Work from Home

Remote working: How cities might change if we worked from home more – BBC News

A person on the empty streets in front of the New York Stock Exchange Image copyright AFP
Image caption The empty streets outside the New York Stock Exchange, 19 May

For many of us, our homes have become our workplaces over the past few months, and a full return to the office still appears a remote prospect.

Major tech companies say they are open to their staff working from home permanently. Employees are coming to realise remote working is not only possible but, in some cases, preferable. A shift to a new way of working might already be under way.

Such a shift could have profound implications on our home life, and by extension on the life of our towns and cities: almost a quarter of all office space in England and Wales is in central London alone.

To understand those implications, we brought together four experts on city life, all of whom were working from home.

Will city centres empty out?

Paul Cheshire, professor of economic geography, London School of Economics:

I do think we’ll go back to offices but not in the same way.

People are more productive when they are closer together with face-to-face contact. There’s 20 years of really good persuasive research demonstrating how important that is. There are lots of things you cannot do except with other people – people are innately social animals.

Les Back, professor of sociology, Goldsmiths:

I do think we are at a tipping point. There’s a reorientation, a recalibration of the relationship between place and time and social life that we’re on the cusp of. We may see profound changes. Some things may not come back.

Aude Bicquelet-Lock, deputy head of policy and research, Royal Town Planning Institute:

It’s true some companies have said that they could allow their workforce to work from home forever. Twitter said it. Facebook said it. The CEO of Barclays said that putting 7,000 people in the office might be a thing of the past.

The experience of going to the office in Aberystwyth isn’t the same as going to the office in London. The decline of office space will affect small, medium and large cities in different ways.

Les Back:

The hollowing-out of city life has been coming for a long time. It may be that what will happen is that some businesses won’t come back to the centre of the city and think it’s too risky – or there may be other economic drivers where people will just take the opportunity to ask: “Why are we investing so much of our capital in these large office spaces?”

I think there are possibly huge effects [of more working from home]. There’s the pressure on the domestic sphere. There’s the pressure on gendered relationships at home, on the blurring and overlaying of parenting and work and the pressures that would cause.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Tverskaya Street in Moscow, 9 May

Aude Bicquelet-Lock:

I think what we will see is that local centres may see more diversification – more dining, more social activities as people may want to meet each other. Also working from home may mean getting access to workplaces in local towns for some days. Growth is to be expected in these areas.

The contrary could apply to bigger cities, which of course raises the question of how the office space could be reused: there are several options, like turning offices into residential spaces, which hasn’t always been done with absolute success.

I also wonder whether we will need conference halls and other meeting spaces as we did in the past.

Paul Cheshire:

You will get more people working from home, which will mean there will be more demand for large houses. You have to have a workspace, which will push you out. You may need to move to commute maybe once a week, twice a week to your headquarters, wherever that is, for meetings. Therefore you’ll accept a longer commute for cheaper space. You’ll tend to move further away from the city centre.

On the other hand, there will be people who have to stay in the offices, stay in the concentration, the social interaction, who will become even more strongly attracted to the city centre. But you will probably also get localised desk-sharing, specialised areas where people can go if you’re a homeworker, where you can occasionally get better IT or better facilities or get away from your children. There will be an opening-up in smaller towns of hot-desking spaces.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption An Istanbul side street, 17 May

We will need more space. What you would be doing is opening land close to stations with good access to city centres. You could build a million houses on green belt land within 45 minutes of central London because there’s so much green belt land.

The fastest-growing places for people commuting to London are incredibly far away – Peterborough, York, Somerset. People are living miles out in order to get affordable land and more space. That will be accelerated. And it will be particularly accelerated unless we are willing to lease land close to transport nodes that will give access to jobs.

What about transport and the environment?

Margaret Bell, professor of transport and the environment, University of Newcastle:

Our research has shown that in a study of commuting to Newcastle the 7% of trips over 50km were responsible for 60% of the carbon emissions. The further you travel, the more detrimental effect with emissions.

Paul Cheshire:

That’s one of the ironies of the green belt: forcing people to commute further.

Margaret Bell:

My worry is people buying more cars and those who have cars will use them more. What we do need is incentives to use bicycles more and to get people to shift towards living closer to their work or workplaces, or arranging for people to go to work more locally.

We need a bottom-up approach to understand people’s needs and try and tailor the transport accordingly.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Birmingham New Street station, 9 April

Paul Cheshire:

Housing, particularly in England, is very energy inefficient. There’s quite a big carbon footprint with more time spent in the home because home heating and home insulation is far, far worse than modern commercial premises are.

Margaret Bell:

Some work we did in Leicester showed that if you work from home, on average you use 75% more energy than you save by not going into work. And that corresponds to a 75% increase in carbon dioxide – purely and simply because if you need heating and gas, electricity at home, that’s more than what you save by not going into work by car.

