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Some thoughts on telecommuting during a pandemic

Posted March 20, 2020 9:07 AM by M-ReeD
Pathfinder Tags: remote Telecommuting

Amid coronavirus fears, the number of people working from home this week multiplied, compounded, quadrupled — depending on where you read the news.

If nothing else comes of the world’s response to the handling of the pandemic, one thing is all but certain: there will likely be an increase in the number of people working from home, even after life returns to relative normal.

Workers from most industries can expect to spend the coming weeks working from the comfort of their homes, waiting out toilet paper shortages, school sanitation efforts and something called social distancing, which, as it turns out, I have been preparing for my entire life.

We are, folks, living in strange times, which makes me more than appreciative that I work for a company that ensures its employees have the ability to work from home — where for the next two plus weeks I can expect to experience cabin fever while arguing with my significant other and re-learning second grade math as our daughter weathers an unplanned and prolonged spring break.

And I welcome all of it, because I know this luxury is not afforded to everyone, particularly those in the service industry.

Stay healthy out there and let CR4 know how remote working, self-quarantining, social distancing or working on site amid the pandemic is going for you.

PS: Social distancing wise, I haven’t had to engage in the prolonged physical greetings family members and friends seem to typically enjoy. Instead I can awkwardly wave at them from no less than 6 feet away — just as I like it.

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#1

Re: Some thoughts on telecommuting during a pandemic

03/20/2020 8:01 PM

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the . . . . Pandemic.

People have re-discovered their families, friends, and neighbors.

I've noticed whole families out in the yard tending to the flower beds and gardens. Families out walking or riding their bicycles. With the kids out of school, at least for a couple of weeks and all the extra-curricular/sports activities that are canceled, families are whole again. Neighbors out on the sidewalks chatting. People checking in on elderly neighbors, running errands for them, helping with outside chores, etc.

It feels as though people are a community again.

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#6
In reply to #1

Re: Some thoughts on telecommuting during a pandemic

03/21/2020 7:30 AM

100% ironic I guess, and critical, I hope so for all of you!

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#2

Re: Some thoughts on telecommuting during a pandemic

03/20/2020 10:24 PM

For those of us in the company who cannot telecommute, beginning next week the "non-telecommuters" will be split between two shifts to reduce the workplace interaction and make the separation easier to implement.

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#16
In reply to #2

Re: Some thoughts on telecommuting during a pandemic

03/23/2020 12:09 PM

Same here. And we are moving some individuals' work stations to increase separation between us in design.

We supply to medical device manufacturers so a shut down is not likely.

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#3

Re: Some thoughts on telecommuting during a pandemic

03/20/2020 10:34 PM

My wife told me that she heard the divorce rates in China are going up because the husband and wife are together more now. Maybe they listened to whomever said that you should stay 6 feet away from your spouse. That has to be the worst advice ever conceived. It's sure to happen here too if people do that. I won't even mention Pamela Anderson's 12 day marriage.

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: Some thoughts on telecommuting during a pandemic

03/21/2020 6:23 AM

OR, possibly, a huge "pandemic" of new tax deductions just around Christmas or the beginning of the New Year.

TBC

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#15
In reply to #5

Re: Some thoughts on telecommuting during a pandemic

03/23/2020 11:39 AM

Yup

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#4

Re: Some thoughts on telecommuting during a pandemic

03/21/2020 2:38 AM

I am wondering whether in (around 9 months time) there will be a baby boom for those in imposed family lockdown!

There could also be a surge in inventive new children's names like "Corona" (sounds soft and petite) or "Covid" (sounds rugged and imposing) "Pandela" or maybe "Cabina" (reference to cabin fever) or any of another multitude of options.

Hey, is the toilet paper thing worldwide? Aus has seen shocking behaviour that is frankly embarrassing. The shortage is made worse by the shopping centre ordering. They have typically used toilet paper as the "filler" to complete the bulk for loads of freight. If they expedite a load of this alone, then the freight premium changes the whole cost structure.

I'm in "essential services" and we are currently deploying to have 100% capability to work off site. Even staff who do not have resources at home are being deployed to alternate sites on rotation, just in case our primary offices become contaminated.

Usually when I've worked off-site, it's been interstate or overseas. It will be a little strange to be less than 3 miles from the office and be expected to stay away for as long as this takes. A core group of us are being prepared for a 6 month stint of zero business contact as contingency for business continuity.

My challenge will be interacting with my staff while they are in multiple locations on a roster.

