For those of you who were around for 911, H1N1 or the Ebola Virus scare, the need to stand in place was critical to survival. Covid-19 will be remembered because its changing the way people carry on their day to day tasks and the way they interact with other humans. It is likely this virus will change the way we do things for now and forever. Social distancing is the new terminology that means no handshaking and avoiding public places and contact in general.
Remote work has been a part of the global workday for decades, but the Coronavirus will likely make the home office, and remote productivity, the norm versus the exception. It’s silly to take a subway to sit at a desk to prove you are working, and cutting back on wasted efforts is highlighted during times of crisis. The emphasis will shift so we don’t overload our hospitals as the demand cycle for hospital visits skyrockets.
Driving and taking public transportation should not be a prerequisite to job performance anyway. New age managers and C-Level executives never question their stars on where or how they work; They have not asked that question for a decade. The world has been run from the laptop for many years but more will leave the office environment than in previous cycles, simply because remote technology has improved where throughput is seamless.
Travel for Spring Break in March and hanging at a Miami Airport to go to the beach for a week is the same risk level as getting a job as a busboy on a Cruise-ship. The CDC is suggesting staying at home as Corporate America cancels business travel and sporting events are forced into critical decisions. Getting on an airplane or heading to Times Square is about the highest risk to be taken right now. It better be worth it. Keeping in mind the absence of an octogenarian greeting with hand shake at Walmart, and a list is born of things not to do in Q1 2020. We are in a unique changing time where our social morays are dictated by fear. Certainly this will have a ripple effect on our economy as airlines and other compact public places absorb the loss of income from the health risk averse.
The best thing to do is re-tile the basement, and dig deep into Netflix, and reintroduce one’s self to their family. The main point is, just stay home, remain in place, hunker down and stay out of high traffic places until this wave passes. This is an event where every person on the planet will later recall what they were doing in March 2020, during the Coronavirus crisis.
Developing a productive work space will be critical for those new to a fully remote environment. No babysitting, dog walking, or re-runs of 80’s movies. A remote place undisturbed is part of the new lexicon leaving the Starbucks era in its wake.
Settle in and take the time to create an indoor herb garden, or remodel the upstairs loft that has been sitting, and start thinking about that 1950’s Bomb shelter that doesn’t seem so off the wall right now. The real danger of the Coronavirus is with the elderly, and for those who have health issues as the world waits for a cure or the ability to curb the spread of the virus.
In the meantime, we will be watching the onslaught of social media, which is spreading the fear of the virus versus reality, faster than the corona virus itself. Work from home, stay out of the airports and enact some ‘staycation’ time and let the wave of fear pass over. This is what people did during 911, H1N1, Ebola, and other previous panicked eras, but with one new addition: There is a new term for the Instagram crowd, called ‘social distancing‘, or ‘social distance‘. One is a practice and the latter a proclamation.