The U.S. government’s massive effort to nurse the economy through the coronavirus crisis was billed as a send-money-and-don’t-sweat-the-details flood of cash to people and businesses in a $22 trillion system that has ground to a halt.
So far, the checks are not in the mail.
From technological glitches to confusion over the fine points of policy, the delays are mounting. The federal government’s muddled response risks deepening and lengthening a recession already historic for the speed of its onset.
Life on lockdown isn’t what you wanted, after all—and it may be what “office life” will be like from now on. The coronavirus pandemic has utterly disrupted the way millions of us work, and while the public health emergency will someday dissipate, some aspects of the Work From Home Revolution are likely here to stay.
“This may be the tipping point for remote work,” says Kate Lister, president of consulting firm Global Workplace Analytics. “I don’t think the office is going away, but more people will be spending at least part of the week at home.”
There is already a measurable spike in the number of at-home workers. Gartner, a research and advisory firm, reports in a March 17 survey of 800 HR executives that 88 percent of the organizations have encouraged or required employees to work from home. G&S Business Communications, found in their own “snap poll” on March 21 that 26 percent of those surveyed have moved from the office to home.
Unemployment insurance and other social safety net IT systems around the county are crumbling under the stress of millions of users seeking to apply for benefits in the wake of unprecedented unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The crisis is getting so bad that New Jersey’s governor put out a call for legacy systems programmers in a video address.
“Given the legacy systems, we should add a page [to their online call for health professionals] for COBOL computer skills because that’s what we’re dealing with,” Gov. Phil Murphy said April 4. “We have systems that are 40-plus years old. There will be lot of post-mortems, and one of them on our list will be how the heck did we get here when we literally needed COBOL programmers.”
The company also invested heavily in digital infrastructure — resulting in digital services now accounting for more than 60 percent of sales — and revived its own branded products. A renewed focus on engagement with design engineers helped the company with design wins and the launch of new product lines combined with deeper engagement with suppliers also led to improvement in sales.
More recent actions included an extension of the RS Pro label to North America and expansion into mainland Europe of the RS Components franchise.
Enabling telecommuting means digitizing all business processes so that information is immediately available to all those involved in a given task. Easier said than done, though, for employees working in engineering. It takes a lot of creativity to set up an experimental laboratory.
Telecommuting is common enough in some countries, but a relatively new concept in many others. Employers who allow it tend to merely tolerate it, but given today’s circumstances, more and more organizations are actively encouraging employees to work and collaborate via remote. Some companies, most of them in Europe, have taken to calling this “smart working.”
Engineers who are private contractors (or who are otherwise freelancing) are experts in working from remote. They’ve had to reinvent their working approach and meet the needs of as many customers as possible. They’ve had to figure out remote network configurations for development tools for MCUs and FPGAs, simulation, and debugging tools, main prototyping and testing equipment.
Only a couple of weeks ago, we never could have imagined the world would come to a complete stop. Who would have thought that we all would be practicing social distancing or that a large percentage of the population would be under “stay-at-home” orders?
Well, that is the world we are living in.
But are there steps that hoteliers can take now to best prepare for business after the coronavirus crisis? Yes.
The restrictions on movement, while important for public health reasons, mean that millions of workers are losing jobs and income necessary to cover their basic needs—including the housing that allows them to stay at home to begin with—not to mention investments in their future.
Those who toil in the informal sector across the developing world, workers on renewable contracts and people who work in the “gig economy” are particularly vulnerable. COVID-19 also threatens to exacerbate already dire conditions for low-income communities, as well as in humanitarian settings.
Hong Kong and Singapore are rolling out one-time universal transfers, while other governments, including in Brazil, China and Indonesia, are planning additional payments as part of existing social assistance programs.
As the pandemic wreaks havoc on the U.S. economy and transforms Americans’ daily lives, the start of April brings a moment of reckoning for millions: rent checks are due.
Many Americans have already lost their jobs – last week’s national unemployment claims exceeded 3 million, shattering previous records – and huge swaths of the country have essentially shut down, with more than half of U.S. states now under some version of a stay-at-home order to curb the disease’s spread.
As a self-described wartime president, Donald Trump is choosing sides in the battle to curtail the damage from the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump is choosing the economy.
Clearly frustrated at the layoffs and stock market plunges that have occurred as result of stay-at-home directives and business shut-downs, Trump Tuesday doubled down on plans to loosen “social distancing” federal guidance meant to keep people from infecting each other. The nation, he declared in a Fox News virtual town hall, will be “open for business” by Easter, April 12.
As worried Americans pack supermarket aisles in anticipation of quarantines and shelter-in-place orders, grocery workers like Courtney Meadows are working at a frantic pace to keep Americans fed and alive, and risking their own health in the process.
Over the last week, I traveled to supermarkets across the Washington, D.C. region and interviewed workers from Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and the District to hear—in their words—how COVID-19 is impacting them.
These crowded stores I visited had few visible safeguards or protections for workers.