Work in the Time of Corona Virus

How is this crisis affecting your work? In my case, I already work remotely so my daily habits already contain a lot of “social distancing.”

But how about you? This topic is a place to describe how you or anyone else is affected by having to curtail physical contact in your work. Some work can’t be virtual. One friend is an electrician, another a barber. But others can adjust.

As a little experiment I put the question to my friends as to how they were coping, what they were doing differently, etc. and many are quite willing to share what it is like for them.


One friend of mine, a lawyer, writes, “I have a court hearing next week and do not know if that will take place and whether I will be able to obtain the signed Order from the judge. Although we have the ability to call in to a hearing (if the courts are open and people are working), I would have had to make arrangements in advance to have the court mail the filed court Order to me after the fact.”

I know another who has an art studio next door to the office where she works. She is trying to get her boss to let her strong an ethernet cable and a phone line across to the studio so she can work there.

Another mainly works remotely already, and her workplace has ordered everyone to only work from home until further notice. But she has two kids in primary school and they are on spring break right now. But they had the kids bring home all of their textbooks and workbooks with the idea that they would extend the spring break indefinitely, using the internet for live talk. But that requires a lot of adult supervision. So the big change for her is having to home-school her kids using the internet, while she does her own work using the 'net.

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I’ve always been a mostly remote worker, and while this can change, I find the disruption mostly affecting my community and friends - they reach out and it is scary to see how from one day to another you lose thousands of euros in activities you had planned for months.

Entrepreneurs might need to rethink entire business models - but I wonder: at what point you go into life changing decisions based on a crisis situation which can evolve in so many different ways? You can’t predict what will be in 3 months, so why make those decisions? My hypothesis is that it is a false comfort to our restless brains…

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Sort of an ad hoc scenario planning one does. What if X happens? What will I do? But it’s true, how can you know when it changes every day.

One of my friends makes Shopify sites for small businesses, usually retail, but other kinds too. She has just offered to put some businesses online and waive her usual fee for building it, just passing along the Shopify fee. This is a big act of kindness - she makes good money building these sits in normal times.


Affects me on 3 fronts actually, literally all of my activities in certain degree. Hotel chain for which I do audit has closed down mostly. Now I have to check periodically accountability does some adjustments and send few reports, which is 10 minutes of work so I am losing a lot of money there.

For my freelancer activities, all travelling cancelled and I can do very little from home…just draining money now so financially it’s challenging.
Invested in private property and hired 4 extra people in beginning of January and now economy is contracting so this is tough…

For my love, which is board games design and development, it has been hard hit too since all events are cancelled, crowdfunding fell by 40% in 10 days. Also it’s hard to do anything with board games since you can’t see other people :slight_smile:.

How I deal with it? I work a lot on game design, I design, craft, do graphic design parts, illustrations etc…keeping the creative side stimulated :slight_smile:.
I learn new things via online courses, invest in myself. I increased online presence in many ways, promotion wise it is very interesting now.
Entered contests for board game designers, I usually have no time for that :slight_smile:. Also designing few games I will offer to everyone as free, print and play games, which will be beneficial in long term and it is kind of a way to contribute to the community. They are especially solo games so people stuck at home can just print them and play with very basic components.

Also, looking for a way to port my game to an online platform which specialises in board games play. I will also give it for free to everyone…everyone has no choice but to be online now.


Hello John, thanks for starting this I found comforting to have some space for slow processing these times.

My main activities last year has been around teaching, both live (MICA - Maryland Institute College of Art) and remotely (Trust In Play - the European School of Urban Game Design), the latter changed not in the formal aspect but because our trainee are facing a lot of stress and they are vulnerable professional (freelancing, artist, and so on).

Teaching live will shift to remote teaching in the next month, my campus closed last week and we are now moving all the activities online.

A lot of my friends in Italy are experiencing some remote-working but also companies are asking them to use their paid leave and stay home.
So far a friend that is working in the food industry is still going to work, their company is going to be open through the crisis.

@jasen_lakic I’m really happy to hear that you work with games!
For this year Global game Jam together with a friend we had designed a board game and we were ready to pitch to a lot of publisher, but Unpub, one of the main fair for unpublished games as been canceled and we heard that everybody in the industry is really scared now. Board games are like the opposite of social distancing, 4 people around a table, touching and moving the same pieces :fearful:

I’m now slowing myself down, I wrote a daily routine and I’m trying to stick with it, plus I made a plan with projects and things that I want to do in the next six weeks, after doing this I felt really good, self-discipline helps me usually.

I’m also working in long term projects, so I agree with @noemi that is really hard to re-design in a daily changing reality, that’s why if I have to do it, I go usually with the worst scenario on the plate and then I design from that, (still so far I never considered really radical/survival scenarios.)


I’m currently kinda between jobs.
The current one is fairly smooth sailing remote work, and the potential one would be more physical and involve a) much more vis-a-vis biz dev, and b) me and family relocating internationally. Sooo, we’re kinda stuck with regard to putting a starting date on that position for example.

High level though I think there are a couple of interesting avenues to think through:

  1. What to do second and third order effects of the most affected (negatively and positively) sectors have locally?
  2. How long will this last, what is the “new normal” state of affairs? Does this shift more recognition to the criticality of domestic work? Is this going to significantly impact demographies? If yes, what to people do with newly inherited money?
  3. What does this do to cities, mobility, etc.?
  4. Did the remote work damn break for good now? If yes, what does “career ellbowing” look like in remote work?

Also: Hackathons and agile production (my kinda thing) might see a tide shift, but could also be a flash in the pan - much depends on the type of economic recovery (also interesting from a wellbeing, environment vs traditional growth perspective).


I always thought one of the best applications of VR (apart from teaching) could be remote work. I wonder is there something like that already developed or it is under development now, considering the new situation we find ourselves in.

It would be amazing to have a virtual company, with offices for meetings and all, built that we can use to interact on a more personal level (well more personal than what we get now), do even big conferences, workshops etc.
I really think there is a big opportunity there.

Yeah Unpub is amazing for that…I am mouthwatering when I see all awesome board game events across the pond :slight_smile:.

What kind of game is it? I am now finishing a game for a contest, it will be a very small pnp so you will be able to try it as well if you have a home printer and few random components from other games.

It’s just 1 A4 page to print for cards and 1 A4 page for reference sheets.
If you feel like having a space race, while avoiding space pirates and asteroid fields and trying to sabotage other space riders, let me know haha.

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I was thinking that if anyone is not losing from this crisis that would be the food industry - of course, those non-automated facilities and laborers might suffer due to some restrictions.

Yeah, I there are lots of interesting things happening on that front. I expect VR and telepresence bots to play a role on both sides.
But also quick targeted reactions in conference calls, or chats would be a significant step. Conceptually our digital coms are still miles away of what a expert communicator does unconsciously.


All good questions. I think the only accurate answers are “we don’t know.”

One beneficiary is the earth itself. Someone sent me a video today of dolphins swimming in the clear water canals of Venice. I saw a satellite view of China before and after showing CO2 in the atmosphere - the difference is stark.

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Just saw a post linking to this questionair for startups on how they deal with the crisis:

Do you think it might be a good idea to contact the person running the survey and let them know we are happy to run a similar survey for our international community and share what we learn with them?

I spend a lot of time with my new colleagues. They sleep most of the day, don’t get a lot of work done and keep hiding my equipment…


Already did so :slight_smile: asking the participants also to share stories

I am currently knee deep in the wirvsvirus hackathon in Germany. It is huge. I am wasted. @matthias

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