“You are so lucky Bob!” is something I hear ever so often from friends and relatives, who know I spend the day writing from home, “You can be so flexible with your time!”

“No, I can’t!” I’ve been saying for years.

“Why not?” they ask.

“Because there’s more discipline you have to enforce on yourself at home, than in your offices!” I tell them even as they look at each other, unconvinced.

Today, as I see ‘working from home’ becoming a necessity, I see many of my old sceptics understanding what I meant.

“There’s so many distractions!” I hear them as they complain over the phone.

“Like what?” I ask with a knowing smile.

“Dilip, will you please keep the kachra out!” says the wife.

“Hey dad, here’s a wonderful serial you must watch!” say the kids.

“How’s work!” says the wife as she barges in, in the middle of a conference call, “Did you have any problems with that stupid boss of yours?”

“And Bob!” says the nearly weeping friend, “The boss was on the line when she said that, and I had to try and explain to him, she was not talking to me but to my son!”

Like I said it’s not easy working from home, because work is no more using a physical place, but has carved a place out in time. And in that carving out of a slice of time, certain new rules have to adhered to by others at home. Oh yes, I can hear protests, I can see indignation, and hear you under your bated breath saying, “Home is my hearth! You can’t just come and take over!”

Agreed, nobody should, but today it’s about survival. Survival, not just about health and lives, but the very job that brings food on the table, and money to keep a roof over your head.

I am not going into the nitty-gritty of what one must do to share space, but will concentrate only on one aspect: Respect!

Respect him or her, for having a job!

Respect his or her worktime!

Respect their timings for calling back or messaging you!

Respect his or her moods; their edginess, maybe abruptness, even temper off and on, because it’s not with you that moods swing, it’s just that there’s an office in his mind!

And if somebody’s physical presence itself around you makes you happy, then move from respect to love, and make the WFH experience a unique one; maybe a cup of tea placed discretely nearby, a bowl of soup, and believe you me, soup, has more to offer than taste alone!

And if someone’s presence has been irritating, and you’ve been quite happy, with the ‘return from office’ time spent together, then here’s a God given time for a little repairing.

But a good start would be in respecting those working from home..!

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