And so, coupled with the isolation effect, it’s sensible for local businesses to open up their hot-desking offices, or even have reciprocal arrangements with companies where consultants working more out of town could reciprocate hot-desking in offices.

What about the way we use cities?

Les Back:

We are predominantly talking about people who work in finance service sectors, white-collar jobs and white-collar workers. That isn’t the workforce of cities. What about hospital, school and other public sector jobs?

Also, cities are important because they’re places of encounter. Places of difference. That difference and the negotiations that happen across racial and cultural difference take on particular qualities in the centre of cities that are not the same in the outskirts and in the suburbs.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Collister Street in New York’s Tribeca neighbourhood, 21 May

Aude Bicquelet-Lock:

Everyone will have gone through the lockdown and will have gone through the changes and had new habits and will have strong views about what it is they want, what works for them and what doesn’t.

And I think one of the first things we will have to do as urban planners and policymakers is listen to what they want. But there will be financial constraints.

Paul Cheshire:

The other issue is people’s fear: how long will it take people to recover from the experience of being worried about being in crowds, being vulnerable. I think people will recover from that if there is a vaccine, if the virus subsides.

If that happens, offices will reassert themselves and all those things we liked doing in city centres will also reassert themselves. That may take quite a long time.

Office life for many has changed significantly. Some will choose to continue working from home, while for others shielding, they have no choice in the matter. But when space is at a premium and bedrooms have been turned into work spaces, we want to know what life hacks you’ve come up with to make the most of tiny areas you are now living and working in.

Share your experiences and pictures by emailing

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

Online Work

Online lifeline: Pushed to adapt in a hurry, some business owners find unexpected benefits in life on the internet – Chattanooga Times Free Press

Their business brought people together to celebrate the art and pleasure of cooking in a shared space where they prepared meals with the help of a professional chef.

What could go wrong?

“We went to a hard stop in the blink of an eye,” says Jeff Pennypacker, who owns the Sweet and Savory Classroom on Chattanooga’s Southside with his wife and fellow chef, Heather. “In one week, every single private event canceled.”

Across industries and communities, businesses built on individual interaction and shared experiences have been forced to close down the in-person element of their operations. For some, that has meant exploring ways to deliver those experiences online — ready or not.

Laurie Stevens, the owner of the Chattanooga School of Language, had been thinking about expanding her entirely in-person classes to add an online element.

“I had wanted to do online classes earlier this year to try and expand our market, but I didn’t feel like I had it all together,” Stevens says. “We had explored it. Now we’re there.”

At the Sweet and Savory Kitchen, the shift away from in-person, hands-on cooking came as the business was delivering promising growth. Sweet and Savory had expanded steadily since the Pennypackers opened it in January 2016, and March 2020 was shaping up to deliver 30% more business than the year before.

“We had lots of private events, and we were hitting new record numbers,” Pennypacker says.

Once the coronavirus pandemic took hold, the business briefly went to reduced class sizes and expanded space between clients, limiting classes to 10 rather than the usual 28. But they quickly realized even that wasn’t going to work in the new world, Pennypacker says.

“The wise thing to do was to go ahead and close the doors,” he says.

The Pennypackers started offering carryout meals to try to maintain a thin stream of revenue, but they also wondered if online cooking classes through the Zoom platform might be a way to preserve the experience and the community they had worked so hard to build.

“I realized we could do it with cell phones and laptops, and we were Zooming the next weekend,” Pennypacker says. “I was a little hesitant putting a lot of energy into it because I didn’t know if anything would come of it, but it worked.”

Classes that used to cap at 28 can now accommodate far more students, and Pennypacker has had as many as 121 logged in to cook along with him from all over — and even outside of — the country. Folks gather around the computer, crack a bottle of wine and turn the class into a family event, he says.

The per-person, in-person price point of $70 is cut to anywhere from $14 to $50, based on whether customers shop for ingredients or pick them up ready to cook. Once the world returns to something like normal, Pennypacker anticipates he’ll continue the virtual aspect of the business, doubling up by offering online what he’s also doing in person.

“I’ve been looking at doing the virtual classes from a live class,” he says. “People have been telling me they’d love to keep doing this once we get back to whatever normal is.”

For Stevens, the move to online classes came in the middle of a term when she had about 10 classes in half a dozen languages in progress, as well as private lessons and school programming — all happening in person.

“It didn’t even really cross my mind to stop classes,” she says. “We could continue teaching, so that’s what we did. We wanted to continue to provide a service we had promised people.”

A few people opted to call it quits and wait for the in-person classes to resume, but most were game to take their lessons online, Stevens says. Classes transitioned using Zoom, and Stevens quickly realized one of the biggest upsides of online learning.

“There are no geographical barriers,” she says. “It’s reaching new markets.”

It’s also easy, she added.

