Folk Chronicles

Who could’ve guessed that even a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, we would be pulled out from our offices and be thrust back into ‘Work From Home’ yet again. After the first wave, we thought the worst was behind us; that we had weathered the storm and come out stronger on the other side. The second wave hit us like a ton of bricks, and we were all caught off-guard by the sheer abruptness of how the tides changed. 

For the members of the Folk team, things were going great…until they weren’t. One minute we were all “head down, bum up” on the hundred different projects we had going on and the next, we were having serious discussions on how we would navigate WFH again. While some of us had done it before, others were new to it and didn’t know what to expect.

A few weeks have passed now, and we are slowly getting into the groove of things. But for us, there’s no place quite like Folk. Since we know that everyone out there is also going through a similar experience, some of us decided to pen our thoughts on all the things that we miss and everything that we look forward to once things start to normalize. So, here’s a piece of our hearts for you to read and hopefully, relate to!
“It’s the same kind of feelings that one goes through when you fall into an air-pocket while travelling to your favourite destination…it’s a feeling that’s really hard to describe in words. 

The daily routine of designing, rolling of the ongoing work, setting dead lines, working closely with the work force, the actual presence of people, the crisp sound of scissors cutting through paper and fabrics, the clicking (chaka-chaka) sound of the needles piercing though the fabrics, and the gentle humming of the machines, brings a different kind satisfaction. I miss constantly being on my toes and the hustle of trying to make everything perfect. I miss my 1-on-1 conversations with our CEO, her guidance, the regular pow-wows with the team, and our fun coffee breaks. One instance that really touched me was the last day before the lockdown where all the staff with who I closely work had misty eyes as they told me how much they would miss me, my appreciations, my scolding, my warmth, my ideas. Everything. And that’s when I realised that it’s not just a company, it’s a family and I really mean it. 

But like the famous saying goes, “The hardest climb sees the most splendid view”. Wishing everyone a very safe stay and I can’t wait to see the “yellow door” of Folk that ushered me with open arms every morning.”
“What I miss the most about Folk is the environment which drove me to be productive and allowed me to relax at the same time. It’s a strange combination, I know! Sitting at home, working alone – it’s pretty boring to be honest. Back in the office, if I ever ran into a wall while working on a project, the entire team would come together to brainstorm, and we would always figure it out. 

We still try to communicate as much as possible and make it work even though we’re all stuck in different places, but it’s not nearly as fun as it used to be. And of course, how can I not miss our 4pm coffee breaks! Even the playful bickering over who would be the lucky one to get more sugar in their coffee is something I wish I could go back to now. 

I just hope that we can all come out safely from this lockdown and get back to our office asap because even though it’s been just a few days, WFH is really not my cup of tea!!”
“I think I started missing the office and everyone there even before I stepped out of Folk’s iconic Jute slippers on our last day. The sinking feeling of not knowing when we’ll be able to see each other again (in person!) was overwhelming. I know I’m making it sound so dramatic like it’s some thing out of a movie with a slo-mo exit and sad background music, but there’s no other way to explain it. 

And this is coming from someone who spent their entire internship with Folk working from home happily! But after having experienced the office culture at Folk, it all feels so mundane now – work, coffee breaks, lunch breaks, everything. 

Everything at Folk was so different and I think that’s what I miss the most. How the smallest, seemingly unimportant task was made 10 times more exciting by the simple fact that you were physically working with a team that share the same vision. Even though I’m working just as hard at home, if not harder and often way past office hours, and I know the rest of the team is also
giving their 110% to make it work – it’s just not the same. 

That’s the thing about working at Folk – it spoils you!
“Ever since the second wave has turned our lives upside-down, we’re all back in quarantine yet again! Stuck at home, I can’t help but feel the absence of the humorous and joke-throwing camaraderie back at the Folk HQ along with the passion towards work we all used to put together as a team. Oh, and definitely, those coffee breaks. 

Being a photographer, WFH is a real curveball for me for obvious reasons. But despite everything, I still try my best every day to contribute to the team in whichever capacity I can because, like they say, the show must go on. But all things said and done, I can’t wait to get back to the office and work with my team once the world finds comfort while stepping out of their doors.”
“So, the past week has been a mixed bag of emotions…it still is. Anxiety, uncertainty, doubt & uneasy morbid thoughts thanks to the precarious times we are living in. Honestly, the first few days were a relief from the daily struggle to get up on time, catch the train and be at work. 

But lately, I have no set routine and that's what I miss. At the office, to work amidst your colleagues, plus there is an urgency to every work which gives you the zeal. Now, it’s been a constant hustle of co-ordinating with everyone, arranging medicines and transportation to ensure safety, putting out unpredictable fires, and making sure things run smoothly for the whole team. 

Not to mention, getting orders delivered on time when you’re short-staffed and working from a distance is a real challenge! Here from home, I do the work nevertheless, but there's a lingering question - what next? How long this time?

Also, this lockdown system has reduced my attention span a lot! I never seem to complete a task before jumping to another.”
“Having a knack for creating and expressing myself through art, I have always loved to understand the process and the people behind a certain innovation. One of my first experiences of that was when I visited Folk. My mumma used to work there, and it was a routine to pick her up after my tuitions. While walking up the first flight of stairs at Folk, little did I know the beautiful yet chaotic processes that would unfold slowly. Each area was dedicated to an individual process and the energy flowed through the workshop as the workers were stitching, printing, and doing hundreds of other things, through different levels, through staircases and glass doors to finally come together as one creation in this collaborative workspace. 

One of my most prominent experiences was when I had spent a full day at Folk back when mom was working, from when it opened right to closing time. That day I interacted with a designer from NID who was sitting in the left corner office working on her huge Mac desktop with a setup that an aspiring designer could only dream of. Watching her and diving deep into the process of ideating and conceptualizing the story behind one small keychain, inspired me to take up design and actually learn it from the Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology.

And now, years later as I begin my stint at Folk as an intern, it seems like it’s all come back full circle!”

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