Ready for the new norm — Stay at home all the time?

The COVID-19 is just like a train, starts slow, accelerate more and more, then suddenly hits the top speed — the BOOM point which is the national level emergency! It happened in China, repeated in South Korea, Italy, Iran, Japan and now US. In a blink of couple of days in last week, most of the high tech workers in Silicon Valley asked or strongly recommended by their employers to Work From Home(WFH), and lots of schools chose or forced to be closed (both my 7th grader and high schooler daughters are now study at home).

First, I want to recommend today’s briefing press conference by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, it was a great example with the right tone, highly informative, clear recap of what happened, what’s happening and what will be needed for the next step. Key take away, the current phase in US is to “Slow down the spread” to help health care system to be more ready and avoid overwhelming vis “Social Distancing”

WFH is not new to lots of knowledge workers all over the world represented by the high tech industry. I myself had been averagely WFH 2~3 times a month so far. While AWFH(Always WFH)is totally new to almost every one since it’s not optional choice any more, it’s the ONLY option for the foreseeable weeks and months.

Pros:
1. Save avg. 1~2 hour commuting time every day!
2. Save time to find, book and move to the meeting rooms (avg. takes ~3min/mtg) since now everyone has our dedicated mtg room, the HOME!
3. No distractions by colleagues nearby (chatter, keyboard typing, shoulder tap)
Cons:
1. Collaboration quality: No in-person chat, discussion, white-boarding
2. Collaboration opportunity: No unplanned collaboration — hallway chat etc.
3. Self distraction: You can do whatever you want as long as NOT in a video conference call.

ASFH(Always Study From Home) is similarly NEW to most kids were going to schools (except home schoolers), my girls were excited for the first two days, now they say they missed the feeling in the school mostly because they miss the physical in-person social experience which is more needed at their age than adults, I think.

While since most of us have no choice BUT WFH/SFH for the next couple of weeks/months, here are some of my ideas to make the most out this very uniquely challenging time:

  1. Read MORE: “Reuse” the saved commuting time on readings, do NOT watch more Netflix/YouTube(Except educational content).
  2. Learn a new skill: Based on your interest, you can learn a new board game like myself, started playing western Chess with my kids, pretty fun and intellectually interesting! Other things like juggling, drawing, painting, singing etc.
  3. Home DIY projects: Since you will mainly stay at home, why not spend some time to implement the DIY ideas you already had for a while like paint your garage to a different color:)
  4. Write MORE: Organize and publish your ideas/thoughts on Medium or Quora etc.

The key idea here is “Keep yourself busy on meaningful things” while you stay at home all the time.

Last but not least, share a highly controversial video from a London based famous YouTuber Brian Rose about his view on the future of this virus and what “leaders” should do now. I am not convinced, while believe more different and diverse thinkings is always a good thing.

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Tommy Kan

A lifelong learner and explorer! Grew up in Asia, now enjoying the dynamism of Silicon Valley in the sunny California.