Photo Gallery

Business owners find unexpected benefits online

“There’s a lot of convenience,” Stevens says. “Grab a glass of wine or coffee or tea, grab your pet, wear your pajamas. Come as you are.”

There are, however, some downsides to life online, Stevens added. Enrollment is down significantly since last year as some large, in-person programs have canceled, and it can be hard to read the room and react to student needs when the venue is virtual, she says.

“You do lose things — it’s harder to have that personal interaction,” she says.

But she’s optimistic about the potential of blending the online and the in-person once people venture back out, Stevens says.

“You have to be ready for the increase in demand when the curve goes back up,” she says.

For real estate agent Austin Sizemore, the advent of online work has changed his team’s routines as well as the services they offer their customers.

“We moved our internal meetings to Zoom, and we’re not meeting as often but we’re getting more accomplished,” he says.

Being able to record team meetings, one-on-ones and training sessions will make their onboarding of new employees more efficient, says Sizemore, who has four agents and two support staff members on his team.

Outside the office, some clients have been hesitant to tour homes or allow people into their homes to have a look, he says, so virtual tours have become an essential element that make up about half of his business these days.

His team has added a link on their website where clients can choose the virtual tour, and that’s another case where the ability to record the walk-through is beneficial, he says.

“We can send them all the videos to look back through as they’re making decisions,” Sizemore says. “I do think moving forward we will continue to have that as a resource.”

Clients are using the virtual option to shop, but they still want to see their top two or three choices in person, he says.

The owner of MurMaid Mattress is also leaning on online ordering to make up for some of the business he’s lost as he has closed some showrooms and people have been less eager to shop in person.

“What this new world we’re in has allowed us to take the next step and we are getting many more online orders,” Roger Pickett says. “In the last two weeks, we’ve done more of that than we’ve done in two years. We hope to grow it and this is going to help catapult that for us.”

As the community tries to recover from the economic hit delivered by the coronavirus crisis, Pickett says he hopes people will be inclined to support local businesses, and that online options will encourage that.

“I just want our local people to know that if they choose to buy online, they can still shop local.”

Work from Home

Work From Home (WFH), Remote Devices and IT Support Trends – MSSP Alert

Amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, businesses such as food service and retail have been unable to operate in a fully virtual environment — but others that typically shun teleworking have successfully acclimated to the new normal, a new study of 6,000 people by anti-virus provider PC Matic found.

PC Matic’s COVID-19 Work From Home Trends research found that slightly more than 40 percent of the survey group have been working remotely because of COVID-19 and continued to do so throughout the research period in May, 2020.

Here are some additional findings:

On employer-issued devices for work.

  • 61% of remote employees were using personal devices as their primary method to access company networks.
  • Of the 39% that were issued a device by their employer, roughly 25% said they used it for more than work.

“If and when malware finds its way into these devices, it can easily spread to the company’s network these employees are accessing,” PC Matic said.

On personal devices used for work provided with an antivirus solution.

  • 93% of the study group said their employers did not provide them with an antivirus solution to install on their personal device used for work.

“In normal working conditions, bringing an un-managed device onto a corporate network is either not allowed or would raise flags inside IT very quickly,” the survey reads.

On security training for remote workers.

  • 22% received additional security training from their employer.
  • Roughly 40% are using a VPN while working from home.
  • 17% said they were not sure.

“Educating the user can drastically reduce the risk that a business faces as they are almost always the first line of defense for an attack,” PC Matic said. “It’s important to note that not everyone needs to be using a VPN, however, if a connection to the workplace is critical, a VPN is strongly recommended.”

On IT support services for remote workers.

  • 51% of businesses provided IT support to employees transitioning from office work to home.
  • 53% of employers provide IT support service throughout the teleworking experience.

“In order to maintain a normal working environment, it’s important for businesses to continue to provide IT support services to employees who are working virtually,” PC Matic said. “Many employees may not be able to navigate IT issues without additional support and can become stranded while in transition or while working from home.

On best practices.
“Businesses should supply corporate devices that are managed and secured,” the report reads. “Vulnerable devices and untrained users can present a drastically increased risk level to the entire business whether they are working in the office, or at home,” PC Matic said.

“While we continue to be unsure of the future of 2020 and the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, businesses have the opportunity to be proactive and begin preparing for the potential that stay at home orders could be issued again later in the year,” the anti-virus provider said. “The first lockdown caught many by surprise and required businesses to be reactive in order to keep their operations running, however, we now have the opportunity to be proactive and prepared for the future.”

Online Work

My Experience as a Student Worker Working Remotely – The UCSD Guardian Online

As Spring Quarter comes to an end, I can’t help but look back on my experience of working my campus job remotely. In February 2020, I began working as a front desk worker at the office of the Muir College Writing Program, also known as MCWP. My duties included greeting students or visitors and providing them assistance with any questions they had, providing office support to the instructors and staff, and assisting with data entry of excel sheets, word documents, and more. With all the duties assigned to me, I had to be very confidential since I was handling documents with staff and student information. Including me, three student workers in total worked the front desk in order to cover the entire time the office was open for the week. I was lucky that both my co-workers were the friendliest people and made my transition into the job much easier. 

