I started my career as an intern in the year 2020 at Leapfrog Technology. Needless to say, I was fortunate to secure a job in such a difficult year.
Leapfrog moved to remote work in early 2020, so my career began five feet away from my bed, on the desk I had known for what looks like an eternity. I know, not what the fresh graduate expects. But it has actually been immensely comforting.
Work from home implied spending nine working hours in front of a laptop communicating via texts or calls and collaborating with my team members to do the job. I recall my first day in Leapfrog. It began with the HR Onboarding session, which took place over the zoom call. Ever since, Zoom, Google Meet, and Slack have been my go-to for all kinds of communication with my colleagues.
Six months later, I spend at least a few hours on virtual calls daily. I was bound to pick up a few new habits. In addition to memorizing 52 different spreadsheet titles, confidently asking for things with people I have never met, and never worrying about makeup before work calls, I have also added a bunch of interesting new phrases to my overcrowding brain.
I am sure I am not the only one who has frequently used these phrases in the past few months. If you have been working from home, you must have used at least one of these.
Most used phrases while working from home.
Hello? Can you hear me?
*After doing literally nothing*
Can you hear me now?
Pandemic or No pandemic, “Hello” was the universal ice breaker for any call. However, this year, it was a little different. A questionable “Hello” is followed by “Can you hear me?” “How about now?”
Let me try my headphones.
We have attended many virtual meetings and calls this year, and we are overly confident that if someone can’t hear us correctly, it’s definitely because we haven’t plugged in my earphones. In addition, we must make sure the callers know we are about to plug in our headphones; hence, “Let me try my headphones.”
Ok, so, lemme share my screen.
Can everyone see my screen?
We have certainly been in this situation where we all had to share screens for a presentation or to show what we are working on. In my opinion, the screen sharing method is pretty standard all over the world. It starts by letting everyone know that we are sharing the computer screen. And then asking everyone, “Can you see my screen?”
Are you free for a quick call?
Communication is crucial for any work; there is no doubt about it. And calls are obviously more efficient than texts. But “Are you free for a quick call” is the ultimate clickbait. Because we pretend to be free, and those calls are never quick.
Can you send me a link to the…doc?
Remember back in the day, when we had stacks of papers, and the important documents would always be misplaced? And, we would ask our colleagues to help us find it? Yeah, me neither, I am too young for that.
But, fast forward to 2020, did anything really change? The only difference is that now we have a bunch of documents in our cloud, and we are still asking our colleagues to send us the link.
Why would anyone take the trouble of digging through the cloud for one document, right?
I’m on a call
Almost every article related to ‘work from home’ tells us to set up boundaries so that no one can disturb us while we are working. We all know that’s easier said than done because it just so happens that our families love to see what we are doing when we are busy. We have to secretly give them the eye gesture or point to the screen and whisper, “I’m on a call.”
My connection is low. Electricity cut off.
You lost your internet connection. Trying to reconnect…
Sorry, we couldn’t connect you.
You’ve never really worked from home until you’ve seen these messages displaying on your screen. Sometimes it’s a relief to sneak a break in between meetings. But then, let’s also not forget those mini heart attacks we get when the connection gets cut off during an important meeting.
We quickly turn on mobile data, re-join the meeting, apologize, and pray that it doesn’t happen again.
You’re on mute
When we are on a call, we naturally expect the conversation to go both ways. When we ask a question, we expect an answer. But there are moments when our questions go unanswered.
We sit there and wonder if something went wrong with the connection, if they’ve heard us, or if they’ve understood the question. Millions of thoughts come running, time goes by, and we fall deeper into despair. Maybe not THAT dramatic, but you get the point.
Until we finally recheck our call screen, and we say, “You’re on mute.”
Please turn on your video camera.
Why does “please turn on your video camera” feel like a surprise test our teachers used to reveal during school days? Because we are always unprepared for these to happen? We quickly try to make do with what we have. Like throwing a coat on top of our t-shirt and making sure the camera is balanced in such a way that nobody knows we haven’t had human interactions in days.
Please mute yourself if you’re not talking.
We have often said, “Please mute yourself if you’re not talking.” We all know it’s a polite way of saying someone is interrupting us. Sound of construction, dogs barking, airplanes flying, cars passing by, children screaming, we have heard it all as we try to hold a QUICK and peaceful meeting.
Work From home certainly has its perks, but I think I speak for everyone when I say we can’t wait for things to go back as they used to be. I am looking forward to more social interactions where I can talk about getting coffees, going to movies, or just staying home as a luxury as opposed to being confined in it. There is news of the Covid-19 vaccine now, and I am hopeful for a brighter day.
Until everything goes back to normal, I will continue working from home, and hopefully, come up with a new round of slang and lingos that we can all look back on and laugh at.