Many residents in Kochi city and its suburbs who work from home are struggling due to the frequent power cuts or internet connectivity issues.

A man sitting at a desk with a laptop in front of him and looking at a phone in his handImage credit: Picxy / creativesanthosh
news WFH Friday, May 21, 2021 - 16:36

It has only been about two weeks since Kochi resident Gautham Salim started working from home due to the Kerala government’s newly imposed lockdown. But he is already in low spirits as poor internet connectivity is taking a toll on his efficiency. Being in a private building materials company, online meetings with clients are part of his daily routine. But on most of the days, these are hindered due to bad connectivity.

“My office is located in Kozhikode and I had been staying close to the workplace. Prior to the lockdown, I had to come home to Kochi and now I’m required to work from here. I use my mobile internet, but connectivity is really poor. Meetings get disrupted in between multiple times in a day. It gives a bad impression to the clients,” says Gautham, who stays in Palluruthy.

This is not an isolated incident, many residents in Kochi city and its suburbs who work from home are struggling due to frequent electricity disruptions or internet connectivity issues. Even those with broadband connections report having a tough time. For instance, Arun Mohan, who lives in the heart of Kochi city, around the Ernakulam Junction Railway Station, the broadband connection is of little comfort due to power cuts and poor connectivity.

“Even during a light drizzle, power goes off in my home and gets restored only when the rain stops. In our locality, no other area is affected like this. The power cuts even go on for hours, naturally disrupting the broadband connectivity at home,” Arun says. “Every time I call the electricity office, they have one same excuse that some trees have fallen disrupting the power supply or they are working on something else,” he laments.

Arun’s work involves online communication with people abroad. “Due to the connectivity issues, I tell everyone in advance that I work remotely and there might be technical issues. Most of the time, people understand the situation,” he says. For Arun’s sister who works in a self-financing college, the situation is difficult too. “She takes online tuitions for students in foreign countries. There are often days when she has to cancel the sessions as it is hard to work without proper connectivity,” he adds.

Many like Gautham do not find it feasible to take broadband connections too, as work from home is not permanent. “Broadband connection might solve the issue, but once the lockdown is over, I will travel back to the office in Kozhikode. So, it would be useless to take broadband as it won’t be useful for my parents at home,” he says.

For many, the difficulty in being able to work efficiently adds to stress. Deepak* who works in an IT company in Kakkand, says, “Our work involves multiple persons simultaneously working on our company software, but since there is not enough speed for the broadband connection at home, this is often difficult. I have to make a lot of adjustments and it is very stressful,” Deepak adds.

While many expect the issues to get resolved once the lockdown ends, some remain stressed as work from home has now become the 'new normal'. "How long can we keep giving the same excuse to our bosses?" Deepak rues.

(*Name changed on request)


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