When news came that the school would be closing down, there was much uncertainty on whether the office would remain open. During those last days of Winter Quarter, I stressed out about the uncertainty of my job, figured out how my online finals worked, and worried about the impending pandemic. Once the news came that Spring Quarter was going to be completely online, I was stuck between going back home or staying in San Diego to work limited hours at the office — if it remained open. Luckily, my boss was able to keep all three of us working from the comforts of our home. However, because we were no longer in the office, our hours were cut, but we were given special COVID-19 admin hours that could be added onto our time card as hours we would have worked if we were in the office. We were then required to download many programs onto our computer in order to access the MCWP files. Such programs included Microsoft applications and Google Drive file stream, which greatly impacted the iCloud storage on my Macbook. Plus, because I was still technically new, I was still learning how the files were organized and where documents were placed — adding another challenge to the process. It was a lengthy process to get the newly downloaded programs to work on my Macbook as well as getting access to MCWP software. I found myself having to email Information Technology services at least 20 times. 

Microsoft Teams was the platform we used to communicate about what we each did on the day we worked; we called it our Daily Reports. I was scheduled to work Mondays and Wednesdays, and I started my day by calling my boss to receive instructions on what I was to work on during my shift. Until I was able to resolve my technical issues, my duties were fairly easy going. I worked on data entry that involved information about Spring 2020 logistics and planning for Fall 2020. I honestly never realized how much work and how many documents are required when planning a course. After days of talking back and forth with IT services, I was able to work with no problems. We even got a new project to work on: all three of us student workers would be given access to the Virtual Advising Center to assist with the plethora of incoming questions from students regarding MCWP. We were trained and given instructions on how to respond to students. 

I can honestly say that working from home has its perks. I would wake up 45 minutes before my shift, drink a cup of coffee with sweet bread, and work in the comfort of sweats and a baggy t-shirt. Working from home saves a lot of travel time and I can use that time to my liking. And, because I am at home, I’m grateful my mom cooks us breakfast, which beats my usual cereal. 

Yet, working from home can definitely have its stressful moments. Many times I suffered from lack of a good wifi signal, either because my family was using the wifi at the same time or the reception wasn’t good, which happens a lot in my area. This made me nervous about not being able to complete my assigned tasks and scared of being perceived as a bad worker. The constant back and forth communication between my boss and other co-workers definitely helped me manage work that was still new to me because I didn’t get a chance to fully learn the ropes of the job. However, even before I started working remotely, I was very stressed out about all that I needed to do and download in order to have the right tools to work. It became another stressor aside from planning my Spring 2020 courses. I felt that I was doing a lot of work in order to do my job and because it took a long time for things to work properly for me, I secretly hoped my boss and co-workers wouldn’t view me as ‘holding back’ the workflow. But I would remind myself that because I was new, it was ok to make mistakes and ask questions. 

My experience of working remotely was certainly illuminating and revealing to me. I liked the comfort of working from my bedroom and not having the stresses of a “real-life” work environment. I did enjoy the extra time to sleep in because I didn’t have to get up early and ride the bus to campus. But it was also challenging and stressful for me. The fear of not doing something correctly and letting people down loomed over me on each shift, increasing my anxiety of trying to be a good worker. I also experienced technical issues that were hard to solve and were a lengthy process to get them resolved. But I learned that constant communication with your co-workers and boss most definitely helps things run smoothly. I’ll honestly say that I sort of missed being in a “real-life” work environment. Working remotely may be viewed as easier since it is done from home, but I stress that it also has its challenges. Fortunately, little by little, I am learning the ropes of the job remotely — with some help, of course.

Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Work from Home

Will working from home become permanent? – The San Diego Union-Tribune

Mark Zuckerberg is moving Facebook toward a substantially remote workforce over the next decade, making changes permanent that began in the past few months.

Within 10 years, Zuckerberg told The Wall Street Journal he expects as much as half of Facebook’s employees — who currently number more than 45,000 — to work from home.

There are also many other examples of working from home becoming the norm: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently told employees they could work from home permanently. Other smaller tech companies have announced similar proposals.

Q: Will other major corporate players eventually shift away from offices?


Gary London, London Moeder Advisors

NO: At least not over the long term. Until a vaccine is applied, certainly liberal work-at-home options will be all the rage. Post vaccine, I expect that much of the work force will return to their office, albeit in different ways. I think we will see a great prevalence of flex hours, shared or ‘hoteling’ space and other innovations in our work space and time. This will translate into somewhat lower levels of demand for office space. but I do not expect that most companies will abandon the office, where ideas and networks are hatched and enhanced, for the isolation of the home, Zoom or no Zoom.

