It’s too early to call it “the new normal”

We’re at the end of Week 3. We made it through another week!

I say “made it through” because there is nothing usual about these times.

Almost 10 million people filed unemployment clams in the last two weeks. 24% of SMEs have shut down temporarily in response to COVID-19. Among those who haven’t temporarily shut down, 40% are likely to do so within the next two weeks. I think folks are too quick to call the current circumstances “the new normal”.

And for those of us who are still employed, we’re not really “working from home”. It’s more like we’re at home, with our spouse/partner, with our children, with our pets, all day, every day, trying to get work done.

We’re coordinating events, chores, and meals with our spouse/partner, arranging lessons and homework with the children, walking the dog, etc., all day, every day, trying to get work done.

This is not the common variety of remote work, distributed work, or WFH. This is survival in new challenging circumstances that will last for a while.

So, let’s not expect productivity to be the same as before – our productivity, that of the people we work with, and that of the people who work for us.

And let’s not judge. Depending on whether you have worked from home before this, whether you have children at home, and depending on the health of your financial situation, everyone is tackling different sets of challenges which might cause them to be nervous, anxious, and scared.

If anything, these new circumstances should make us more understanding, kinder, and more forgiving of ourselves and others.

Stay healthy. Stay home. Stay connected.


Week 1 of our new circumstances

For many of us this is the end of Week 1 of our new circumstances. We all had to adjust (even those of us who are accustomed to working from home): children (grandchildren) at home, spouse at home, looking after parents and grandparents, etc.
We’ve made it through the first week!
Let’s take time to celebrate that – with our loved ones, our friends, and our colleagues.
There are more of those weeks coming. This is not like preparing for a hurricane or a blizzard. It’s more likely to be a winter. So, let’s take it one week at a time – together.
Stay healthy. Stay home. Stay connected.

Until we know who is infected and who isn’t, please stay home. Here’s why.

Like you in this time of uncertainty I am concerned about my family, my friends, and my community which includes colleagues and clients, both individual and corporate.

Professionally  my mission is to help managers and business owners be more strategic, take a step back, and think for themselves so they can bring to their work life and their workplace contributions that are thoughtful, discerning, and unique. I never tell them what they should do, except in a well-defined mentoring context. And the things I post on my blog are designed to contribute to this taking a step back and reflecting.

This post will be an exception in that it is not about management nor leadership nor strategy. It seeks to address the topic of the day by bringing together information from what I gather are reliable sources. This information requires immediate action from all of us for the good of all of us.

Stay healthy. Stay home.


The rate of spreading of a pandemic is the product of two numbers:

  1. the infection rate of the disease, and
  2. the connectivity of the network.

The first number is one we cannot change right now, the second one (connectivity) is one we can influence… by social distancing and self-quarantine – that flattens the curve. If we don’t come into contact with others, the disease does not spread as fast.

How fast, you ask?

Remember that network growth is exponential, not linear.

Linear growth by increments of (for example) 10 looks like this:
10,20,30,40,50, and so on;

Exponential growth by a multiplier of (for example) 2 looks like this:
1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and so on.

At the beginning exponential growth seems slow. It is only 32 after five cycles.

But forward to 20 cycles. Linear growth gets to 200 (20*10); while Exponential growth gets more than a million! See below:

1,048,576 = 2^20

In exponential growth, 1,000 is “halfway” to 1,000,000. What brought you to 1,000 cases (which seems manageable), can bring you to 1 million cases in the same amount of time.

So, as stated above, the rate of spreading of a pandemic is a product of two numbers:

  1. the infection rate of the disease, and
  2. the connectivity of the network.

The first number is one we cannot change right now, the second one (connectivity) is one we can influence… by social distancing and self-quarantine. This will curb the growth in the number of infection cases. And a lower number is less of a burden on the healthcare infrastructure. Ideally, that number would be below what the infrastructure can support.

What to do? Stay home.

This way we won’t catch the virus and we’ll prevent exponential growth to a vulnerable population.

what to do

Sources: Cesar Hidalgo and Yaneer Bar-Yam onTwitter.

For further information, see (also on Twitter) – an action network of @NECSI, scientists @Harvard @MIT and volunteers seeking to educate in order to end the outbreak of Coronavirus COVID-19.

Coronavirus: Social distancing required. Now

  • The coronavirus is coming to you.
  • It’s coming at an exponential speed: gradually, and then suddenly.
  • It’s a matter of days. Maybe a week or two.
  • When it does, your healthcare system will be overwhelmed.
  • Your fellow citizens will be treated in the hallways.
  • Exhausted healthcare workers will break down. Some will die.
  • They will have to decide which patient gets the oxygen and which one dies.
  • The only way to prevent this is social distancing today. Not tomorrow. Today.
  • That means keeping as many people home as possible, starting now.


Source: Tomas Pueyo