Coronavirus and new work terms to live

The COVID-19 crisis is enriching the office lingo

‘Vpning’ goes mainstream

When the lockdown happened, VPN got mainstream. In companies not entirely dependent on cloud platforms, VPN access to office resources and applications were being handed out to its employees, with an intensity paralleling relief packets being distributed to marooned flood-hit populations. Earlier, VPN access would be given as selectively as prescription drugs.

“Corporate firms that need to ensure confidentiality of customer data and security of information are encouraging the use of VPN among its employees. As a full fledged digital agency, we find it easy to work as all our customer data is on the cloud and current technologies offer extremely high levels of data security. Hence we have not felt the need for VPN. For large corporates, it makes sense for them to use as they need to comply with safety guidelines,” says Kiruba Shankar, social media entrepreneur on sudden rise of ‘vpning’ among office-speak lingo.

In the last few weeks, “vpning” is much-heard, and so are the names of tech-support guys who have to provide VPN access. Suddenly, they have become the lifeline to engagement and productivity. Their numbers got resaved with the status-enhancing prefix ICE – In Case of Emergency.

‘Client crisis’ gets new meaning

“Client Crisis” is a regular terminology, and companies are now reporting that due to the paralysis afflicting businesses on account of the COVID-19 situation, it is now assuming a more painful connotation.

Sorav Jain, CEO of echoVME, a digital marketing company, explains, “Now, in our company WhatsApp group, when one of the client managers keys in ‘client crisis’, everyone else will be all attention, focussed on finding out more, as ‘client crisis’ now signals more than just a regular process-oriented problem, easily solvable. It now means a client dropping out, as they don’t have the cash flow to continue an exercise.”

‘Forecussed’, now in focus

Work-from-home is now being happening in exceptional circumstances, in terms of scale and setting. The entire family is parked at home, and that is a recipe for confusion, nay chaos. During a video chat with a work associate via an application parked on a computer, it is extremely possible that one will be treated to a pageant of domestic scenes in the background.

“A study room is a luxury for a vast majority of the people. A CEO may have one where he can set up his home office and operate remotely. In contrast, an employee living in a single-bedroom flat, with their family may find it a challenge to keeping domestic scenes out of the screen, while being on a video-call with the line manager. The boundaries can easily get blurred,” says Ganesh Chella, a CEO coach.

So, these times call for being “forecussed”, which is about connecting with the colleague in the foreground, and filtering out what goes on in the background. People will have to get accustomed to the idea that there will be bawling in the background, or other disturbances, says Srikrishna Sridhar Murthy, co-founder and CEO, Sattva Consulting. “There is a two-year-old daughter at our home, and I understand this situation only too well,” adds Srikrishna.

‘COVID-19’ enters time sheet

Companies with a remote-working policy extend the option to an employee only for a set number days in a month. An employee can’t log in more days than what is specified for them. Now, with remote-working being the only option in many companies, especially those in the IT sector, the days outside regular remote-working days are said to have been accounted for by a reference to the current situation.

So, the extended OOO (Out of office) entries in employee time-sheets are said to have honourable mentions such as “Coronavirus”, “COVID-19” or “Lockdown”.

‘WFH squared’

With household help being ruled out due to the necessity of maintaining social distancing, remote-working professionals juggle two WFHs — “Work From Home” and “Work For Home”. “Now, grating the coconut and the next instant, proceeding to take a business call is the norm,” says Srikrishna Sridhar Murthy. So, ‘WFH squared’ it is.


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