Phil Blair, Manpower

YES: It has been quite an eye opener to most employers how quickly and successfully their entire staffs have transitioned to working remotely. And now that the technology is in place it is very easy to reinvent what their workforce should look like. But there is a broad range of working remote options. From jobs where eye contact with the client is essential to workers, to staff being based anywhere in the world, and everything in-between. What combination is right for what businesses will be finessed over the next several years.


Alan Gin, University of San Diego

YES: Many companies are finding out that they can be successful even with their employees working at home. Allowing employees to work from home reduces the need for costly office space and will be beneficial to workers who want the flexibility that working from home allows. There are negative ramifications for the economy in terms of businesses that cater to people who work in offices, such as restaurants and clothing stores. There is also some worry about the impact of social isolation.

Reginald Jones, Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation

YES: The shift to employees working away from offices ushered by COVID-19 has accelerated an already emerging trend. Measuring outcomes, companies are likely to cite operating savings, reduced employee commuting (helping the environment, too), and more time on tasks that yield increased productivity. Companies probably will not have a 100 percent away from office policy, but some periodic teaming in the workplace. Employers must be conscious to maintain innovative thinking with increased use of virtual platforms.


Lynn Reaser, Point Loma Nazarene University

YES: The pandemic has demonstrated that remote and decentralized workforces can operate effectively, although more for some than others. Employees may be able to stay in parts of the country closer to family members with lower housing prices, while firms can save on the high wage costs of large cities. Firms may allow employees to work some days in the office and other days from home. Giving workers more options should raise job satisfaction and their productivity.

Austin Neudecker, Weave Growth

YES: Remote work has long been a trend and the pandemic only accelerated its adoption. I have worked remotely (including with co-founders) for the past eight years. There is a limit, as only certain types of work can be done remotely, and even then, important aspects of team rapport, happenstance, cross-team conversations, etc. can be lost. It will be interesting to see the impacts as more companies get comfortable with the distance. Reliance on tech to communicate and monitor seems obvious, but how will this impact urbanization?


Bob Rauch, R.A. Rauch & Associates

YES: Working from home is popular with today’s employees as it provides for a better work/life balance. Technology companies will default to this remote option more than others but office interactions are critical to productivity. Naturally, this will be a blow to office space if it happens too quickly but this virus has jump-started lots of changes. Many of the changes will occur due to financial considerations as we enter a fairly deep recession.

Norm Miller, University of San Diego

N/A: Yes and No. Some firms can easily transition to working at home like call centers for airlines or computer support, or when most workers are in sales, out and about. Many back-office functions such as book keeping and admin support can be done remotely. But, where innovation, collaboration, team work, mentoring, and escaping from kids at home matter, not to mention the serendipitous meeting, then these functions will be better served in the in-person office, at least for now.


James Hamilton, UC San Diego

YES: There are big set-up costs in figuring out how to do things online. But once you’ve worked out the details, it’s an option that can be used even when we return to normal. There will be pressure to hold down expenses for some time, and cutting back on business travel is one way to do that. For the time being, I’m not sure we have any alternative but to try to minimize face-to-face interaction.

David Ely, San Diego State University

YES: Multiple factors will drive the transition of work away from traditional offices for some businesses. These include demand to work remotely by employees who prefer to live in less expensive locations and want to avoid long commutes. Businesses can recruit employees from anywhere and save by renting less office space. Organizational ability to use tools to work remotely will increase rapidly during 2020 and will improve even more once 5G technology becomes the norm.


Ray Major, SANDAG

YES: Although not all jobs can be done remotely, the biggest lesson learned from the pandemic is that technology has enabled many people to be productive without being in an office. Companies big and small will likely start to reconsider office space costs and the approach to hiring new talent. The definition of the “best” fit candidate will no longer be determined by geography.

Chris Van Gorder, Scripps Health

YES: Telecommuting has proven itself a practical, beneficial option for many companies, including Scripps. As a result of COVID-19 requirements, Scripps has about 2,700 employees working remotely, which is 18 percent of our workforce. In addition, we have conducted 100,000 patient televisits, 56 percent of which have been video visits. Almost all of our meetings now are virtual. While health care will never be completely virtual, I don’t believe we will ever return to a pre-COVID state — much of our telecommuting will continue and even grow.


Kelly Cunningham, San Diego Institute for Economic Research

YES: The trend toward work conducted remotely was ongoing, especially as technology advances made it more possible and efficient to being done. The shutdown pandemic only accelerated this through necessity and demonstrating the capacity of doing work from home. Top companies offering this will become even more talented attracting the best workers wanting the flexibility. Talent will therefore leave major cities to areas with more appealing lifestyle, vibrant culture, and lower costs and stresses of living.

