Offices are mostly made up of men and their machines. But with all the technology advances, which are advancing even as we speak, machines are rapidly replacing men. Two jobs were reduced to one and then to none. No human being is indispensable; some beeping box with a couple of antennas sticking out invariably takes over from a whiny weepy wimpy flesh and blood employee. Paperless already, perhaps all corporates are leading up to human-less habitats.
With more and more people opting for working from home and rentals sky-high in the first place, offices are in danger of going virtual. So that we are slowly and steadily headed towards that ultra-modern entity, the office-less office. No one calls up a company so much as an individual, so there’s no way of knowing where the concerned person is location-wise. For all you know he is at his in-laws’ plaiting doll hair for a niece.
Man is a perverse animal: seeking society when isolated, dying to be alone at a party. For all his demands to work from home, he is sure to notice the absence of chatter around him one day. After the novelty wears off the very fact that your bed can be your workplace is depressing. No need to change from pajamas, no need to brush teeth, no one to say ‘good morning’ to, no one to smile at or make small talk with. The spouse, who is presumably still going out to work, will be a blur as he/she flies out the door. The domestic help can only be around for that long, as he/she has other homes to tend to. Then it is just you and your work. Without the semblance of an office, without the formal demarcation of four walls set up with the express intention of containing an industrious you, what will unleash the worker in you? What?
Or say you opt to be a freelancer, so that your hours are your own, so that you get to work only when you want to. Deadlines come and go, you deliver or you don’t, the money comes in or it doesn’t, you chase payments or you don’t… Then you take up part-time work. You pick up an hour at random, an hour you will give to this or that, unalloyed by distractions or your favorite band. In reality only the payment is part-time – the work you pack into that hour is more than a full day’s worth. Office or no office, the system is out to get you.
In which case, you sigh, better to have worked in an office and made redundant than never to have worked in an office at all. You think back nostalgically about the good old days when you commuted to work, read the paper in the metro, finally spoke to that man across the aisle, looked through a trainee or two, made the boss laugh. When you could walk in and out of an office any time you wanted. In short to a time when you had a life!
To work your killer instinct in the absence of a jungle environ is a challenge in itself. To keep your cool and maintain sanity in the face of an empty room are a drag. Not to mention a series of bum jobs left behind by spouse just because ‘you are at home’!
If there is a place you can dress up and go to Monday to Friday, plus be paid for it, with air-conditioning and drinking water thrown in for free, never walk out. Just stay put.
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