Sunday, September 6, 2020

Return to work while in Pandemic

 After enjoying my Work from home (WFH) for almost five months (since March 13, 2020) reluctantly my office asked for volunteers to comes once a week to see their new arrangement in the office. Although I am doing WFH and have honestly got spoiled from it, I had to go and check out what was soon to be a new normal. I had gotten used to waking up around 7 Am every day that it was such a drag to wake up at 4.30 to start my day which I was not looking forward to. But anyway dragging myself to go at least after such a long time, I started to reluctantly prepare myself for the morning commute (on Wednesday, August 12, 2020). Although I knew that the traffic would be light because of the Pandemic and also because schools are closed but there was still traffic on the roads but not that much and what was there people were driving like there are driving on snow covered or rain drenched roads, too slow and not going out of my way.

I reach my train station and there was signs everywhere to wear the mask at all times on the train and public areas and also in the elevators there were signs where the people are going to stand . Anyway the train came and the best part was that I got a seat with nobody sitting beside me all the way to Manhattan. The Compliance with the mask wearing was near universal on the trains. I got off the train and started walking towards my office. There was less crowd than on a unsual week day

and everybody was wearing mask. Where I work it is a majoy tourist attractions for people all around the world and the weather was near perfect but the crowd as light and the streets and side walks of Manhattn wore a deserted look. I took my coffee and bagel and spoke to my usual guy, who said that the business was not good as expected since less people were trekking to the office. As I approached my building, there were again signs of social distancing and spacing of six feet and also on the elevators, designated signs where one is supposed to stand. There were hand sanitizers in the lobby and also in my office with marking all over the place to make sure there is one way traffic to the rest rooms. With the Caffeteria sealed off entirely and phones taken away from our desks. Even the seat where I was supposed to sit as usual had been taken away and in one row only three people were supposed to sit instead of five. During Lunch hour I trekked outside to get hot food since the luxury of microwave has been taken away from the office. There were few people on the streets which was supposed to be crowded with tourists and local office workers. The guy who got my food from said that he was also hurting and now had to take two jobs to make ends meet. After finishing my work, I started walking towards my train station with few people to encounter on the way back. I took some pictures in the morning and some in the evening for my friends to let them know that how empty and deserted streets of the Financial Capital of the world looked like and it was really haunting to see so few people in the middle of August with schools off and not a sight of tourists. But the good thing is Face covering was almost 99.99 percent universally compliant and I did not see any protest to the contrary. And after reaching my parking lot, I drove back home. But with the added burder of carrying my laptop back and forth, it was not a fun day at the office. But the sorry state of affairs with restaurants closed and taking only take out delivery and some non essential stores and some even shuttered for good, it will take a lot of time even afte the vaccine is available that the City of New York will come back. But as I spoke with one of my bosses, the days of coming to the office Five days a week are gone for good and this reality will hit hard the revenue of many businesses and cities across America, as people tend to stay indoors and work from home and there will be less support for the people who have to interact on a daily basis for their economic survival.


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