Jamie Moraga, IntelliSolutions

YES: Many employers are seeing work from home (WFH) as a viable option; there’s a cost savings to reduced office space and workers are demonstrating during this pandemic that they can remain productive. There are many tools and applications now available (and will continue to be developed) to be able to foster virtual collaboration, communication, and innovation without having everyone gather face-to-face (F2F) in an office. There will be companies that will continue to stick with traditional offices due to the nature of their business or they prefer F2F interaction, but many will now give WFH serious consideration.


Have an idea for an EconoMeter question? Email me at

Follow me on Twitter: @PhillipMolnar

Online Work

Work from home: Here’s how to use Google tools for getting it done – The South African

South Africa has been in level 5 and level 4 lockdown for about 70 days now and most of us have settled in a work-from-home routine. It wasn’t easy but just look at us.

Most employees adjusted to working with having kids, pets and partners around; we’ve overcome erratic Wi-Fi connections, power outages and a thousand other challenges.

While many initially planned for a short term work-from-home routine, it’s now becoming clear that we may have to continue like this for some time to come.

It’s about time we take our work-from-home skills to the next level, let’s call it WFH 2.0. Google suggests following these suggestions to master this WFH business.

WFH 2.0: Getting things done

work from home google
Image via Adobe Stock

Use Google Groups to stay in touch

An email list that includes all your team members lets you quickly share information, and a chat room can be used for faster-moving discussions. It’s super easy to create an email list.

Use Google Groups to create an online group for your team, which will enable you to email each other, host group discussions, collaborate on projects, organise meetings find people with similar hobbies.

Google Drive: Sharing permissions

Update sharing permissions on important documents to ensure that collaborators can easily edit and comment as needed. A document can be shared for collaboration with up to 100 people.

Take this one step further by creating a shared drive where your team can store, search, and access files from any device. From Google Drive, simply click on the ‘New’ button. You can also change member access levels, or remove certain members.

Practising good workplace etiquette

Just because your team isn’t at the office doesn’t mean they’re not busy. It’s always a good idea to check calendars before scheduling meetings. You can read more about accessing someone’s calendar here.

You can also set up working hours in Calendar to inform your co-workers of your own availability. Simply go to Settings, then General and select Working Hours. From there, select Enable Working Hours and select the days and time.

Google calendar
Image via Google

Schedule meetings now

Set up calendar invites, create an agenda ahead of time. Simply go to your Google Calendar to create events, or sync invites straight from the email or third-party application.

You can also attach relevant docs to the invite from withing the Calendar before sharing it with all relevant parents. If anyone isn’t familiar with video conferencing, simply point them to Google’s how-to guide.

This is a useful feature because if a team member tries to schedule a meeting with you outside of your working hours, they’ll receive a warning notification.

Find the right set-up for you

You might need to try a few different configurations before you discover how to stay focused and not distract others. I’ve personally come to rely integrations with Google Calendar (such as Monday, Trello and ToDoist) to stay on top of things.

If, like me, you’re not all that fond of video calls and conferencing, Google’s blog post with six useful tips might just be the thing you need to take you from video-call-hesitant to video-call-pro.

If you need some help settling in with WFH 1.0, follow this link to learn about sticking to a work schedule, finding the right spot for your home office and how not to be the “just quickly” person. Protection Status

Louisiana gumbo

Lettres d’amour: Southern Comfort – My New Orleans

A young filmmaker learns the true beauty of home

The irony of South Louisiana’s beauty is that it can’t go unnoticed, but it can easily be undervalued.

There’s so much food, music and culture to digest, but for someone that’s been in these swampy lands all of his life, I didn’t have much hunger for it.

My lack of appetite for home stemmed from the life plan I drew up and tweaked while in high school. I wasn’t sure of exactly what I wanted to do in life, but I was ultimately convinced that it couldn’t be done here at home in Louisiana. My teenage self just knew that if I, a young black man, wanted to be anything, I would have to move away. Regardless of how much I love good seafood, trail rides and swingin’ out, there’s one intimidating character flaw that Louisiana shares with the rest of the country but tends to hone a little more: the black man’s plight. Having experienced and witnessed that plight was enough reason for me to believe that home wasn’t good enough, and it was detrimental to the young me seeing this dream of “southern comfort” being sold and realized by a lot of my peers while it felt so unattainable for someone like me.

So I graduated high school, packed up and started this nomadic period of my life trying to find a new home with as much beauty as Louisiana but with more support and resources to help me fulfill my ambitious dreams. I left home knowing that it was beautiful but not fully understanding its value. The resources and support, I found abroad. I found beauty as well, but it wasn’t Louisiana beauty, and no matter how many places I voyaged to, I couldn’t find any place that felt like Louisiana felt. It was silly of me to think that Louisiana’s beauty was in direct correlation to the swamps and that no other place felt like home because it didn’t have a bayou and a pirogue. Although partially true, I realized that the beauty I saw in Louisiana wasn’t just nature or the food. I realized that it was a mix of a lot of things, just like a gumbo where every single ingredient matters. The beauty lies in our food, culture and music … our festivals, basins and bayous … economy, schools, teams, art and community.

