10 May 2020

The coronavirus has forced millions of people into quarantine and self-isolation that means millions of people are working from home.

DW News on how people cope with working from home and Covid-19 FAQs.

DW News reporter Keo Duga has some tips on workign from home:

  • Take a shower when you get up in the morning.
  • