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Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

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What effect is the Coronavirus having on your work life and personal life?

Do you go into an office on work days? Is your company taking precautions? Are you taking personal precautions? Are you planning on attending any conferences soon which are up in the air?

Discussion (93)

leirasanchez profile image
Leira Sánchez

Non-essential business travel has been canceled at work. In my personal life, I'm considering canceling my trip to France. Not without crying a lot first, of course. I have been dreaming about going to France since I started learning French nearly 10 years ago.

marcusatlocalhost profile image

I think it's better to travel now since everybody is more cautious. Better than at the beginning of the year when nobody expected anything.

emmanuelnk profile image
Emmanuel N Kyeyune

You could get stuck in a government quarantine (days to weeks) if you happen to be on a flight or in a hotel with someone infected though (this has happened to tons of people). I'd err on the side of caution and wait for the situation to improve a bit.

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marcusatlocalhost profile image

That's a valid point!

leirasanchez profile image
Leira Sánchez

That is a good point

jennajlee92 profile image

As long as you're not from Korea, Iran, or Italy (and of course China), travel to France should be fine! I feel like if you've been dreaming about it for so long, you should go. From what I know, the above countries are the ones that have the most people with corona, and places like the U.S. and other countries in Europe are not as invested in the corona scare.

Sloan, the sloth mascot
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marcusatlocalhost profile image

Sahil, Alexander Gauland don't want you to open this can of worms.

rhymes profile image
rhymes • Edited on

I live in Milan, Italy which is in the region where most of the detected cases for the virus in the country are, around 1200+ people. Though I don't live in what the government is calling the "red zone" which is around 60 kilometers south from here.

Last week was a bit absurd. Last sunday people here literally ransacked supermarkets in fear that supplies were going to be scarce or rationed. That kinda became a meme the following two days. Cinemas, gyms, stadiums, clubs and schools (of any kind) are still closed now in week 2. Bars went from "they have to be closed after 6pm" to "they can be opened after 6pm if they have table service". I was invited to leave a bar at 5.55pm on saturday.

Museums now on week two can welcome visitors, but only in small groups. The public health system is having trouble finding beds for patients that need to be placed in intensive care as obviously patients need those places for other problems other than the virus as well, but the private hospitals seem to be lending a hand.

Me and my friends are getting a little bit restless as there's not much to do. Though people are around during the day, we're all sort of meeting at each other places for dinner or staying home, waiting. In my neighboorhood I see many closed stores and empty restaurants.

The media isn't helping at all and not all are responding well to the quarantine (people literally tried to escape the quarantined zones the other day).

thatonejakeb profile image
Jacob Baker

I have a cold at the moment so other than “oMg dO yOu HaVe CoRonAvIrUs???” jokes nothing is different!

scrabill profile image
Shannon Crabill

The jokes are tired, at best.

missamarakay profile image
Amara Graham

I'm a remote employee and we just cancelled our quarter planning trip that gets most of the company together at our HQ. So that's a bummer, but I'm trying to stay positive about it because it sounds like we are going to do something almost totally remote planning wise instead so I'm hoping that its still productive!

Conferences and workshops on the other hand are a mess. We assume most large conferences and tradeshows in March/April/May will end up cancelled. We are making a call tomorrow about hosting an upcoming developer event. I don't want to be the person who runs an event and people end up getting sick citing my event as the potential source. I also don't want to inadvertently end up as a carrier.

I have a 6 hour hands on workshop worth of content just hanging out in limbo. Started pulling it apart to think about a virtual offering, but we would need to run a ton of client taxing applications to make that a reality. Just ugh.

nirebu profile image
Nicolò Rebughini

I've written about this right now. Started this morning but had to finish it later.

TL;DR: for me and my company it means working remote for two full weeks while I'm quarantined. I also had to cancel some long awaited international travel.

Longer version below

avatarkaleb profile image
Kaleb M

So far we haven't had anything come up from work for precautions, but like you, I live in NYC, so coughs on the subway have definitely felt louder.

A friend of mine also sent a picture from Brooklyn's Trader Joe's that had many empty shelves already, so hopefully we all can stock up on necessities in case things become emergency status.

