What a long couple of weeks it has been. We’re all inundated with COVID-19 information all day long, and it can be hard to focus. We wanted to share the resources that have been helpful to our team as we shelter in place, keeping in touch as best we can.
(Photo credit: Edward Jenner)
The current CDC recommendations for slowing the spread of the coronavirus include staying home if possible, venturing out only to exercise locally and to shop for groceries and other necessary supplies. That’s left a lot of us scrambling to get up to speed on the technologies that help us stay in touch with our colleagues and loved ones.
CMX has compiled a comprehensive list of tips and tools for those organizing events both large and small. With the cancellation of huge events like SXSW and Google I/O, things are particularly uncertain for event planners, but the speed at which people are adapting to virtual events is encouraging.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (which, frankly, sounds pretty smart right now!) you can’t escape the constant talk of Zoom meetings, for work as well as family gatherings. We found this guidance for keeping your Zoom chats secure from Wired to be really helpful. They advise that “Zoom’s security is fine for most people” as long as you enable the waiting room and locked meetings features. (Editor’s note: On April 8th, Zoom rolled out security updates that turned on password protection and the Waiting Room feature by default.) They also provide information on alternatives like Facetime, Webex, Gotomeeting, and Slack.
If you have adopted videoconferencing for work, these etiquette tips, like limiting the number of your video calls and setting a firm agenda, will help make them go more smoothly. If you’re feeling self-conscious about all the face time, here’s some advice for looking your best on webcam. If you have adopted Zoom as your app of choice, have fun with these virtual backgrounds that range from pop culture kitsch to high architectural style.
If there’s any silver lining to all the uncertainty, it’s that we truly are all in this together. If your job has been impacted by COVID-19, Indeed.com has a list of resources to help you file for assistance and even search for remote work.
If there’s one thing that hasn’t been affected by social distancing, it’s the ability to keep in touch with your network. Fortune has four ideas to keep networking now, and The Muse offers some thoughts about how to pivot your job search during this pandemic, including brushing up your skills with free online courses like “MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), EdX classes, and free Microsoft training and tutorials. (Find more sites that offer online courses here.)” Masterclass is now offering deals on courses ranging from Business to Design to Science & Technology.
If you’ve been thinking about starting something new, Squarespace and Mailchimp are offering deals and advice for new small businesses. If you’re not sure where to begin, we updated our book Next for Me, A Guide to Change for Everybody with tips and exercises for anyone looking to start a new chapter in their career.
Dealing with Uncertainty
We know that anxiety is running high right now. We really appreciated the level-headed perspective of philosopher Alain de Botton, who spoke with How to Fail‘s Elizabeth Day about Embracing Vulnerability in the Age of Coronavirus. He talks about what it means to find consolation in these unprecedented times and about the need “to turn the light on in the room of your fears” so that the darkness no longer has the power to terrify us.
Author Brene Brown spoke on the “Today” show about keeping the peace at home during lockdown, and finding ways to be gentler and compassionate with ourselves. “A lot of us know that so many people have it worse, so we don’t want to say, ‘God, I’m sad,’ or ‘I’m scared,’” she said. “But empathy and compassion are infinite, and we don’t have to withhold our own fear and feelings in order to be empathetic toward other people. There’s enough empathy to go around, as long as we keep practicing it.”
We devoted a whole section of Next for Me, A Guide to Change for Everybody to self-care, as it’s so important when you’re starting something new to recognize it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Daily exercise, like taking a walk in your own neighborhood, is an exception to the self-quarantine guidance. Gold’s Gym and Planet Fitness are going one better by offering free online fitness classes.
It’s important to create pockets of joy where we can right now, whether that’s a Zoom Happy Hour with old friends, an online Passover Seder with family, or dropping off cookies for a neighbor (while keeping your distance, of course). That’s why DJ D-Nice is the hero this moment needed. His Club Quarantine Instagram Live parties have gotten the notice of everyone from Oprah to Joe Biden to Will Smith, and earned him almost 2 million followers.
We hope you are staying safe and healthy at home, and if you’re an essential worker, thank you for all you do!