Back to Work Business as usual– Sorta!

ArLyne Diamond's Profile

It’s so mixed up.  More and more employees are working from home.  Programs like Zoom are helping us connect and pressing zillions of buttons on our telephone actually gets us transferred to the “right” person who is working from their home.

What would we do without technology!

Plexiglass screens are on everyone’s desk, or station.  Dedicated employees go around spraying and wiping and sanitizing.  Elbow or fist bumping has taken the place of hand-shaking and hugs of any sort are verboten.

Free food and drink smorgasbords have been replaced by sterile options.  It reminds me of the olden days when you had the Automat.  More and more vending machines appear in and around cafeterias.

When interviewing clients I’ve found a huge range of reactions.  Some people strongly resent the restrictions, others think they are not stringent enough.  Some are glad to be able to work from home, others are lonely and depressed.  No one thinks that work has become more efficient.

Big companies – and we have many of them in Silicon Valley – are more able to absorb the loss of business and income.  Smaller businesses and professional practices have suffered financially - horribly.  Too many have closed their doors for good.  Others have had to take out additional mortgages on their homes to meet payroll and survive.

Paranoia creates prejudice and discrimination

Here in Silicon Valley we have many employees (and neighbors) born in China and other Asian countries and many of Asian descent that have been living here for generations.  We’ve been working alongside these people for years.  YET, horribly enough, there are those who are blaming these co-workers for the virus and/or avoiding them assuming they are carriers of the virus.  Paranoia abounds – and discrimination is the result.  Unfortunately, I see it in several different work-groups.

Perhaps we all need a reminder of the way people of German and Japanese descent were treated during World War II.   We’ve probably all been taught about the interment camps that Japanese-American people were forced into.  Those of German descent were also treated badly (although not forced out of their homes and into camps.).  Many lost their jobs, were not waited on in local stores, and were victims of hate crimes.

My mother was a volunteer for some organization – I think, but am not sure – she was called “An air-raid warden” volunteer. In any event, one of her responsibilities in this volunteer position was to listen at doors (we lived in a high rise apartment building in The Bronx) for short wave radios and if she heard that clicking she had to report it to someone (I know not who – I was young.)

So – when I wonder will it ever be normal again.  So we can laugh and play and socialize with all our friends and neighbors…..