Most importantly, Louisiana beauty lies in our family. The way we come together and combat plight, illness, gentrification, natural disaster loss, economic recessions and opposing sports teams is what makes Louisiana truly beautiful. Now that I no longer undervalue the beauty of home, I’ve returned. I can fight the plight I once feared along with my peers at home while in southern comfort.



Online Work

Georgia Love voices concerns for The Bachelor Locklan Gilbert – Daily Mail

Channel 10 has reportedly resumed filming The Bachelor with new social distancing rules, months after production halted amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

But former Bachelorette star Georgia Love, 31, has expressed her concerns for The Bachelor Locklan Gilbert’s chances at finding love. 

Speaking to Herald Sun, Georgia said she would have struggled to deal with the new social distancing rules.  

'I don't know that I would have coped': The Bachelorette's Georgia Love, 31, (pictured) has voiced her concerns for The Bachelor Locklan Gilbert as he restarts filming with new COVID-19 social distancing rules

'I don't know that I would have coped': The Bachelorette's Georgia Love, 31, (pictured) has voiced her concerns for The Bachelor Locklan Gilbert as he restarts filming with new COVID-19 social distancing rules

‘I don’t know that I would have coped’: The Bachelorette’s Georgia Love, 31, (pictured) has voiced her concerns for The Bachelor Locklan Gilbert as he restarts filming with new COVID-19 social distancing rules

‘I don’t know how it will work, I’m quite a tactile person. I don’t know that I would have coped,’ she told the publication.

Georgia, who met her now-fiancé Lee Elliot on the series in 2016 said: ‘A huge thing for me is being able to feel the butterflies and chemistry between two people.’

‘You can tell if you’ve got a good connection when you kiss, I think that’s really important,’ she continued.

'You can tell if you've got a good connection when you kiss': The former reality star said she would have struggled to deal with the new social distancing rules. Pictured with her fiancé Lee Elliott

'You can tell if you've got a good connection when you kiss': The former reality star said she would have struggled to deal with the new social distancing rules. Pictured with her fiancé Lee Elliott

‘You can tell if you’ve got a good connection when you kiss’: The former reality star said she would have struggled to deal with the new social distancing rules. Pictured with her fiancé Lee Elliott

It comes after it was revealed that Channel 10 had reportedly adapted to a series of extreme safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Filming reportedly resumed earlier this month after it was postponed in March.

On Thursday, an insider has claimed they witnessed a virtual date between the former Australian Survivor star and several of his contestants this week via video link.

Safety first! It comes after it was revealed that Channel 10 had reportedly adapted to a series of extreme safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Pictured Locklan 'Locky' Gilbert

Safety first! It comes after it was revealed that Channel 10 had reportedly adapted to a series of extreme safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Pictured Locklan 'Locky' Gilbert

Safety first! It comes after it was revealed that Channel 10 had reportedly adapted to a series of extreme safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Pictured Locklan ‘Locky’ Gilbert

The virtual date was supposedly taking place over Zoom, a video conferencing program that has surged in popularity during the global crisis. 

Speaking on his radio show, Matt Acton explained his friend had been working from home when he looked out his window and noticed the bizarre sight.

‘[My friend said that] there was, on a picnic rug, a girl on a laptop with a TV crew. They’re filming, and she was on a date with The Bachelor,’ he said.  

Is kissing still allowed? It is unclear what measures are being taken by Warner Bros. to protect cast and crew from COVID-19. Pictured: The Bachelor 2019's Matt Agnew and Chelsie McLeod

Is kissing still allowed? It is unclear what measures are being taken by Warner Bros. to protect cast and crew from COVID-19. Pictured: The Bachelor 2019's Matt Agnew and Chelsie McLeod

Is kissing still allowed? It is unclear what measures are being taken by Warner Bros. to protect cast and crew from COVID-19. Pictured: The Bachelor 2019’s Matt Agnew and Chelsie McLeod 

Digital Marketing

10 digital marketing trends and innovations for 2020 – Augusta Free Press

marketing strategy

(© terrymorris –

Technology has made the world a smaller place; it has allowed people and businesses to connect across continents. The sharing of information and ideas has never been easier with new technology appearing regularly. You can explore the trends in 2020 to look out for in digital marketing by reading below.

1. AI in Digital Marketing

AI refers to machines and robots performing some of the same tasks as humans. It uses a combination of features such as Chatbots, and voice assistance to help people get answers or solve queries. Siri is one of the best-known examples of AI intelligence that’s currently in use.

AI robots can take orders and carry them out behind the scenes. It’s possible by obtaining data through sensors and input factors programmed into its software. Some digital agencies use AI in helping professionals track and improve advertising campaigns.

