The #NewNormal of COVID-19 in the News

by PlaceLabMar 24th, 2020

In just a few weeks, a lot has changed for all of us. Many of us are working from home and connecting with our colleagues in new ways, muddling through as we juggle the technicalities of home video meetings, and, for example, the demands of homeschooling (more on that to come). Others are wondering and worrying about the small and profound impacts on their businesses of all sizes. When anxiety takes over, it’s also important to remember that you don’t have to work all the time, and that historically, times like these have also yielded new innovations. Here’s a roundup of recent stories from around the media to help you through this time. 

On Working From Home…

New York Times: Logged On From the Laundry Room: How the C.E.O.s of Google, Pfizer and Slack Work From Home

Gone are the chauffered SUVs and private jets. Executives are working from home and online. Those who run video conferencing companies are seeing a spike in demand. These CEOs are deploying teams to meet customer demands, but they are also trying to be realistic. “None of this technology was designed to support the entire world working from home,” said Chuck Robbins, the CEO of Cisco. “The Webex teams haven’t slept in days.”

Fast Company: Working from home is great for diversity. Let’s keep it going

Remote work can improve a company’s diversity in many ways. In terms of gender, flexible and remote work can help women transition back to their careers after they have a baby. Remote work positions are more appealing to people with disabilities that affect their mobility. And it  allows companies to recruit talent from diverse cultural populations outside of their physical locations. 

Business Insider: Here's exactly how to thrive as a remote worker in the days of coronavirus

If your employer has unexpectedly shut down, you may feel lost navigating remote work. This article supports workers in managing an abrupt shift, the best tools for remote teams, gadgets to boost productivity and tips for improving communication between co-workers.

The Washington Post: The most maddening part about working from home: video conferences

In living rooms across the country, people are adjusting to on-line meetings. For many, that inevitably means new technology and dial-in hurdles, not to mention having to be home office camera ready. This article offers tips for canceling out background noise, pop up notifications -- and lightening tips! 

Slate: You Don’t Have to Work All the Time Now

Just because your laptops are now the center of your work life at home - and possibly your kitchen table - this doesn’t mean you should be available to your managers 24/7. In fact, employers need to allow for the opposite: maximum flexibility in difficult times.

The Washington Post: During a pandemic, Isaac Newton had to work from home, too. He used the time wisely.

Isaac Newton was in his early 20s when the Great Plague of London hit. Without his professors to guide him, Newton apparently thrived, later calling the time his annus mirabilis, the “year of wonders.” He solved mathematical problems that became early calculus, developed his theories on optics, and got bonked on the head by a falling apple that helped him hypothesize about gravity. 

On Technology Impact...

New York Times: So We’re Working From Home. Can the Internet Handle It?

The shift to working from home will test internet networks like never before because in the best of times the infrastructure is only used to peak activity at specific times of day, like the evening. Luckily, many of the network providers are trying to get ahead by offering upgrades and lifting data caps.

Market Watch: Opinion: Work-from-home tech stocks — the next big thing, or shiny new object?

In the time of COVID-19, technologies that allow for virtual meetings, community gatherings, and remote productivity are having a renaissance. If the influence of this unprecedented time of virtual living is here to stay, does that mean that technologies like Zoom, Slack, and other productivity tools will be good long term investments?  

The Hill: Hackers find new target as Americans work from home during outbreak

There is increasing concern that hackers could prey on individuals who are working outside of secure office environments. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recommended that organizations consistently update and patch their systems and be transparent with employees about the dangers of malicious emails, particularly those that use coronavirus fears to tempt individuals to click on them and download computer viruses. 

On CRE Business Impact…

Globest: Real Estate Owners Retrofit Buildings For Longevity Amid Coronavirus

As the country’s workforce is sent to work from home, landlords are now rethinking how to add value to their properties in order to attract tenants in the future. “We’re having the most incredible scientific test group of remote working, “ said Michael Moran, chief sustainability and risk officer at technology firm Microshare. “Take this time to look at facilities and install some equipment. You can change the way buildings work and tenant-staff experience them. When tenants come back they’re going to need to feel like its a safe place to be.”

Curbed: What the 1918 Pandemic Can Teach Cities About Public Spaces Today

The world is entering uncharted territory as work, school and our social lives all converge and go virtual. A physician during the 1918 flu pandemic, of the era, George Price, famously called influenza a “destroyer and teacher.” Looking back at this era of closures, isolation, and public health campaigns offers some relevant lessons, and some reassurances, about the course the nation is on right now. 

The Real Deal: A note to the real estate industry on the Coronavirus

The Real Deal is looking to get granular, with coverage ranging from how office landlords are keeping tenants safe to what safety nets exist for struggling retailers. They are launching a weekly webinar series called TRD Talks Live, where they will host industry leaders via video conference.