I've definitely been washing my hands for the full 20-30 seconds and if I feel sick, take time to rest or work from home to make verify symptoms and not infect anyone if I get anything!

How about you?

scrabill profile image
Shannon Crabill

Ekk, of all places to stock up from Trader Joe's seems expensive.

avatarkaleb profile image
Kaleb M


crimsonmed profile image
Médéric Burlet

I'm in Singapore and we had the case of people going crazy and raiding supermarkets (paranoia). Now that people realized its not that crazy life is almost normal.

We just have occasional temperature check in cinema, work etc.

Public transport are a bit less crowded due to paranoid people.

There have been no deaths about it in Singapore. Only successful treatment.

kayis profile image
K (he/him)

I work at home, tend to wash my hands far too often and switched from public transport to bike.

But the girlfriend I'm living with is a nurse. So I guess, I'm done for anyway 💩

ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author


maxart2501 profile image
Massimo Artizzu

I live in Italy.
The first annoyance is that conferences have been postponed (including one where I'll speak at), and meetups cancelled.

Even though I live in one of the most affected regions (Emilia-Romagna), people are still going to work, but with extra precautions. I know some workplaces are reducing gatherings and postponing activities, including some of our clients.

I'm currently in Sardinia (which has no people afftected by the Coronavirus so far), but I'll be back on the 9th. I'm attending my sick father and I fear I won't be allowed to be back due to flight cancellations and travel restrictions.

About my father's hospitalization, the clinic is now more stringent about visits: one person at time, the others must wait outside.

My girlfriend had some university activities suspended last week.

My brother-in-law is stuck in Saudi Arabia. He can't help my sister (who is here) because if he travels to Italy, he won't be able to return to his campus until who knows when. He'd probably lose his job. I think this is the major blow, as my sister hasn't seen her husband in weeks and my BIL his relatives for a month.

jcoelho profile image
José Coelho

Cleaning door handles, elevator buttons and toilets 3x a day and a no hand-shakes policy.
Also most people is cutting down on traveling which is bad for a decentralized project.

Personally just a lot of hand-washing and being alert.

mon_ste_cat profile image
Monica Stevens

Seattle's getting more activity than I'd like. The office sent out an email about it but we're still running as usual.

I think twice before leaving home, especially for anywhere crowded. I'll probably start doing more grocery deliveries instead of going to the store, and I'm wondering if I should ask my out-of-state family to cancel their visit this month 😞

zoebourque profile image

Twitter has announced to let their employees work from home. My company is doing the same thing!

jcpsimmons profile image

I live in the LA area. My workplace is taking 0 precautions. Despite the fact that all of the devs here have VPN access, laptops, phones, etc., management is hell-bent on having butts-in-chairs. I'm pretty concerned due to the fact that we're in such a large metropolitan area with a lot of travel to and from affected countries.

manuelojeda profile image
Manuel Ojeda

At this moment I keep going into an office, no issues against COVID-19 here.

I had the intentions to go into the JS Conf Mexico but I don't know if this is going to be cancelled to avoid any possibility in making the outbreak worst.

In summary, everything is fine here where I live but there is other Mexico cities with confirmed cases, so I taking the require precautions

scrabill profile image
Shannon Crabill

In general, the media on this (plus it being an election year) is stressing me out. I think the media is making is hyping stuff up more than it needs to be. Unfortunately, because everyone (I'm generalizing here) is scared of what could happen, instead of looking at the facts, there's more misinformation, xenophobia, and paranoia than usual.

I work for a healthcare company, so we've sent out communications to our members about a month ago that we're monitoring the situation, here are the facts, etc. Internally, it's business as usual for me, since I work remotely. That said, I am a little concerned since my partner (we live together) works at an airport and therefore his chances of exposure are higher.

I wasn't planning on attending any conferences this year anyway.

All in all, I am not too worried, but I am finding the media hype (and shutting down the xenophobes) to be adding to my stress levels.

helleworld_ profile image
Desiré 👩‍🎓👩‍🏫

I finally managed to be accepted in some really important events in Spain as a speaker... And I had to reject the ones that were celebrated soon just in case.