2. Personalization

To stand out from the media noise, you need to personalize your marketing. This means creating customized content and emails to customers. 63% of consumers get annoyed with generic advertising campaigns, and 90% say that they find personalization appealing.

3. Visualization

Research has shown that people prefer visual content over text-rich information. You can see this in the growth of social platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest. Customers tend to remember visuals easier than the name of a product.

You can make sure that your business benefits by adding infographics, images, and videos to your text information. These make it more interesting and help get your message across.

4. Messaging Apps

Arguably one of the top digital marketing trends for 2020 is social messaging apps. Whatsapp alone has 1.6 Billion active users, and the Facebook messenger has 1.3 Billion. It makes sense that your business would want to take advantage of these platforms.

It’s a great way to message customers directly, adding value to the user experience. People also expect businesses to have a messaging app presence, as it allows them to contact the company directly and quickly.

5. Video Marketing

Videos are one of the most popular ways that customers prefer to learn about products. It’s an essential b2b marketing trend in 2020, and will likely continue to grow for years to come. It’s not only YouTube that you can use to reach customers. You can also incorporate videos into a live Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram broadcast.

6. Social Influencers

This is a type of word-of-mouth marketing that uses key leaders in a particular market to boost your brand. Sometimes influencers can be celebrities, but often some influencers have massive marketing clout only on social media. They are social media personalities that have a considerable following in a particular niche and can help spread the word about your business on their channels.

7. Insight-driven Marketing

Businesses need to take advantage of the data that they’ve collected from various digital marketing sources—using analytics and insight to drive business performance, optimizing results from digital marketing. This data-driven marketing will provide the business with a direction and help it recognize problems that need fixing.

8. Chatbots

A chatbot is, in effect, a virtual concierge. Prevalent in online gambling industries, the bot is programmed to pick up specific phrases and keywords to handle common queries. If you’ve ever played any online casino games, such as enjoying free bingo Canada online, you would have seen the little windows that pop up for a live chat.

More often than not, there is a chatbot that will initially reply. Customers prefer to use a chatbot rather than talking to a live person. Businesses need to understand this and offer Chatbots on websites.

9. Interactive Content Marketing

Anything that customers can swipe, click on, or interact in any way online will draw their attention to your business. Quizzes, polls, and 360-degree videos are beneficial for online marketing.

It is especially popular in affiliate marketing trends for 2020. It allows companies to share new products, training material, and information with remote parties in an engaging manner without the affiliate having to be present.

10. Immersive VR and AR Technology

Although still in its infancy, this technology is set to be the most significant marketing upset for businesses. Imagine your customer sitting on their couch, exploring your showroom in a fully immersive environment. Think of gamblers playing a live poker game inside a real-life casino right from the comfort of home.

According to our gaming expert, Daniel Bennet, it’s a technology that will change not only how the gambling industry does its marketing but also how it presents its products. He says it’s only the tech cost that is currently still keeping it out of mainstream use. From sampling to purchasing, VR and AR make the process seamless and instantaneous.


There is no doubt that any business that wants to remain relevant in 2020 needs to study it’s current marketing initiatives and align with trends.



uva basketball team of destiny

Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Feedback from buyers: “Got the Book in the Mail Saturday, and could not put it down! Great read and great photography as well! Love all of the books I’ve received, but hands down, this is my favorite!” – Russell

Buy here.

Online Work

Work on Your Family Tree With These Free Online Genealogy Resources – Lifehacker

Illustration for article titled Work on Your Family Tree With These Free Online Genealogy Resources
Photo: Shutterstock

Whether you come from a family that proudly displays their coat of arms in the foyer, or knows very little about where they came from, you may have some questions about your background. Being stuck at home thanks to the coronavirus pandemic means that we may have more time on our hands, but conducting genealogical research isn’t as straightforward as a simple Google search.


Though many historical records have been digitized, some require you to be inside a library to access them. Now that we don’t have that option, libraries like the New York Public Library are making some of its genealogical research resources available online—including their reference librarians. Here are a few options:

Use the National Archives

Regardless of where you’re located and if you have a library card, you’ll be able to access a large number of genealogical research resources through the National Archives. These include:


Whether you’re a professional genealogist or looking into your family for the first time, this is a great first stop for online information.

Remote access to databases

Databases like Ancestry,, America’s Historical Newspapers, The New York Times Historical Database and the African American Historical Serials Collection are typically only available to use for within the physical walls of the library. But in the midst of the pandemic, the NYPL has made these available to their library card holders regardless of location. Check with your local library to see what you have access to through their system.


There are also a variety of online resources anyone can access (without a library card), including the NYPL’s online research guides for genealogy, like:


Ask a genealogist

If you’re stumped and still have questions about your research, librarians at the NYPL who specialize in genealogy are available to answer them. You can contact them via email at or use their web form. According to the NYPL, at this point, most of the questions posed to their librarians have been answered online, so it’s worth a shot.