The coronavirus pandemic is forcing all of us to rethink the way we live and work. Odds are right now you are self-isolated, quarantined or sheltered in place. This is likely to be the case for the coming weeks or even months. The fortunate among us have the opportunity to continue our work while hunkered down at home. How should we organize and comport ourselves as we work during these troubled times?
Nothing is more important than family and close friends. By definition, family is job #1. Start your day by ensuring that your family’s needs are addressed. Pay special attention to the needs of your children, elderly parents, and others with special needs. Plan your meals. Go out to get groceries as required. Schedule time to be with family and break frequently to connect. Make sure they understand that you need to work and you need their cooperation.
To the extent possible you should isolate yourself while working. The ideal situation is a home office. If that is not practical, some small piece of real estate in your home should be designated as your workspace. This is where you will keep your laptop computer, telephone, files, reference books and other materials needed to conduct your work. If you can’t close the door, everyone, even small children, must understand that this is your space and everything in it is out of bounds while you are are working.
Practice Good Hygiene
In addition to good physical hygiene such as washing your hands or wiping down surfaces frequently, you should also practice good technical hygiene. Make sure that:
• Your laptop and other devices have up-to-date malware protection.
• Your software is updated automatically.
• You have installed a firewall and only use secure channels for communication.
• Your passwords and authentication tokens are protected.
• You log off and lock your devices when you break or at end of the day.
• You securely destroy any paper or electronic media that is no longer required for your work.
• You are on the alert to phishing and other social engineering scams. There are bad guys out there who will take advantage of these tragic circumstances.
Look After Yourself
Family and work are important, but we must also look after ourselves making sure that we have plenty of sleep, good nutrition and exercise. It’s also very possible that you yourself will succumb to the coronavirus. If you get ill, follow the instructions of your local public health authority. Graciously accept the help of family and friends, taking care to avoid passing the infection onto them. When comes to your health and well-being, a little selfishness is okay. If you look after yourself, you will be better able to help those you love.