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CHILD'S PLAY

Is your bored kid making work-from-home difficult? Think of her as just another annoying colleague

AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A
Work and play.
  • Manavi Kapur
By Manavi Kapur

Culture and lifestyle reporter

Working-out-of-home can be tricky for those with young kids. Laying down boundaries with a work-at-home spouse may be easy, but a bored child?

For instance, in 2017, British professor Robert Kelly’s toddlers walked in on him during a live television interview with BBC. He won over the internet by carrying on without batting an eyelid.

In India, work-at-home is still relatively a new idea and can be disorienting to most initially.

In this coronavirus-induced new work environment, a section of Indians are falling back on humour to tackle the stickiness. Abha Atitkar Jain, a homemaker, recently asked her friends to share on Facebook their own experiences of working from home with young children. Only that they must imagine their offsprings as coworkers.

The responses—a mixture of parental exhaustion, amusement, and general hilarity—were gold.

Jain, for instance, wrote:

My coworkers seem pretty boring in general. All they did was make excuses about how the office still hasn’t told them what work they should be doing and kept begging for more TV! 😂😂😂

They also ate worth their weight in snacks.

And then, there was an avalanche of these.

One chopped bhindi, one made a palya out of it and both acted as if they want to be the CEO of my company. I’m thinking of sacking them without notice saying the company is downsizing.

I was on the couch huddled under a blanket and my coworker plonked herself right next to me and hogged the blanket! So selfish! And then she put her chin on my shoulder and nuzzled me! Hasn’t she heard of social distancing? So irresponsible!

Some wanted to change jobs.

I want to change jobs based on my co-workers’ attitude & the culture of the organisation. Only the canteen is amazing (but since I head that department, it may be construed as mis-reporting!)

Others looked at older “co-workers” with wry amusement.

My youngest coworker had a meltdown on the badminton court thanks to his unwillingness to share the space with his teammate. I’m impressed with my female coworker who is voluntarily cleaning out the pigsty that is her workstation. Meanwhile my eldest coworker has disappeared into his mobile phone and laptop, claiming to be videoconferencing but I have my suspicions and will have the enforcer look into it.

My co-workers refused to come back from the project. And once back, dived into a digital world they’d not had access to in weeks, and refused to join the rest of us for a meeting.

Sometimes, when you have more than one “coworker,” there can be office politics.

The only thing my two co-workers do is constantly squabble. They compete with each other, constantly try to palm off their responsibilities to each other, are very united when they shirk work for pleasure and come up with very creative ways to do so which impresses my partner at the company who instead of making my life easier- is either laughing at their antics or joining them in their nonsense. I’d leave the company except the company is mine and due to contractual agreements I can’t fire those two. My partner on the other hand is treading a very dangerous line.

Communication is key.

My coworkers blamed lack of communication for all the projects that were half done/partially done. The lack of communication is on my part, of course even though it is them who don’t hear/pretend not to hear, what I say. When things were escalated for some critical, time sensitive work they started shirking responsibilities and playing the blame game. And after the pep talk about ‘taking ownership’ and all that jazz—managed to finally, actually complete some long overdue items

And the HR department has an important function.

My coworkers are playing hooky and when I call them out on it they throw tantrums. Seriously considering reporting them to HR—oh wait! I’m HR too!

It’s not easy being a c-suite executive.

The CEO was away for a couple of days. I am surprised the company is still standing! And wasn’t burned down.. And the CFO is so tired, he is sleeping on the couch. Too tired to walk up to bed 🙄

Even CEOs need downtime.

As the CEO I tried to keep up the morale and offered many incentives if the productivity increased in our new shortened work hours. But I got eggs on my face and nasty report that I was a slave driver and don’t keep the workers nourished with enough candy. So I shut myself in my office (toilet) and am watching Netflix while chaos reigns outside. For half hour tops.

Strategy is key.

One coworker is finishing his appraisal ( boards) and has informed management that he expects a rating of EE and a fat incentives as well! In kind or in cash. A foreign trip was one of the asks, but corona put that desire to flight.
The other one (four-legged) just lies around all day without doing anything, only to move ass wildly every time someone peeps into office. The CFO has asked for a report on how to balance these two and get the company moving forward profitably. All the CFO does is ask! Is upto the CEO to strategise and move forward.

As is good food.

One co worker constantly loud-whispered “make cake already” when I was on calls, the other co worker decided to enlighten everyone about turtles breathing from their butts. None of my co workers can speak softly.
My managing partner continues to think these co workers are amazing 😒

But most importantly, office entertainment.

My coworkers are collaborating by agreeing on which Netflix series to binge out on and communicating cheerfully with each other about the characters and competing for the junkiest packaged food they can gorge on.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

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