Existential WFH Qs for the weekend (it is the weekend, right?)
If I’m working from home, do I need to get dressed for work every day?
In the interests of decency, yes, unless you are not going to be doing any video conferences — in which case, it’s entirely up to you. Victor Hugo, legend has it, did his best work when nude.
a. Do I need to dress up for work every day?
Most workplaces went casual long before the pandemic (Brooks Brothers has applied for bankruptcy), and athleisure has been a trend for well nigh a decade-and-half, so there is no need to dress up. Try and avoid shorts, though, especially if you are going to be on a video conference that requires a jacket.
P.S. In general, avoid shorts. Most people pay scant attention to their legs when working out and, therefore, to quote a line from a film magazine I read in a doctor’s waiting room in my school years, have legs that look like “a road roller ran over their bottom half”.
b. What do you wear to work every day?
Now, we are getting personal. Still, my work uniform (that’s how I have defined it for years now) has changed — from jeans and a white shirt (the same brands and styles always) to linen trousers and a T-shirt made by an Indian start-up which makes the best T-shirts in the world (no names). And once in a while, I wear one of my old Grateful Dead T-shirts — but I used to do that even when I was going into office.
Will people judge me by my Zoom background?
You bet they will. People think books are a neutral background, but if the video conference is long and boring (most are), enough participants will read the spines and then judge you for not just the background, but also your reading habits.
a. What’s your Zoom background?
We are getting personal again. Right now, it’s the album cover of King Crimson’s The Court of the Crimson King (Great music, Mellotron and all that; and it turned 50 late last year).
It’s also a good way to judge people in reverse — depending on whether they are able to recognise the background. I’ve been in three work-related Zoom calls in the past few days (I usually use MS Teams, which is boring when it comes to backgrounds), one with economists and fund managers from a sovereign wealth fund (no one recognised it), another with consultants from a global consulting firm (no luck again), and a third with a panel of people including the director of the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta (she did, so you know the answer if your next question is on what I consider to be the best B-school in the country).
Should I have a time by when I log in to work and a time when I log out?
Ideally, yes, but the unfortunate truth is that most managers (including me, I’m sorry to add) believe that they can call anytime and also set impossible deadlines (I’ve noticed that I am suffixing most of my requests with, “After all, you are working from home...”)
a. When do you log in and log out?
Personal again. But you don’t want to know lest your manager reads this.
Is it alright to take an unscheduled break from work to throw a ball for your dog in the garden?
It is alright to take a break from anything, and at any time, to throw a ball for your dog in the garden.
What day of the week is it?
I don’t know.