The current pandemic and associated lock down situation has led to multiple strange paradigms for people – some hypothetical and some real.
Just few days back, I was discussing the wonderful weather and how it makes for the perfect recipe of an outdoor picnic, that is not to be due to the lock down.
The beautiful rain and associated lightning made me humming about some of my favorite songs from the yesteryears. Most of them are still refreshing.
That also took me years back into some of the wonderful lyrical renditions backed with strong guitar strums and excellent percussion of the late 90s when grunge rock was at its peak. Along with the greats of Nirvana and Chris Cornell, was another great band called ‘Live’. Of all its songs, Live’s song ‘Lightning Crashes’ is one of the best songs that gives you happiness then sorrow and then happiness to conclude. Hear it at your convenience here.
It also made me wonder what are the things that may qualify as an ‘expensive crash’ in the current situation, if it were to happen. Other than the utilities like electricity, water and now (convincingly true) internet, I also wondered what would make one useless even when these utilities are available.
After a lot of thinking and by application of ‘Method of Elimination’, my quest ended with ‘Laptop’.
I had concluded that laptop is the most expensive crash one can have in the current situation if it were to happen.
Following are the five reasons for this –
- You need laptop to do something meaningful and productive – for office or otherwise.
- Its your excuse to hide away from other household work.
- While staring at it, you can still seem busy.
- It opens up new world of learning – even if you are not executing it, but even if you are exploring it.
- Its your buddy in this time of isolation.
Just as these thoughts were passing through my mind, I decided to move to a different location in my office (basically from my home office table to the bed) with my favorite laptop (a Dell 7280) in my hand.
And as I placed it on my lap, my dear buddy went dead.
Just like that, it stopped responding… nothing. It stopped detecting the power cable as well. The power button was also gone.
In soccer we call this as sudden death. The play goes on till either team gives up and concedes a goal. In my case it was the quest between the man and the machine. The machine gave up.
I have to admit. At that moment I had the strangest feeling that I could have ever got. Suddenly thoughts of wastefulness, helplessness, sorrow, irritation, repentance (for changing my work location in my house), confusion, disappointment and tension of not meeting my commitments for the day crossed my mind. Surprisingly, an equal opposing current of joy, liberty, playfulness, relaxation, ability to make valid excuses, vacationing, relief and ‘no worries’ rushed through my brain.
A combination of these feelings made me light, really light in head but heavy at heart. I felt that there was a loss in my family but at the same time I felt unshackled.
Within 30 seconds of this mental interplay of opposing feelings, I recovered to the present tense. I quickly reached out to our office help desk. Still in early hours of the day, they just gave me an automated reply saying that they will get back.
I swung into action and pulled out my stone age personal laptop to carry with the day.
In the next hour or so, I was back on the saddle with my personal laptop but only 50% productive for several reasons, primary being lack of familiarity with my personal machine after years of its ignorance.
Anyway, my employer’s IT support staff were very swift in their process. In less than 48 hours of this episode, I had a spare machine with me. It not as great as my original allotted machine but it does 90% of the job smoothly. So no regrets.
My Salute, Saludo and Saluto to our support staff from IT to admin who made this arrangement in record time. I have great respect for their contribution.
This episode surprisingly times with the announcement from some IT service providers that they would shrink their office working staff to 25% in next few years and bring more ‘Work from home’ policies.
I also started thinking of the factors that one would need to consider to make this model work –
- Connectivity to main hubs – Rural and semi-rural areas will pose a greater challenge in shipping and installing the devices required for one’s productive work
- The old school of thought believes in reading access card logs to identify the attendance of the employee. This would need to change to a new set of metrics.
- There are some managers who take pride in their ‘aisle walks’. They need to change their ways of working.
- Problem solving would need to be more technology based than close interaction based.
- How would field forces operate in such scenarios?
Its a deeper subject than the scope of this blog. However, a well-thought through process and system would make this new way of working a reality. This is here to stay. The virus though should go away.
What are your thoughts on this?