It's so frustrating since I've been trying to be a speaker since last year unsuccessfully and now this is happening. 😕

ivolimmen profile image
Ivo Limmen

I should be going to next week but it was cancelled. I was really looking forward to it :(
Luckily my hotel booking was also cancellable otherwise my boss would be stuck with a huge bill...

fultonbrowne profile image
Fulton Browne

For me, not much. A friend of mine who works for a very large tech company got his speaking spot at MWC canceled and another friend of mine who's a marketing manager at an international company is having big meetings canceled and bad shipping delays.

workingwebsites profile image
Lisa Armstrong

No affect. I work remotely as well.
It's going to be interesting how this affects attitudes about remote work and travel.

leob profile image
leob • Edited on

The whole corona thing didn't seem much at first, but as it keeps spreading and spreading relentlessly it's going to have an impact on almost everybody sooner or later. Even if you don't catch it you'll be bombarded the whole day with news about it, major events will be canceled (or are already), travel will be discouraged or disallowed, you will go out less, economy is impacted, stocks are crashing, and so on and so forth.

I fear this "thing" will be with us and will dominate our lives (if not physically then mentally) for some time to come, and not in a good way, it's gonna be a drag, and way bigger than I initially thought.

cmelgarejo profile image
Christian Melgarejo Bresanovich

Has zero effect on me and coworkers, because we WFH and another thing, we live on Paraguay, we already have our own pandemic virus: DENGUE.
It's like coronavirus, with 4 mutations, there's mosquitos all the time to you have 90% chance on getting it no matter what and it's more deadly than the mediatic virus, so. meh.
Real corona virus

tirtakeniten profile image
Tirta Keniten

I live in Indonesia. Since corona virus infected all over the world, I was worried because the government always "take-it-easy" everything. Since I read many fact about corona, I am less worried right now but still take necessary precaution. From the data I saw on the news, about 50% have been recovered, means death is not the end.

I think China government to shut down some cities is right decision. It affected almost everything in my life. My stock portfolios are red, but luckily the gold price is rising. I work in hospitality industry, so the people that have planed to travel mostly cancel or postpone their journey. It's pretty much disturb the economy while other company applied unpaid leave to their employee.

codingmindfully profile image
Daragh Byrne

I went to the mall today in Sydney (Westfield) to buy a pair of running shoes (because I'm going to run, virus be damned!) and Every. Single. Shopping. Cart. has a huge 36+ roll toilet paper pack.

My company has contingency discussions about what happens if there's a lock down (not out of the realms of possibility in super cautious Australia).

Despite this thing being in 90+ countries, best estimates are in low 1000s of deaths. Numbers do not indicate apocalypse. I have immunocompromised friends and relatives and of course do not wish this or any other serious illness upon, and of course, we haven't had a global pandemic in a while. But let's wait and see.

jeikabu profile image

I live in EU.

Things continue to escalate. Work started sanitizing everything and "educating" people on washing hands, etc. Then major conference attendance and non-essential travel was cancelled. Now everyone is told to work from home "until further notice". This has severely impacted certain aspects of the business although I can easily program at home.

Today borders are shut to anyone that doesn't live or work here. I was planning on visiting my girlfriend in Eastern Europe, but that’s all on hold since her country is implementing similar measures.

Some days I’m irritated or indifferent about the whole thing, but I bought some non perishables for my otherwise barren kitchen just to feel less anxious. I was in Asia during SARS and other crises, but this is completely different.

tweettamimi profile image

Hey Ben! This has really affected alot of people, personally I am trying so hard to grow from this experience from a technical perspective and see what other companies are doing to help out with this. Some are giving out free tooling and infrastructure to build COVID project. I am using this to build an app that could help other people and wrote a blog post about it

elcotu profile image
Daniel Coturel

I live in Argentina. We have now 158 confirmed cases. The government has ordered a health emergency state, wich means only authorized people can move around. People working on healthcare, energy, public services, media, government and some few economic activities.

The rest of us must remain isolated, to avoid spreading the virus and collapsing health system. All the experts say this is the right thing to do, so home office is a must. I've been helping my clients to adapt to this. My full workflow is remote-able so I'm doing business as usual.

