at the computer screens is making children lethargic and they are moving away from physical activity and constructive activities which is the best way to know a child's curiosity. According to a report in National Herald, children and teens struggling with obesity are placed in an unfortunate position of isolation that appears to create an unfavourable environment for maintaining healthy lifestyle behaviours. And according to a report in The Times of India, the third wave can affect those children badly who are obese which is an alarming sign. Doing assignments has also become a tedious job, as the net connectivity is not strong in rural areas. Students who cannot afford a proper infrastructure for their studies drop out from schools to help their parents for a livelihood, which suggests that our nation's future is bleak. Students who are unable to perform well are going in a deep state of depression According to a report of HAQ, a centre for child caring, in the state of Kerala 66 children committed suicide out of which 64 were between the 12 to 18. Similar things were seen in Kolkata and Ludhiana. Parents are also tired of paying huge fees to schools as many of them have lost their jobs. 

Coming to the corporate sector, people are not able to discuss freely various technologies evolving in the software industry. They are unable to access special machines as offices are closed. Some industries like travel, hotel, banking are on the verge of a shutdown as people are scared to travel due to strict travel restrictions like quarantine rules of a country, types of documentation required such as RTPCR negative report, vaccination certificate etc. According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE),7.35 million people have lost their job in April 2021. In March 2021, according to CMIE India's unemployment rate was 6.5% which rose to 8%.

            But applications like Zoom, MS teams, Skype etc. have gained popularity at this time. Almost every office meeting is taking place on these platforms. Especially Ms Teams as it natively integrates with MS Word, Powerpoint and Microsoft 365. According to a report by Microsoft, Teams saw a huge uptick in users during the pandemic, rising from 20 million in November 2019 to 44 million in March 2020 to 75 million in April. Microsoft teams noticed 894% growth more than Zoom. Its revenue in the year 2020 has been $6.8 billion, whereas Zoom revenue in the year 2020 has been $2.6 billion.

    In today’s era of work from home, many people opt for entertainment in form of OTT as a stress buster. The main reasons for the increase in the OTT viewership are that there is good content coming on these platforms and secondly it gives them an ample amount of family time. According to NASSCOM, it has stated that OTT viewership is at an all-time high now in India . Platforms like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney + Hotstar, Voot, Sony LIV, among others have gained immense popularity in India. At present, India is the world’s fastest-growing OTT market. According to BCG, it is estimated to be worth $5 billion by 2023. 

   But too much watching OTT content can cause major health concerns in children such as obesity, eye problems, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) etc. In adults, we can witness spinal problems in this era of work from home. We have also witnessed a rapid surge in domestic violence and suicides. The main reason behind this can only be performance pressure. According to a report of the National Commission for women during the early months of lockdown cases of domestic violence decreased (Complaints received: January: 538, February: 523, March: 501, April: 377). But as the lockdown was relaxed in May complaints rose to 552, and in June it surged to 730, which is a grave sign of concern that needs to be sorted out. 

       Though technology is fulfilling our daily needs and it has proved to be a knight in shining armour, but the people are missing the environment of a school, college and a corporate office. Looking at the present situation, I personally think we have to be isolated for the next 5 years and the next 3 generations may not have the luxury of seeing a proper school and college life. We could see the growth of apps like Google Classroom, Zoom gaining massive popularity. Children may explore new things in themselves, but they will lack confidence while facing the world because a school or a college gave a platform to children to express themselves. Similarly, the work of the corporate sector may not be efficient due to a lack of resources. The growth of small scale industries may come to a standstill and people might face firing from the firms whether small or large. 

The only solution to this problem is vaccination on a massive scale and assurance from the government that there is no new variant of the corona. It should also check if people are following the corona protocol seriously. Only then people will have a sense of freedom and relief while travelling to workplaces. In the case of work from home, the government should bring new facilities so that there is no issue of network connectivity. As in the case of schools and colleges, teachers have to devise new methods to make learning sessions more interesting for the students so that there are in a good mental space, as the corona is a vulture that has tortured us not only physically but mentally. Counselling sessions should be done with every person to keep everyone’s mind fresh, as I can see post corona taking mental health sessions will be the necessity for every individual.

Also, read "Impact of Covid-19 on Book Industry" by Vibhor Bijoy

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  1. Wonderfully penned dear Vibhor.The bitter truth of all aspects of pandemic.👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