I work from home, which is to say, I worked from home long before the COVID-19 quarantine upended our lives. But now, what was once my tranquil office has become an involuntary coworking space with my husband, a temporary kindergarten for our 6-year-old, a sanctuary for our needy pug, and a makeshift wine tasting bar that opens at 5 p.m. sharp.
Try telling a kindergartner that it’s time to sit down in front of a computer to enjoy her new cozy virtual classroom with no friends, no recess, and no pizza Fridays. Try telling your partner that the last cup of coffee is always yours and he talks way too loud on conference calls. Try telling yourself that everything will soon be back to normal when we don’t even know if/when that will be.
Many businesses, from LinkedIn to the Smithsonian Museum, are offering up ideas of what you can do right at your laptop in between Zoom check-in meetings and the timed NYT mini crossword, which I highly recommend. If marketing during a pandemic is done right, emails and other brand communications can strike just the right tone. If it’s done wrong, it can sound insensitive and too opportunistic.
I’ve come across some fun diversions and more serious yet hopeful content. Because, let’s face it, these days, as we work from home, we need both.
LinkedIn has developed some simple tips and guidelines on how people can best use their platform to connect with members of their networks during restricted outings and shelter-in-place orders. These include everything from sharing your own experiences and perspectives concerning working remotely and other challenges.
LinkedIn has also created a Trending News section providing official updates from experts and medical professionals concerning COVID-19.
Speaking of information, Facebook has created a Facebook Journalism Fund to the tune of $100 million to support newsrooms with their reporting efforts on the pandemic. They have also dedicated $20 million to the CDC Foundation with a matching fund for donations to fight COVID-19. Other tech giants, such as Apple and Amazon, have set up funds as well.
If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can take self-paced Ivy League classes online for free, such as Princeton’s Constitutional Interpretation or Harvard’s Fundamentals of Neuroscience. There’s nothing like telling people you received your education at an Ivy League school.
Check out NPR’s list of free online concerts, from jazz to indie, mostly streamed on Facebook and Instagram. Take in an online museum tour or art gallery exhibit from around the world.
Don’t forget to move out of your chair for something besides your morning/noon/afternoon/late afternoon/evening snacks. There are plenty of online workouts, from cardio to yoga to strength training.
Because if having a live puppy webcam in the background can’t cheer you up, nothing can.
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