Quarantine is experienced differently for different people. What might be experienced as a prolonged pajama party staycation for a family who is financially secure might be a nail-biting sentence of house arrest for others whose income is dependent on face-to-face interaction with the public. Whether fired or furloughed, out of work employees are not toasting their newfound free time, they are tightening their belts.
While some research as well as practical experience has found the experience of quarantine can produce negative psychological effects, such as uncertainty and feelings of isolation,[i] other research suggests quarantine might not trigger immediate negative psychological consequences.[ii] This might be especially true for people who intentionally spend their time focused on the future.
Many people have used their period of confinement productively. Some culinary minded homebodies have honed their skills at cooking, cleaning, and mixing that perfect quarantini cocktail. Others have learned a new language. But could an appreciation for home-bound productivity become the new normal professionally?
Source: Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay
If you lost your job as a result of the pandemic, you are no doubt spending your time at home focused on new ways to make money to make ends meet. Your next job might not be the dream job you envisioned as a young adult, or even necessarily the one you envisioned doing ten years ago. But that doesn’t mean it will not provide a steady source of income, without requiring your physical presence—which comes with many benefits you might not have realized before. Welcome to Covid-19 entrepreneurship.
In Forbes, author Chris Corosa suggests that people have the opportunity to become “Coronapreneurs.”[iii] Market savvy homebound creative types can capitalize on the ability to provide what the public needs during these challenging times. Specifically acknowledging the reality that necessity is the mother of invention, Corosa suggests ways in which quarantined thinkers can invent new ways to meet market demand.
One point he addresses is a question that has become increasingly relevant to employees in a wide spectrum of professions: whether or not working from home will become the new norm. Obviously, it depends on what you do. But for someone with a desk job, Corosa asks why that desk cannot be in your home? Noting that it would save the cost of commuting, buying lunch, and maintaining a wardrobe, wouldn’t that type of arrangement save money for everyone?
Many benched workers are rethinking what types of jobs they can do from home. Some people are already making and selling masks online.[iv] Others are polishing their resumes, scouring help wanted ads, and signing up with companies seeking virtual employees.
But one question industrious job seekers have in common, is regardless of what they will do between now and then, what type of job will they have once the economy reopens?
Emerging Safe and Financially Sound
Not all employees will return to their former jobs. Some will not exist because companies will not survive the closure. Other businesses will move online, perhaps providing the opportunity for previously in-store employees to work as delivery drivers.
But post-pandemic, some people will have better jobs, in terms of flexibility, financial stability, and dare I say fun. Some former nine to fivers might fall in love with the idea of choosing when to work, tailoring their times of toil to time periods when they are most productive—which can generate more income. Early birds and night owls thrive in an unstructured, off-the-clock timetable, often accomplishing more in less time by capitalizing on when they work most efficiently. This leaves more time to spend with loved ones, and doing things they enjoy.
The Benefits of Teleworking
Many people lucky enough to have jobs where they can telework are realizing they could get used to the schedule. Some are reluctant to come back into the office even when everything reopens, armed with the persuasive rationale that they are just as productive, if not more so, from home. And with Zoom meeting capability allowing them to virtually attend all necessary company meetings, they ask why should they pay for gas, parking, lunches out, and waste time commuting?
Whether or not virtual working becomes the new normal, evolving professional options are paving the way for employees to readjust their idea of their dream job, choosing profit over position, at least for the immediate future.
[i] Cava, Maureen A., Krissa E. Fay, Heather J. Beanlands, Elizabeth A. McCay, and Rouleen Wignall. 2005. “The Experience of Quarantine for Individuals Affected by SARS in Toronto.” Public Health Nursing 22 (5): 398–406. doi:10.1111/j.0737-1209.2005.220504.x.
[ii] Wang, Yongguang, Baihua Xu, Guoqiu Zhao, Rifang Cao, Xiaoyan He, and Sufen Fu. 2011. “Is Quarantine Related to Immediate Negative Psychological Consequences during the 2009 H1N1 Epidemic?” General Hospital Psychiatry 33 (1): 75–77. doi:10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2010.11.001.