Coffee Houses and Wi-Fi | The millenial way of working
I am sitting in a café sipping chai as I write this. If someone comes up to me or calls me right now, I would tell them I am working. I move my eyes around the room and I see about 20 people doing the exact same thing. If I go to the next café, I will probably witness the same scene. I know that because I was there yesterday, which got me thinking:
This is our new way of working—a comfortable couch, a screen, a beverage, and an internet connection.
Does anyone remember what workspaces in India look like?
Rectangular rooms in multi-storey buildings with rows of small rectangular tables and uncomfortable chairs have been the prevalent workspaces in the country. A 9 to 5 job in the corporate work culture enjoys the privilege of calling itself life. Employees are happy with logging in the required number of hours and meeting the specified profits and targets. Majority of them fairly enjoy the two days they get off and waste them doing absolutely nothing of value. A well-deserved break, some call it.
Interestingly, that’s not the only scene on the workspace anymore. The millennial way of working is transforming the fundamental nature of work. We are actually putting the technology and the super savvy tools we have at our disposal to use. It’s eliminating the need of being present in an office to accomplish your tasks.
Why is this happening?
My conversations with these freelancers have told me that at the rudiment level, the reasons for their remote working are fairly similar. Majority of them are looking for a certain sense of flexibility in their schedule. “I mean, why would I want to be tied to a desk when I have nothing to do. If I am free for let’s say 30 minutes, I can use that time to go grocery shopping. It’s just as important a task”, one of them told me. And I have to say, I agree with her.
In my opinion, this new work culture indicates the importance the current working generation is associating with their life.
We can choose our working hours because of the lack of a fixed location and a rigid time schedule. “The important thing is getting the work done. It shouldn’t matter if I do it at 3 p.m. or 4 a.m.”, says Abhimanyu, a freelance software developer from Bangalore.
This kind of makes sense. If we do not have a manager overseeing our work, it does not make it any less relevant. We are figuring out new ways of managing our workload without having to miss out on our brother’s engagement or our friend’s birthday.
“I prefer remote working because it gives me time to experiment new hobbies. Besides that, I can just breathe in peace.” shares Anuja, a Mumbai-based freelance interpreter.
Fear of Lack of Productivity
Being stuck in a cubicle, staring at a screen all day is not creative at all. Productive work results from productive thinking which only comes from an un-tired mind. Our brain needs to relax and roaming around a closed room does not count as relaxing.
We need to observe absolutely random things. Read the passing billboards. Overhear conversations to actually come up with valuable ideas. I wouldn’t be writing this piece if I hadn’t been in this café. That is how ideas are born—from observations.
Varsha, a freelance designer, finds a little distraction helpful. “If I get stuck at something, I can put it on hold. I can go to the gym, watch a little TV, or cook and I know that when I’ll come back, I will have a solution. Being in the same place all day does not help me with that.”
“Working from home allows me to judge the value of my work. I will get paid for the amount of work I do. Because of that, none of it will be lost in the corporate profit. Or be an unfair payment for the time I invested sitting idle”, thinks Sonali, a freelance linguist.
The unfairness of salaries in the corporate world has been a debatable topic. In the majority of cases, enterprises are unwilling to pay employees what they deserve.
Remote working is helping us with the realization of comparing the monetary benefit with the amount of work and energy we invest. It’s making us call the shots and keeping us from doubts and dissatisfaction.
The word is highly relative but remote working gives us a sense of freedom that we all crave for—the ability to plan road trips and weekend getaways, more time with our family, impromptu movie plans, dinner dates, and other small things that matter in life just as much as work. As a result, we are more satisfied and content with the work we do.
There is liberation in knowing that you get to make the decisions in your life. You can prioritize what matters to you and that does not have to include a compromise on your work. Whether you work at a desk or at the beach, it doesn’t, shouldn’t make a difference as long as the work gets done.