The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has a lot of people across the world frightened. And its starting to have an impact on the workplace. With millions of workers starting to take extra precautions to protect themselves from the flu-like virus, we are seeing more employers make small changes to protect the virus from spreading. Here are a few ways COVID-19 has impacted the workplace.
No more handshakes
In many cultures around the world, it’s common to greet each other with a handshake, hug, or other gesture. However, many people are now avoiding direct contact with each other to protect themselves from the virus. For example, a video went viral of the German Interior Minister denying to shake the hand of Chancellor Angela Merkel due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The Coronavirus has affected how we typically greet our clients, co-workers, and colleagues.
The WHO is also recommending several protective measures to avoid spreading the virus, including keeping a safe distance (at least 3 feet) from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
More liberal work from home policies
Many employers are encouraging their staff to work from home, especially if they aren’t feeling well. Companies across the world are closing their doors as a precaution to the virus. Microsoft is allowing many of its employees in Redmond and San Francisco to work from home unless it’s essential for their job to be at the office. After an employee went home sick with flu-like symptoms on Monday, Google’s European headquarters in Dublin is asking nearly 8,000 of its staff members to work remotely as a precaution. These are just two of many examples of companies encouraging their teams to work remotely.
Cancellations and teleconferencing
Dozens of events are being canceled, or members are pulling out of them as a result of COVID-19. Large annual events, many of which in the tech industry, are being canceled, postponed, or becoming virtual. Adobe Summit, Google Cloud Next, and Salesforce World Tour Sydney are all now online-only events. Large events like Mobile World Congress in Barcelona are being canceled this year. Japanese officials are so concerned about this virus that they are even discussing the possibility of postponing the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
In other words, many tradeshows and work events are being canceled to prevent the spreading of the virus. Luckily, with today’s technology, many of these critical events will live on in a new, virtual formation. And if these virtual events go well, they may move to an online format in the future, potentially increasing attendance and decreasing costs.
The Coronavirus is definitely alarming as we continue to learn more and evaluate the situation. But try not to worry too much about contracting the virus. The CDC’s number one preventative measure for protecting yourself from the Coronavirus is Keep calm and wash your hands.
Some things in your daily work life may change as a precaution, but ultimately, we’ll all be okay.