Oct 24 / Srishti Jain

Riding the Work from Home Rollercoaster

As most of us moved to working from home last year from the then corporate office life, I observed that some of us were happy while others resented that change. As for myself, I have found myself on both sides of this situation.

Before 2020, I used to be quite a big advocate of work from home considering how much commute time and hassle it saves that can then be put to better use, the extra energy feels like a treasure, and we get the luxury of working comfortably from our favorite corner of the house on certain low days. Thankfully my job allowed me the flexibility of being able to work from home when I needed to. I had the flexibility and a choice, which led to increased work satisfaction.

But as they say, excess of everything is bad. Surely enough, I started feeling otherwise during the extended work from home period during the pandemic. The biggest downside was not being able to have the feeling of work fulfillment. The little things like the smile on your team leads’ face and the satisfaction in your managers’ eyes that say "well done" for a presentation are much more important and far more remembered than an email saying so (especially when we hardly write those emails unless it’s a big victory). The liberty to bring up a topic of discussion by sensing the mood; to know if your stakeholders are convinced with your theory or you should advocate it a little more by looking at their facial expressions, and even the slightest of things like to not accidentally interrupt someone in a meeting because you thought they were done, but it was a mere break in their speech, are some of the few things for starters, that ruined the game! The whole concept of body language, which held essential status in the professional world, was gone.



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Four learnings to help early career professionals untangle mixed emotions about working from home.

Learning #1 : Change is HARD and Change is always approached with resistance. Learn to embrace it and deal with it accordingly.

At that point, no one knew when this would change, and we started calling it “a new normal”. It was a huge shift in how businesses operated, which directly affected our personal lives. People with family and kids had to handle both - home and work- full time, some senior colleagues who aren’t a big fan of video calls had to learn the new technology suddenly, and if you were a newbie like me and a lot of my friends, who were yet to develop that strong bond with their team and make new connections, felt utterly lost. In short, it was something like that out of syllabus question that none of us were prepared for. And unlike all the other times when that work from home came out of our own ‘choice,’ this one was being forced upon us. We were all in a panic of not knowing what comes next and letting that fear and emotions get better of us.

Trust yourself. You’ve survived a lot, and you’ll survive whatever is coming. -  Robert Tew

Learning #2 : Collaborate and think about the solution rather than magnifying the problem.
After more than a year of remote working, we all have learned and adapted to this way of working and, in most cases, started to enjoy it too. I personally now look forward to meeting my team virtually over coffee once a week, to mural games once a quarter, goodbye and welcome lunches over video calls, and other small ways just to keep a check towards each other’s sanity. We have all tackled this as another problem statement and have come up with our own innovative solutions. 

Learning #3 : Learn to trust the designated bodies even though you may not be happy with their process.
Just recently, we were once again in the phase of transitioning ‘back to work’. Some of us had been waiting for this eagerly, others possibly anxiously. The myriad of emotions is expected as this was a time for a change again. But what’s different was that this change was being embraced more positively by everyone as it was more of a ‘choice’ rather than something we were forced to do under the circumstances. It had resulted from those multiple surveys carefully designed and collected over the entire office population and consisted of a mix of environments in which we enjoy and grow. It had a blend of both office and home. The entire credit goes to our leadership & human resources team, who diligently worked to ensure employee satisfaction in these unprecedented times. 

Without trust we don’t truly collaborate; we coordinate or at best, cooperate. It is trust that transforms a group of people into a team.
-  Stephen Covey

Learning #4: Develop a growth mindset. The idea is not to go back to how things were but to a better version of it. 
But with the new wave of Delta variant, this plan also did not see the light of day. Most of the companies had to again postpone their back to work plans, and once again made us all recalibrate the situation. This rollercoaster hasn’t come to a stop and it’s hard to predict what comes next, but I think I am better equipped to ride this out with a renewed sense of faith, an increased level of trust, and an immense belief in embracing change.

Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming.-  Mandy Hale

In Summary:

These were my key learnings from this entire experience, which I hope will help other early career professionals untangle their mixed emotions when faced with change.


1. Change is always approached with resistance. Learn to embrace it and deal with it accordingly.

2. Collaborate and think about the solution rather than magnifying the problem 


3. Learn to trust the designated bodies even though you may not be happy with their process.


4. Develop a growth mindset. The idea is not to go back to how things were but to a better version of it.


Finally I would like to leave you with this thought :

“We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell



What have been your learnings from this rollercoaster ride of working from home?

If you have a personal story and lessons learned to share about how you’re owning your career, write to us at richa@pinkcareers.com.

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Srishti Jain is a mechanical engineer by profession, earned her bachelor’s from India and Masters from Texas A&M University, USA. She has over 4 years of professional experience exploring different industries and domains. In her current role with Schlumberger, she works as a design engineer and enjoys the diversity that comes with different phases of product design. She appreciates the visibility of every step from ideation to development and the learning that comes along. This keeps her excited about work as there is never a monotonous day.
She enjoys hands-on working in the lab, and is passionate about contributing in the field of additive manufacturing and learning & developing digital twin models. In her free time she enjoys reading autobiographies, painting canvases or diving into the finance world.
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NEXT COHORT STARTS 15 NOVEMBER, 2021.

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