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The Quarantine’s Apprentice: The COVID-19 Pandemic will Reinvent the Corner Office

Investment Banking Intern, Amax Capital
May 12, 2020 6:29 AM 3 min read

"Fluency illusion" is a condition in which after reading or trying to learn something several times, the person mistakes familiarity with mastery of the content. It is not until one is tested by asking to produce explanations that the person realises the true depth of their knowledge.

Therefore, it makes testing very crucial for the learning process. Struggling with the substance while learning can be very beneficial to learning. Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel stated in one of the most revolutionary books of all time – Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning:

"We usually think of interference as a detriment to learning, but  certain kinds of interference can produce learning benefits, and the positive effects are sometimes surprising. Would you rather read an article that has normal type or type that’s somewhat out of focus? Almost surely you would opt for the former. Yet when text on a page is slightly out of focus or presented in a font that is a little difficult to decipher, people recall the content better."

Now, why am I telling you all these psychological and cognitive jargon? Reason: We got to know how we truly fare! We thought that we were at the apogee of social stature, but it all came crashing down on the very first instance of keeping a social promise. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve jumped to various realisations of my own, not just about lifestyle, but also about how we as human beings can maximise the economic and wellness meter with minimum environmental disruption. How we, as the torch bearers of the modern world, can develop a deeper sense to life than just juggling between the office and home during those prime hours!

Every crisis brings massive disruption, and we fail to see that within the depth of those problems, lie formidable opportunities for growth and development. If we recall our daily office chit-chats with colleagues, you would often hear the complaints about harsh hours, missing out on several important occasions, and not able to spend time with loved ones. But, we as human beings are complicated. Now that we’ve got time to do those amazing things, we fail to appreciate it. It’s time to launch Google Duo and place that video call. It’s time to read books with your little ones. Indeed, it’s time to get that 10-hour sleep cycle you’ve been wishing for since the inception of your career. To conclude this point, I recollect what Brendon McCullum said post his dismissal on the very first ball of the 2015 Cricket World Cup Final – "After a lifetime of dreaming about exactly that moment, I messed it up." Don’t mess it up this time, people.

For all those who are working from home, it might seem tiring sometimes. A recent study shows that those who are telecommuting are working an additional two-three hours due to the mitigation of commute time and in-office breaks. To keep up with the pace, one must exercise in between. A pinch of yoga can enhance productivity to record levels. Not to mention the fact that maintaining a schedule with self-care instituted within it can bring positivity amid this crisis.

You might wish for a corner office in Lower Manhattan or a posh view of from a floor-to-ceiling window from your office in Nariman Point or an aesthetic view of London Tower from the Canary Wharf. What this outbreak has taught us is the fact that not all the great assignments are undertaken within bullpens. Managers can have an efficient day on the internet, just as much in a cubicle. And the idea of having remote working stations is not as bad as sacrificing the majority of your life while travelling for clients. In the 21st century, maybe the view of the city through the sun-kissed window panes is the new corner office!

In a life that criss-crosses the globe from New York skyscrapers to Mumbai’s narrow streets, companies need to evolve their structure. Productivity must be placed above various parameters but not above happiness. Employees must evolve to function better with satellite communications.

I will end with the aphorism "All that glitters is not gold"...and for now, bringing efficiency from the remote can be tagged as the new gold.

Till then, keep safe and take care!


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