These are surreal times we live in. The lethal COVID19 strain of the Corona virus is officially a Pandemic, and we quickly realized how fast such a thing can spread in this era of Globalization. With the virus pandemic also arrives a pandemic of blog posts and social network noise. Everyone’s writing and talking about this topic. So, I guess I must too.
As I write this, our country’s Ministry of Health has issued an official statement telling everyone to stay at home (unless they really really have to go outside – like go buy groceries or pharmaceuticals). Anyone who can do so, is now #WFH (Working From Home). Those that work in jobs that cannot be done remotely, were told to reduce their work capacity to 70% or lower. Children are not allowed in schools or kindergartens. Any sort of gatherings are forbidden. We were even told to travel in elevators one at a time! Goods are becoming scarce. People are walking around with masks and latex gloves. The streets are mostly empty. Animals are roaming free and wild. Weeds and vines are covering the roads and buildings. Vampire zombies are lurking in the shadows. Cthulu is splashing around on the beach… You get the idea.
I mean, yeah, it’s not actually that bad. But it’s definitely far from the everyday experience we’ve been accustomed to till now.
We at Madeira Data Solutions are already quite experienced with working remotely (as probably anyone working in a consulting firm, I imagine). But now it’s 100% remote work – no exceptions. So it’s #WFH to the max!
How do we do it?
In these dire times of forced separation, we surprisingly find ourselves feeling closer to each other, thanks to video conference apps such as Zoom, Slack and Teams.
One thing I can’t stress enough is the importance of face-time. You make good use of that webcam! Don’t worry about your children wrecking havoc in the background and how your ruffled-up hair and shabby clothes make you look un-photogenic! On the contrary! Your peers will easily appreciate the fact that we’re all in the same boat and suffering from the same hardships. And sure – it’ll break your concentration sometimes – but there’s nothing like a cute little toddler going goo-goo-ga-ga or a teenager making stupid faces to break the ice and provide some much-needed comic relief for your colleagues.
But the children! What about the children?!
I can only speak for myself, though I find myself in a peculiar spot of both an advantage and a disadvantage.
You see, I have two little kids. Two boys, the oldest is about 3.5 years old and the youngest is almost 2 years old. That’s tough, folks. Really tough. These are very difficult ages to manage. These kids require constant attention, entertainment and overall care.
But luckily, my wife is actually a lead kindergarten teacher with a lot of experience with such age groups. So, you could definitely say that our starting point is miles ahead of most people. As I keep telling my wife – I made the right choice by marrying her!
Since schools and kindergartens are closed, my wife doesn’t have too much to do. So she’s able to utilize that time to keep our own children busy, entertained and educated. We’re working together (mostly her, though) on constructing daily routines that would have a chance of working out in the long-term, because we can’t really know how long this situation will last. We even found several “online kindergartens” where nice kindergarten teachers broadcast story times for the kids at home.
Unfortunately, we don’t have a proper workspace in our home for me to work in. So, I’m actually sitting in the living room, while everyone else is running around in the same general space. Not an easy task, obviously. But let me tell you – a good pair of headphones, and a dedicated significant-other can go a long way! Oh, and a lot of patience, too.
No dystopian survival show is complete without scavenging parties, periodically leaving the hide-out to gather goods and valuable resources! Naturally, I’m the one who got “voluntold” to be the scavenger party of one. Tasked with periodically going out to buy critical groceries, pharmaceuticals, and throwing out the trash.
Let me tell ya, it ain’t a pretty sight out there.
People walking around with masks and latex gloves, animals roaming in the streets and – oh wait, I already covered that. That Cthulu guy is still hogging the beach, though. Damn bastard.
Anyways, based on what I hear from medical sources, the masks are not much of a help for the (yet) un-infected, and may even be doing more harm than good. Latex gloves may be more useful, but it’ll be very difficult to use them carefully while I’m carrying around a cellular phone that’s later to be coming with me back to the hide-out and spend half its time attached to my bare face and hands. Kind of a critical vulnerability there.
So what I end up doing is rushing back home and immediately washing my hands and face thoroughly with soap for 20 seconds, and then spraying some disinfectant on my cellphone and wipe it with a cloth. I feel like this isn’t quite the most optimal method of operations, but we’re still working it out.
Look, folks… I know the situation seems dire, but hear me out: We can make it. We’ll push through. Decades of technological advancements dedicated to turning us into anti-social screen-junkies have prepared us for this! And I bet much more technological innovations will be coming towards us in this #WFH frenzy.
As long as we remain careful, mindful, and connected to our VPN, we’ll be fine.
Well, I mean, I hope.