When I worked full-time, most of it was done at a computer and a lot of it was conducted over the phone or via e-mail. I used to note that there were some people that I worked with on a daily basis and became friends with but never met them in person. My part-time work is basically the same: do my reporting and data-crunching at the computer. That was before Covid-19 and stay-at-home orders, but other than relocation from a school office to the one in my house, it’s the same routine.
But that’s me. A lot of people are figuring out how to do their job from their kitchen table or living room, and they’re finding out new ways to do it. Teachers and students especially are adjusting to conducting classes and doing their work via Zoom or Microsoft Team. It has the advantage of keeping some semblance of the classroom. It’s interesting to note that a lot of school districts have been moving in the direction of iSchooling; now they’re learning how it may or may not work.
If there’s an upside to this, and I realize it’s a bit of searching for a silver lining, it may be that productivity at work and learning at school may benefit from having to adapt to this new method of what futurists dreamed of years ago: “Learn and work from the comfort of home!” It may lead to lowering the stress level of job performance and thereby actually improve our daily lives on the job or at school. After all, doing a budget amendment or completing a homework assignment when you are surrounded by the comforts of home — a cat on your lap, a dog snoozing next to your desk, and no dress code — may be one of the unintended consequences for good from all of this horror.
Cartoon by Jon Adams in The New Yorker, 4/1/20.