Things seem to be pretty hard everywhere.

larswaechter profile image
Lars Wächter

Situation in a Germany (Frankfurt) based company:

All business trips to the ITB Berlin (world's largest tourism trade fair) were canceled. Moreover, infomation sheets about washing your hands correctly were handed out. As far we know is no employee infected yet.

Personal life:
People run to the grocery stores and buy food like crazies. Even toilet paper is almost sold out everywhere.

brsullivan profile image

So far, not much of a difference for me. I'm based in NC, USA and work for a medium-sized consulting firm. They've just decided to suspend non-essential business travel and told everyone to work from home if they feel sick -- but we do that already anyway.

ahferroin7 profile image
Austin S. Hemmelgarn

My company hasn't cancelled the company-wide trip to Athens at the end of April, but none of us are from hot zones or travelling through hot zones to get there, so I honestly agree with the assessment on that one.

As far as personally, I'm honestly not particularly worried. Barring the initial response and the Diamond Princess, both of which were pretty seriously mishandled, pretty much every government has been really on top of things. New cases are decreasing at the moment, and I'm in one of the lowest risk groups when it comes to serious cases. So, all in all, it's not a huge threat to me personally. That said, I'm probably not going to be traveling internationally except for the few cases required by my job at least until next year, but that's just as much for reasons of personal finance as anything else.

However, I'm not really looking forward to the very real possibility of people panicking on the flights I'm on for the aforementioned company trip due to me coughing from allergies. Actually being in Athens for a little more than a week, between the food (I can't get good Greek food where I live unless I make it myself) and getting to hang out with my coworkers (95% of our company works remote, and I'm the only employee in my area), should more than make up for that though.

ridhwana profile image
Ridhwana Khan

I'm speaking at a conference in a week and a half in Portland. It means travelling through 3 airports from South Africa to the US and being in a large gathering of people. I'm pretty nervous about it all, but will be taking all the necessary precautions.

emmanuelnk profile image
Emmanuel N Kyeyune

Based in Beijing. Been working remotely since early February. Have had to adjust to the remote working life which has both its benefits and downsides. The situation here is improving fast but then getting worse elsewhere (outside China). So still kind of hard to see where this will all go (it could come back for another round ??). Luckily, work itself hasn't been impacted too much since I can do remote. Hopefully it remains that way.

axelledrouge profile image

Currently apart from the regular "jokes" on the subject, not much.
Even if I lived near Paris, where everyone go to work in packed suburbs trains and subways. Mostly in the North Station, where many people coming from where most of the detected cases for the virus in the country are.
Mainwhile the government use the current time when everyone is talking about it to force the law the people is still strongly against, and is thinking about conveniently report the elections to avoid the backlash that will provoke.
Here, we have too the cases of people randsacking the supermarkets (to buy pasta, even if they also fear the water, which you need for pasta, logical)

bizzy237 profile image

Company restricted travelling but I don't travel for business purposes anyway. Just moved to a new city so traveling abroad is out of the budget too. And luckily no one I know is infected, so no effect on me

rickmills profile image
Rick Mills

No effects or changes at all here yet (UK), but people have been panic buying. My local supermarket had absolutely no soap products left yesterday, and things like toilet roll, pasta and rice were all low on stock.

Bizarrely nobody had gone for the paracetamol (acetaminophen for the US folks) or any cold/flu related things, those were all in good stock.

So yeah. Still at work in an open plan office, no real effects here at all.

hammtronic profile image

My twitter feed is annoyingly full of people talking about this, otherwise it has had zero effect on my life (to my awareness anyways, maybe gas prices have changed)

mastacheata profile image
Mastacheata • Edited on

maybe gas prices have changed

They dropped significantly for the time being. It's unclear how long that will stay, though.

justsharkie profile image

Honestly, I'm not worried. I live in middle-of-nowhere Ontario, and other than doing the whole wash hands, don't touch face etc I haven't it bother me.

Though I am getting annoyed with the fear mongering of the media and my coworkers. I literally had a coworker come up to me and tell me I'm definitely going to die because I have asthma and work in customer service. She literally, genuinely told me I'd die. I was flabbergasted.

