AdIns One Hundred Percent Work From Home
March 16, 2020, is a historic day for AdIns …. Why? Because on Monday, March 16, 2020, at 4:11 pm, in our inbox appears email from Mr. Guntur with the title, “WFH (stands for Work From Home) Test.” then followed by the next email on Friday, March 20, 2020, at 1:58 pm entitled “100% WFH Trial”. Some AdIners may have been waiting for this news, because currently in our environment, there are already many organizations (offices, schools, even government offices) around us have done this related to COVID-19 pandemic. After all, this WFH concept sounds like a beautiful, fun concept, and is often predicted as a perk in several companies to attract top talent to join their place.
Interestingly, the WFH concept is not new to AdIns. In my notes, Mr. Guntur first put forward this idea in mid-2012, and this initiative was first discussed in August 2012, meaning eight years ago. Unfortunately, this concept was difficult to implement at that time, due to various technical and non-technical considerations, bandwidth, security, versioning, and so on. And finally, this initiative has been running in place for years, with very little progress over the past eight years.
So come to think of it, what made us truly able to WFH in 2020 is not because we have found technical solutions to the problem we once worried about, nor is it guarantee that we can be disciplined at work. But, external circumstances we cannot control triggered this situation. So, the urgency can sometimes have a good effect and make us have to make decisions that we didn’t dare to make.
Now, after this WFH has been running for three weeks, one of the AdIner asked me, what is the most impacting obstacle during the implementation of this WFH? I was able to identify several technical and non-technical obstacles to answer this question. But in the end, I found the biggest obstacle I faced during this WFH. These constraints are not due to the unstable Internet connections, nor are the problems of working inconvenience at home that are unsuitable as workplaces, nor the habit changing of using hard copy documents to soft copy, not all of those things.
In my opinion, one of the main obstacles I experience is the reduction or even the loss of human interaction with the people around us. Of course, what I mean by human interaction is a physical meeting with our friends in the office, something we might take for granted. Every morning we arrive at the office, we will meet or meet Security at the entrance, the Receptionist, the Cleaning Service, Couriers, Drivers, and others. Then, we meet our colleagues, whether we know them personally or not. Sometimes, we accidentally meet with the leaders in our office, Mr / Mrs. Board of Management. All this time, we regard this as something usual, which we live every day without us knowing it.
WFH has changed all this. It is true that every day I, and of course all of us, conduct daily coordination meetings in each team, and also other meetings using voice or video conference. We have to realize, video conferencing is not the best solution, because of the quality of our Internet connection, which is still uneven, and often makes the video display resolution down or even faltered. Besides, many people only show the top of their faces when doing video conferences, for whatever reason, so we can not see the gesture of the other person we are talking to in full.
Beyond that, the biggest loss I feel is the opportunity to interact with other people outside our team. No one talks to us when we arrive at the office, and when we fill drinking water in the pantry, or when we feed koi fish when we have lunch, no one offers to buy snacks or coffee together, no one invites to the convenience store to buy snacks, no more taking lunch together. There is no spontaneous conversation with colleagues in the office or people we meet every day, including hawker sellers and owners or waiters of restaurants we visit. I realize that since the second week of WFH, regular video conferences with teams conducted on Friday afternoons always last longer than before because we often use this moment to chat out loud, discuss various light topics that we haven’t done in a long time. I think this at least reduces our sense of alienation.
Alienation? Why do I use this term? Aristotle, a famous Greek philosopher who lived in the third century BC (precisely 384 BC to 322 BC), once revealed a concept he called zoon politicon. Zoon means animals (remember the word zoology, which means knowledge of animals, or the word zoo in English). Politicon means to interact as a community (or a society). The term zoon politicon itself used by Aristotle that humans are social creatures that naturally motivated to live in society and interact with one another. This necessity to socialize distinguishes humans from animals in general. So, humans are not destined to live alone, or separate from their surroundings, because humans always need the presence of others in their lives.
In more modern times, another philosopher named Adam Smith (1723 – 1790) also revealed a theory that was in line with Aristotle’s theory, called homo homini socius. This term means a human destined to become friends with other humans. Interestingly, the two people who lived adrift around 2,000 years revealed the same thing. Because after further thought, there was an essential truth to the theory they put forward. In general, these two concepts have also been taught to each of us while we are still studying at the elementary school level, where our social studies teacher teaches us humans are social beings. To be honest, I also never thought about this further, to the point where we are entering the third week of WFH, which has begun to be followed by the Large-Scale Social Restrictions (PSBB) policy, and this feeling of alienation is beginning to emerge.
Honestly, I am grateful there are my wife and teenage children at home. I can meet them physically and can chat and joke every day. At least, when we have mealtimes every day. I try imagining some of my friends are more unlucky than me because they live alone. For example, friends who are boarding, especially in boarding houses that do not have many tenants.
Now I begin to understand, why do we see so much in films how undisciplined prisoners are transferred to solitary confinement because the isolation experienced while in solitary confinement can be the most severe punishment for a prisoner. Also, now I discover (in films as well) why people who were stranded alone on a desert island. Or medieval prisoners who have locked up alone in dungeons always portrayed writing or incised the number of days they had spent on a stone wall (or in tree trunks, for those stranded on the island) because this is how they handle the loneliness they experience.
Are we aware of the practice of celebrating AdIns’ anniversary, which was carried out through the zoom application on Friday, April 17, 2020, at 15:00 without us realizing it had a positive effect on us all? Maybe all you see on the screen are faces, some of which are abnormal because we try using a virtual background. And it turns out to be unfriendly to the notebooks whose specifications are less qualified. But, spontaneous jokes and chants that thrown at each other without us knowing, we have built our enthusiasm in that sweltering Friday afternoon. And for many people (including me), a 30-minute meeting (more than an hour when calculating the time spent on tests) had healed the longing for other AdInsers.
In the end, this alienation is indeed unpleasant, and we must try overcoming it, so it cannot influence our emotional health. My advice, as long as PSBB is still going on, try to keep interacting with our friends and family as much as we can, even if only through video conferencing. And that would be nice if we also informally hold online meetings to keep in touch with our friends. Thank God, there are still people around us, even during this quarantine. And if later the quarantine period is over, be grateful for the friends we meet every day. Even if they seem annoying, their presence helps to shape us into fully human beings – people who live to have a positive influence (to be a blessing) for the surrounding environment.
Written by Daniel A.W
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