Work Re‑cultured: The Finance Journalist Who Turned His Daughter’s Room Into an Office
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, a 34-year-old finance journalist, S.P.
This lockdown has been stressful, to say the least. I’m a finance journalist, used to working in an office with screens all around me to track different markets. I have colleagues around the world with whom I’m on conference calls all day depending on the time zones they are in. I’d say I pull a 12- to 13-hour shift every day and attend to at least 35 to 40 calls a day.
We have really secure software, and high-grade technology, to assist us with these video and teleconference calls in the office. But when the lockdown began, we had to start working from home. We had nothing more than a phone and a laptop to support us. Since my wife had just quit her job, I could use her laptop, so luckily I had two screens to look at. We were also forced to make international calls from our own phones, although the office has offered to pay for them.
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I live in a small 2-bedroom apartment in Mumbai, but I had to turn my 6-year-old daughter’s room into a mini-office. That leaves my wife and my daughter with very little space in the house to do their own thing. My work has disrupted my daughter’s routine multiple times. I have work calls and meetings at odd hours of the day, which means sometimes I can’t eat on time with my family or spend time with them. She’s used to me putting her to sleep, but I haven’t been able to do that on most days.
We also have a huge electricity issue — it goes away due to technical glitches a couple of times in the day. And once it’s back, systems take time to restart, software takes time to load, and I end up losing time because of that. All this wouldn’t have happened in office.
On the day I have an off, I spend half of it catching up on sleep and the rest of the day goes into planning the next week. Initially, I thought working from home would be a blessing in disguise because not only would it cut down on my commute, but I’d get enough time with my daughter. It has turned out to be the complete opposite. I can’t wait to go back to the office, so once I shut my laptop, it feels like work has ended.
As told to Anubhuti Matta.