Working from Home – in Nepal
Work from Home (WFH) was new terminology for many Nepali people. I had never imagined that so many people in the world would have to adapt to WFH culture immediately after the COVID-19 outbreak. My office declared to continue the WFH policy when the countrywide lockdown came into effect on 24 March 2020. I recall the hard time that I experienced three years ago after returning from my years in Canada. At that time, I tried to explain to many Nepali organizations about the Work from Home model in North America. At that time, Work from Home culture was not so popular in Nepal.
When the lockdown was first announced, people were rushing for groceries and supplies. I was busy with my work responsibilities with the Australian Volunteers Program. We had to provide 24/7 welfare support to Australian volunteers in Nepal and instantly repatriate them to Australia. It was not easy. We were locked down in our homes. But finally, in two weeks, the volunteers were sent home safely.
“I had never imagined that so many people in the world would have to adapt to Work from Home culture immediately after the COVID-19 outbreak.”
Now it has been over seven months, and most of us are still working remotely. At first, I didn’t have my workspace at home and had to share space with my husband and son. It was very challenging for me to focus on. I missed my office, colleagues and workplace. But after several months of adjusting, I finally have a proper workplace at home. I also bought a new desk and chair. Now I am accustomed to working from my own home, and I am worried that I won’t adjust to my office again.
Like my work, my Dashain festival was also limited at home. During Dashain, people do lots of shopping, have gatherings and feasts, visit temples and their elders. However, this year I celebrated Dashain with my close family members. Most of the temples were closed. I did not go to markets. Even during this festival, the government continued the alternating day even/odd system for vehicles’ movement based on the vehicle’s license plate number. There were not any Dashain gatherings with friends and relatives.
These were big adjustments. It was uncomfortable for many of us, adopting these abrupt changes in our work and cultural practices.
Manisha Shrestha was born in Nepal. She has a master’s degree in geographic information science and worked in international development organizations for a decade before coming to Canada in 2013. She lived in Canmore, Alberta and worked for a community development program. In 2017, after her husband finished his Ph.D. research on glaciers in Canada, they returned to Nepal.
Manisha participated in The Shoe Project in Canmore twice. Here are her stories:
Art by Emily Honderich
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.