August 16, 2009, 9 AM:
After a grueling four hours wait, we finally get the chance to board the hovercraft to visit the tiny island.
This tiny island is a special landmark for our exploration of the southernmost tip of Indian landmass, that is, Kanyakumari. Our destination? The renowned Vivekananda Rock.
We are a nifty group of five.
Achhuyut and Reena are newlyweds, belonging to the IT Bandwagon of Bangalore, just like me.
Ravi my colleague and a close friend seems perplexed by the colored water of the sea that reflects the blues of the sky along with several shades.
“Actually, this is the confluence of three seas-Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean -that’s why you can see so many colors from here,” Ravi remarks. I soon join him admiring the remarkable shades.
The screeching noise of the mobile ringtone disturbs my peace. As I turn back with an annoying look, I see Achhuyut receiving the call.
“Sir, yes sir, sorry sir, I will do it,” He mumbles intermittently.
The conversation continues for another five minutes. He asks his wife Reena to wait for a while.
He opens up his backpack and connects the laptop to the internet.
“How can he do so? I can never imagine bringing that electronic gadget over here!” Ravi resounds disgust.
“Stop, bothering him,” I caution Ravi.
The short wait of his wife becomes an hour as Achhuyut takes a long while to finish his work by which time we have all completed our site-seeing of Vivekananda Rock.
I feel a wave of sympathy for the couple, who could not enjoy one important relic in their honeymoon.
Later that day I learn from him that he had a project going live around 1 PM.
Before I reveal what I am dealing with let us visit another real time story.
It is 5 PM. Madhurima like any other day is scribbling through her notes for the meeting.
Arushi, her six-month-old daughter is at home. The maid leaves at 5.30 PM and the only person to be home with her would be Madhurima’s 80-year-old paraplegic mother-in-law. Madhurima’s husband is abroad for six months on a work assignment.
Madhurima expects her meeting to be over by 5.15 PM and she can push out from office in another five minutes. But this meeting seems to go on like any inconclusive corporate meetings and drags on till 6 PM.
She is finally able to leave office at 6.10 PM. By the time she reaches home, struggling through the peak hour traffic of Whitefield, Bangalore, it is almost 7.30 PM.
After facing the same difficulties for over a week, she finally consults her supervisor who directs her to the company’s HR. She is given the option to work from home after 4 PM and she readily accepts.
Yeah, I am actually talking about work from home concept. These stories are very contrasting but reflect the modern working style of many IT companies across the world. Why did I really put these two stories? No offense but the first one highlights the perils of this flexible option and the other one, shows why it is absolutely necessary to keep this option alive.
How can I forget my own experience in this?
12 April 2006:
As I am in the middle of an important conversation with my onsite counterpart on the instant messenger, the emergency bell rings aloud in the office premise.
At first, I think it is a fire alarm but an announcement soon follows.
“Dear Employees, there is a report of the sad demise of thespian Raj Kumar. Bangalore is facing a lot of security issues today. We urge you to leave for the day as soon as possible”.
“I have a code to deliver by 5 PM today.What will I do now?” I complain to my Project Manager.
“Don’t worry; we can manage as we have a pool laptop for the team. You can carry it for today and finish your work at home. The client will consider few hours of delay,” he replied.
Working from home saved my day.
But Ravi, my co-traveler and present roommate still argues with me on this topic.
“Why do you have to bring office tensions to home?”
I cannot disagree or agree with him fully.
Few months back a renowned IT product based company withdrew the working from home facility from its employees. It claims, “Personal interaction is the basis of any work culture and it can help employees, develop people dealing skills.”
So, this or that?