People aren’t losing their sense of humor during the coronavirus pandemic. Making the best out of these difficult times, they turn to social media to crack jokes about the outbreak time and time again.
However, one particular type of these gags deserves a separate mentioning. As many business owners and employees are forced to move their workspace to their homes, a new meme has emerged. Let's call it the 'Work At Home'. Creative, right? But don't be disappointed, the images are funnier than my writing, I promise.
Internet users are imagining how difficult it is for some professions to adapt to the new quarantine requirements, and the results are hilarious. From Uber drivers to archaeologists, these pictures perfectly highlight the (absurd) struggles of everyone trying to continue making a living in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Continue scrolling, check them out, and upvote your faves!
Nicholas Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford University, has written extensively about working from home throughout his career. Bloom has even conducted a two-year study of a major Chineses travel company that found working from home made employees more productive and less likely to quit.
"So what we did in China is we took 1,000 people, and we asked them who wanted to work from home, and only 500 of them volunteered — only half of the people up-front wanted to work from home," he told Vox. "And after the end of the experiment, of the 500 that worked from home, quite a few changed their minds, and I think about 30 opted to come back in. Working from home actually worked well for the employees in China who chose to work from home: They were 13 percent more productive, and the quit rates halved."
Now, however, with the coronavirus pandemic transforming office employees into remote workers, Bloom is less optimistic. "There’s a couple of stings in the tail I think really don’t work well for Covid-19," he said. "One is, all of these people in the China study volunteered to work from home, and they were doing an activity that was not team-based. They were booking telephone calls and speaking to people on the phone and doing data entry, so they don’t need to work with other people. Secondly, they were working from home four days a week, but critically, on the fifth day they were coming into the office, and that was good to keep them tethered to the workplace."
"So with Covid-19, you have a couple of things: One is there’s no choice. Everyone’s being forced to work from home, whereas in China, only half of people even wanted to do it. And the half that didn’t say it was very lonely and isolating. And then, finally, just the intensity. So I think coming in at least one day a week — but typically two or three — gets you connectivity to the workplace, helps with creativity. Most creativity is done in face-to-face environments. It encourages you to be ambitious and motivated. Full-time at home can be pretty miserable. Most people don’t enjoy it, you know, week in week out."
The expert predicts that, in general, productivity will be down dramatically. "I think even if this all returns to normal, there’s going to be a long-run cost. 2020 is going to be the year of lost innovation. If you look 10 years from now, there’s going to be a hole in new patents and new products and new ideas and great inventions that just didn’t happen in 2020, 2021. Think of scientists or engineers. How can they work properly at home? They’re being sent home, but I suspect they’re really not being very constructive."
According to Bloom, the main thing we all can do to counter this is to recreate social contact, ideally using video conferencing, two ways. "For example, the whole group can meet for a 30-minute video chat at 11:00 every day to catch-up on their personal situation, chat about the news or life in general — no work talk." For individual interactions, Bloom said that managers should aim to spend 10 minutes video-talking individually to each of their employees every morning and every afternoon. "This is time-consuming but critical for keeping employees happy and productive through the next few months."