The ever evolving dynamics of the world- workspaces included, means that trends and fads would emerge and come to be in a manner that regularly challenges these changing predicament of the times. More so in the past couple of couple years ever since the pandemic brought about a whirlwind ‘revelation’ in manners of working and existing, the nuances of the worldly way has been rather surprising in how they have struck. On one end of the spectrum is the constant tussle between employers and employees as continuation of an ‘age old’ issue; while the other side sees newer ‘revolts’ spring up as testimony to the adage of routine. And one particularly prevalent term that has been piquing interests occurs as an intriguing coming together of two universal workplace essentials- the definite love-hate relationship with with every cup of office coffee and the equally perplexing desirability or otherwise of recognition badges that employees and employers incredulously pursue.

Bred out of the brooding brewed by the inevitable call back to office after an unexpected, extended and ‘long due’ work-from-home experience, unwilling employees and workers everywhere have levelled it up to push back this timeline of having to return to the earlier mode of living. Armed with sufficient days and months- even some years of working evidence wherein productivity and performances- and profits as well- did not really see an impact spurred by the sudden change of working environment and set pattern of work, a part of the workforce was struck by serendipity as to how avoidable and essential the dreaded rituals of office commute and presenteeism were. Basking then in this ‘surreptitious’ freedom granted by force upon imposition of the WFH schedule, it was only natural that dread would descend upon those who have finally had their pleas heard and their ‘hardwork rewarded’- even when that meant the setting in of a frightening period of time that had virtually threatened the whole of humanity.

Types of work from home
Source: ITChronicles

But the threat thwarted and the minuscule virus finally resisted in its mega impact with the most maximal efforts by a race shocked to the core by a ruthless destruction of its worthless pride and it is time age for humans to submit themselves yet again to get grilled under the grind of mere existence. And thus there has been sounded this unwelcome call of a back to the office- quite some time back now but that which continues to resonate in much uneasiness even after some years in the passing. This uneasiness itself isn’t anything rather surprising or unanticipated but what has really struck is how even in having the upper hand as far as it goes in making decisions and announcing them, the higher authorities at workplaces haven’t quite managed to reset the office to exactly match its original ergonomics.

The resistance faced has been somewhat stiff and therefore pretty unpredictable as well. Because it isn’t just a blatant expression of dissatisfaction that has curated affairs following this obvious but unwanted mandatoriness called upon in obliging. Instead, the response(s) have been rather interesting to think about at least- even when they surely wouldn’t be easy to deal with by those concerned. While the mandate has by and large managed to found implementation, it is the measure and manner of its skillfully evasion that has once again brought focus back on the unchallengeable spirit of the human existence.

Return-to-office
Source: Fortune

The initial reactions to this turn of events in the professional world though cannot be ‘acclaimed’ as a singular emergence out of that happening. With the uncertainty of existence made even clearer by the mighty wrath of the coronavirus, a certain percentage of the world population had already chosen to finally spend the next ‘era’ of their lives doing what they really love and not exerting themselves to ends for a job that only brings the bucks.

Propelled by the unceremoniousness of a return to office warrant, a section of the other percentage too found themselves mustering courage to follow this now much followed but still unconventional path. And thus arose a revolution in response in which hordes and crowds of employees and workers till then stressed no end by the what-ifs of a jobless existence, found themselves pursuing that same exact reality but without the worries. Quiet Quitting is how it sounded, defining the spirit of their cohort who decided to not make any extra efforts whatsoever in earning brownie points from bosses- even when that meant self sabotaging their chances of promotion or even of retention altogether.

That quiet quitting paid off or not is a different discussion in itself but newer equations have continued to be devised and ingenious strategies constantly thrown open to counter this push back of the times. This is where the indispensable identities of coffees and badges have managed to find representation in this whole scheme of things, earning recognition as nothing but an extraordinarily ordinary phrasing of coffee badging.

coffee badging
Source: Mint

What coffee badging essentially is in its envisaging of being a way to come around the many return to office mandates is as simple as could be- employees indeed coming in to office but just for enough time to sip on their mandatory cuppa and stay long enough to get noticed by their employers while doing little or no official work whatsoever. Instead they return home and continue to turn on their work mode there and then and resolutely display their resolve to stick to the ‘new normal’- even when that might not be as true a case this time around. Building upon the overrated traditionality of presenteeism- that has still managed to find its dedicated legion of followers even across the changing understanding of what it means- or rather don’t, coffee badging is but a twerk that has been performed on the back of its own repute.

For physical presences to be valued so much at pretty much every institution of work that even renders the more pertinent requirement of productivity secondary, this reformulation of ideas and strategies and tactics only prove that the human spirit is indeed indomitable even when its body and form and existence can be manipulated by the tiniest of microbes and pathogens and microorganisms. And then they say that work kills! If only they knew, it has only made us stronger shrewder!

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