The coronavirus is causing worldwide panic – and making millions into remote workers as companies try to contain it. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced a global health emergency, stock markets are crashing, and tens of millions of people are in lockdown.
The virus (also known as COVID-19) is affecting people all over the world in different degrees, from the closure of schools to a shortage of toilet paper.
Today we dive into how the coronavirus is affecting our way of working. In addition to absolute musts for working from home, we’ll unveil how the coronavirus will change how we work forever.
Remote Workers and the Coronavirus
Local authorities are urging businesses and institutions around the world to initiate contingency plans, such as asking people to stay home and halting unnecessary travel. Companies from Wuhan to Silicon Valley to Milan’s fashion district are altering their business practices as the mortality rate of the virus inches higher.
As the coronavirus sweeps the world, more people will become remote workers either as a precaution or to follow lockdown procedure, and many may stay working like this long after the virus has been contained.
How To Stay Productive Without Your Office
Choose the right technology
Slack, Zoom, Skype or Hangouts? There is a bounty of excellent tools out there to help you stay in touch and collaborate with distant colleagues. Choose the tools that work best for you. Do you need to share screens or just instant messages?
Selecting the right software early and getting everyone on board will save time and resources later as isolation likely increases. Depending on the size of your company, cost may play a role as well. Tools like Airtable and Zoom have amazing features, but can have hidden costs for additional team members and functions.
Know How to Treat Data
Check with your IT department about where and when you should be saving data to an external server. You may not have access to your regular work servers from home. Get informed on the right process early to avoid any heartache later. If your company doesn’t have a remote work culture it may take some time to figure out new processes and procedures. Stay patient – everyone is in the same boat! Get a work buddy.
Remote workers don’t have to be lonely. Break your office down into smaller teams that will act as social and moral motivators. Set daily check-in times with each other to chat about life, your health and share tips for recipes for instant noodles.
Keep Your Work Routine
Get up, shower, and prepare for your workday like you are heading for the office. Try and keep your work routine as close to the same as possible. This will help you keep up work productivity and motivation. Don’t let your work hours slip too much from their regular time.
Dedicate a Working Space
Find a place in your apartment or house for working. If possible choose a place out of the bedroom and a spot where you can return to each day. Keeping your work and rest areas as separate as possible will reduce the temptation for long siestas. If your whole household is in lockdown you’ll need to work together to meet everyone’s needs. Perhaps you’ll need to create several work zones and swap between them to give everyone a turn at the prime desk space.
Methods for keeping fit while in lockdown are trending across the internet. From sprinting up stairwells to doing pushups with your children on your back, there are some ingenious fitness regimes out there. But Pan Shancu, from Hangzhou, near Shanghai, must take the crown, jogging 66 kilometers (41 miles) in a loop in his lounge room, in six hours, 41 minutes. Shancu says his running watch proves the fact and despite some initial dizziness the ultra-marathon was a breeze. Not all remote workers are going to want to run a marathon, but it’s critical to develop some sort of movement habit for both your body and your mind.
The Gig Economy Meets the Coronavirus
Unfortunately, not all jobs are so easily done by remote workers. Construction workers, retail, teachers, medical workers, and many more professions are in really tough positions as they grapple with how to deal with the crisis.
Multitudes of jobs can’t be easily transferred to home-based work, and many people will face financial insecurity if they are forced to stay home from work. If you are lucky enough to have a contract, check-in with HR about your rights to compensation and if there are options for you to continue work tasks from home.
Casual and zero-hour contract workers will face extreme uncertainty if lockdown and travel restrictions apply. Drivers for Uber and Lyft are petitioning the companies to offer sick-leave to drivers who may contract the virus. Uber may experience a boom in areas not affected by the lockdown, as people avoid public transport and order food via UberEats, but only time will tell.
If you are a worker in the gig-economy, the best bet is to rally together with your fellow workers. Stay informed of your rights and stay healthy. If possible look for alternative work online.
Learning from the Coronavirus
The full effects of COVID-19 are yet to be realized. In the next few months nurses, doctors and hospital staff face a momentous task treating patients. Researchers from around the world are collaborating to find a cure. What will we learn from the disease?
The Economy Will Suffer
The economic impact of the coronavirus is not yet known, but it will be large and have trickle-down effects for a long time. The Brookings Institute suggests that the loss of real GDP compared to global predictions for 2020 without the virus is approximately $US2.3 trillion for the world. This number could rise if the severity and spread of the disease continues.
Remote Workers Will Increase in Number
The coronavirus will increase the number of remote workers. It won’t only be office workers who will reduce office hours, but therapists, teachers, and even retail will embrace the digital.
Looking Out Despite Being In
Extended periods of isolation sets up the premise of looking rather than out. But now is the time to scrutinize the construction of our societies and make changes. Isolation is easy for middle and upper classes, who are inside with WiFi, controlled temperatures and gadgets, but those already living under precarious conditions face a much tougher challenge. Be empathetic, think outside your social circles and be generous when you can.
Our Cities Will Grow More Self-sufficient
Once the crisis softens, cities will re-group and examine ways to become more self-sufficient. Water, food, and trade infrastructure will no doubt get a big shakeup. Expect to see a spike in these industries once the crisis subsides.
Have you become a remote worker due to the coronavirus? We’d love to hear your tips about working from home or ways to survive lockdown. Comment below, send us an email or find us on LinkedIn. Find our list of best remote jobs here and keep up to date with the virus via the WHO.