I spend a great part of my day in an office where my most preoccupying thought is how to stay warm. Now, don’t get ideas. There’s no such action here. All I am talking about is plotting on how not to be subjected to sub-human temperatures and not have to thaw my fingers every time I try to type.
Okay, I know some people consider it fashionable to dress for winter and wear layers and all of that, but I am not one of those — I am the type who hates wearing a salwar kameez because it has too much fabric and too many layers. So when I am forced to wear more fabric than necessary to keep myself warm, it irks me.
And to think that just over a year ago, I would have done anything to have an office AC that actually cools. Yes, I was then in a space called Man’s World, where one felt one had to go through a steady state of disrobing so as to not roast. Had the AC been fixed, and had there been a unisex loo in place, I would have probably never made it to this paper.
I have come to realise that when it comes to the work place, there are only two options. Either you shrivel or you stew. There is no such thing as an office with optimum temperature. Let’s not even go to food, recreation and other frills.
A few years prior, I was in a robot land called Tata Interactive, which was a space inhabited by Neanderthals with varying winter wardrobes..from the very gauche to the very galactic. And when it came to a contest for cooling needs, somehow, the “server” always won, even though most of our window displays always showed that the “server was down” or some such.
Somehow, I have always been lucky with houses, which is why going back home is always a more pleasant experience than going to work. Of course, staying in the car is the best of all.
If only HR personnel knew that the one way to make sure people stay in their jobs for ever and ever is by offering them the right food and the right temperature. Like animals, human beings also like to nest when the conditions are optimum. It doesn’t take too many workshops to figure that out. Till today, the office where I have had the longest innings has been the one with optimum cooling and happy canteen boys. That’s all it takes, future employers please pay attention.
My friend Anita, who lives in New York has an interesting theory — work is not a natural state to be — like eating or sleeping, or being in love, or getting married. We work because we have to, but we eat and sleep because we love to. Sometimes we work because it is the only way we can do the rest of the stuff. So in that sense, work contradicts our natural state of being. And working in the cold aggravates it even further. Ever wonder why those posh offices with snazzy ACs and vending machines that spew it all have such a high turnover of people? Well, it’s just too cold for comfort.