Work, Re‑cultured: A Founder Who Has Always Worked From Home, But Is Now Struggling
In Work, Re-cultured, The Swaddle brings you a snapshot of what work-from-home culture looks like for Indian professionals across industries. In this installment, the 35-year-old founder of Ungender legal advisory, Pallavi Pareek.
Our team is a remote team, so we’ve always been working from home. When lockdown happened, working remotely wasn’t a shock for us. There was a time when people used to tell me “Hey, you’ve been working from home, such a smooth ride.” But now, you know your day is no longer divided. Your personal time, family time, home time, work time have lost their space on the calendar. There is this juggling and intermixing that’s happening all the time. It’s easy to say “I wake up at this hour, then I work, then I spend time with my family.” But it can’t happen. The commonness of being on the same ground has eased the formality of interaction.
At the same time, it has been quite frustrating because you may not have the same infrastructure at home. Earlier, it used to be in my control — I would be able to go to a coworking space or a friends’ space. Now, I don’t have a printer at home. And we know the internet connection is something nobody can say works perfectly. It’s also subject to power cuts. It’s a realization that I had about how these very common things don’t exist at home.
And then there’s taking care of the home. It’s been four months; our auntie hasn’t been here. I can’t work in a house when it hasn’t been cleaned on that day. You can’t skip a day. You have to clean it every day. It’s a standard routine — you make sure your dogs go for a walk, that they’re fed, clean the house. But it doesn’t remain like that every day — one day you miss it, and everything has gone for a toss. One day you don’t wash utensils, or you forget to order garbage bags, and something so small becomes so big. One weekend you don’t wash your clothes and then the next time you’re confronting a huge pile.
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In this pandemic, my garden terrace has become barren. I used to enjoy such a nice beautiful terrace. I ask myself: How much time do you need to actually water your plants? It’s crazy — I would like to understand what’s going on inside my head. I know this needs to be done and I’m not able to do it. Something has to be horribly wrong with a person to witness this, to watch it, and not act upon it. Especially because it doesn’t require saving the world. I’m not a lazy person. It’s a conscious conversation with myself: I see them dying, and I’m not able to fill a bucket of water and nourish them.
At the same time, I know we need to cut ourselves some slack — you’re constantly moving around doing one thing or another. You need to talk to your body. Of course we can do lots of things, but do we have to? Do we really want to do this?
I’d be really interested to see when all this is over, if we could answer some simple questions about our time right now. What did we learn about our relationships? And what did we learn about ourselves?