And on the news tonight, I heard them talking about being prepared for when it comes, and they were talking about when the electricity goes out, how to start a fire for heat, use snow to flush the damn toilet... like, what? This is a virus, we haven't hit the apocolypse time just yet.

Sorry, I just ranted a teeny tiny bit. It's bad, and we all know it's bad, but we need to stop being so fearful and learn how to protect ourselves instead.

pinotattari profile image
Riccardo Bernardini

Minimal. I work at the University, so for me working from home is quite natural. In these days I stay at home if I can avoid going out, but without being paranoid. When I exit I wear gloves, even if not so cold to require gloves, in order to avoid touching around and if need to scratch my nose I take off the glove. When I come back home I wash my hands right away.

That's it.

m_nevin profile image
Marc Nevin

Currently, as a company, we've not had any big changes!

Some of my team were supposed to be heading to MWC before it was cancelled but it was just to attend so minimal disruption,

I'm supposed to be heading to a conference next week, I'm scared it might get cancelled... I've my holiday booked in the same state after!

But when there it'll be a case of washing hands a lot, using hand sanitiser etc

tomekbuszewski profile image
Tomek Buszewski

We have hand cleaning station at the entrance, all sinks and toilets have this huge "how to wash your hands" posters. People are literally stepping on each other in bathrooms to wash hands.

People around are getting kinda crazy tho, saying that the government is hiding the virus from the public and saying that for sure there's at least someone infected around the room. Most nation-wide information websites are cool, except for one that is basically saying "coronavirus is coming, coronavirus has killed X people, coronavirus will be here any minute, coronavirus this, coronavirus that" on a constant loop.

As for myself, I wash my hands very often, like always, and cannot refrain from touching my face all the time, so, normal :D

wolfhoundjesse profile image
Jesse M. Holmes

Most of us work remotely 3 days a week, so there have been no changes thus far. We follow the inclement weather decisions of the county schools, so I feel nothing will change for us unless it changes for the students.

I still don't know how to find out about all the conferences that happen in a year, and I am afraid that if I learn, I'll be paralyzed by all the options. 😂 My goal is to attend at least one local (D.C. Metro) conference this year. All that to say that, no, I have no plans up in the air.

The two biggest changes for me so far are:

  1. Falling down the rabbit hole. I read about the Spanish Flu for two hours over the weekend, and I've started reading about Marburg again. Anyone here a Richard Preston fan?
  2. Feeling even more concerned for people that will suffer the ignorance of the general populace, whether it is xenophobia or complacency.
lehmannsystems profile image

I was on the USA National Team training for the Olympics a few years back. It is quite scary for all of the athletes I know training right now. There is a chance that the Olympics gets postponed or canceled which would throw out a lot of work they have put in over the last 4-12 years.

wiredferret profile image
Heidi Waterhouse

I understand your frustration, grunk. It’s certainly affecting a lot of conversations. I’d like to gently note that the question was about how you are being affected, and not an invitation to tell other people how they should feel or act.

jennajlee92 profile image

Living in Korea, most education centers have closed for the time being, and though I did get a part-time job immediately after getting into Korea from the U.S. in February, the start date has been pushed back week after week, resting on March 23 at this point.

It's a bit annoying having to stay indoors most of the time, but it does give me more of an opportunity to learn programming at home. But on the negative side, it helps a lot more when I'm able to be out and about, since it gives me little mental breaks!

michi profile image
Michael Z

Remote work started this week for me here in Japan.
I hope this event will show companies around the world the benefits of remote work and flex time.

marcosvafilho profile image
Marcos Filho

None. Fully remote since 2016, didn't have plans to travel or attend any event this semester anyway.

amberjones profile image

I went to a tech mixer and no one was allowed to shake hands and it was awkward.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

andrewbrown profile image
Andrew Brown 🇨🇦

My international AWS workshops are being delayed or even cancelled
My other startup, fewer students coming to class to avoid CORVID.

natriumdev profile image

I gave someone a bro fist instead of a regular handshake to avoid contact.

wobsoriano profile image

Does not concern me. Yet. Anyway, just built a web app out of it lol

weeb profile image
Patrik Kiss • Edited on

Nothing 🤷‍♂

Especially since it's basically not even present in the country (yet)