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#12
In reply to #4

Re: Some thoughts on telecommuting during a pandemic

03/21/2020 11:39 PM

Tissue paper issue... Is all around.

It make sense as a very cheap disposable cleaning cloth of multiple purpose but, stil, it does not justify the demand.

Here in Spain, ICT Iberica, an Italian/spanish tissue manufacturer, is shipping some 25 percent more than they normally do.

Mercadona markets ran out of stock while others like Aldi, being 200m away, had no issues at all, and same apply for food and beverages, even during the first week crazyness.

Maybe a marketing campaign of some retailers aided by masses psicology and "purchase frenzy"??

Paid shoppers to promote panic??..

Conspirationism and jetlag... What a pair!!

Cheers to all and, unless required, stay at home for a while....

"you, know i sat with my wife and, talking for a while, I found she is really nice"... ; )

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Some thoughts on telecommuting during a pandemic

03/22/2020 1:19 AM

My irony is that I'm around 600km from my wife and we'll be isolated for whatever duration the lockdowns/travel bans are and she has the credit card!

The craziness here cleared all supermarkets, even had city people arranging bus trips to country towns to clean them out. Next to run out was pasta and rice. Next to run out was "hard" vegetables like potatoes, pumpkin and such, then they hit the frozen produce.

The local whitegoods supplier has sold out of fridges and freezers (bought by domestic demand) and monitors (bought for people to work from home.)

What has me amazed is the petrol has not been hit at all and has even been discounted, but I understand that's a world supply/demand thing and people are travelling less.

Just been announced here that some states are closing their borders to anything but freight in 48 hours and they are previewing smaller local quarantine areas, more to protect vulnerable communities than to contain high infection zones.

I remember years ago, we used to make our own toilet tissue from recycled paper. Might need to start that process again and sell it from the front fence!!

Stay safe!

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#7

Re: Some thoughts on telecommuting during a pandemic

03/21/2020 10:01 AM

It seems probable that an awful lot of parents are discovering that "The teacher at school is NOT the problem".

TBC

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#8

Re: Some thoughts on telecommuting during a pandemic

03/21/2020 10:16 AM

I don't have the option of social distancing.

You can't sling a 10-tonne bridge crane from a great room cathedral ceiling, you can't run a welding machine off the clothes dryer circuit, and you sure can't work big steel on the dining room table. A lot of us have to live our lives "normally", in all respect to others, or face the bottom line truth that we and our workers either work or (financially) die. Do I like having to have my employees, myself, and by extension our families at greater risk? NO! BUT, I like the alternative a whole lot less.

Be safe, be well and be smart about your lives.

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#9

Re: Some thoughts on telecommuting during a pandemic

03/21/2020 1:16 PM

Looking at the second paragraph of the OP: we will also develop more and better techniques for working remotely.

I'm retired so this doesn't affect me as much as many of you--except the grocery store when the hoarders got there before me. A lot of my philosophy is to build up the immune system and then not to worry about it too much. Of course, much of the immune system building was done in childhood by playing outdoors barefooted, using sandboxes that the neighborhood cats have used for a litter box, etc, etc.

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#10

Re: Some thoughts on telecommuting during a pandemic

03/21/2020 10:10 PM

We've been having the same conversation, about what the world will look like post-pandemic. The environmental cost of commuting is high, and if working from home works out well in this context, it's an obvious win for those who can do it and be just as productive. Employees win by dropping those commute hours from their stress load. Company can downsize on office space and save cost. Everybody wins by cutting down on pollution. What's not to love about that.

Obviously does not work for everyone, nor for every industry. But a lot of companies that could have done this but were reluctant, will now have something on paper to show, what worked, what didn't. And some of the things that worked are going to stay that way.

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#11

Re: Some thoughts on telecommuting during a pandemic

03/21/2020 10:59 PM

It's funny that plants and animals can be held in quarantine, but people can not...maybe that perspective will change....I think humans deserve as much protection as plants and animals do....that certainly would be disruptive to tourism and business..., how could we screen people for disease in a short and inexpensive way...?

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Re: Some thoughts on telecommuting during a pandemic

03/22/2020 2:37 PM
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#17

Re: Some thoughts on telecommuting during a pandemic

03/26/2020 9:53 PM

This isn't the first time...I guy named Isaac was quarantined and accomplished quite a lot.

https://www.biography.com/news/isaac-newton-quarantine-plague-discoveries

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#18

Re: Some thoughts on telecommuting during a pandemic

05/03/2020 8:08 PM

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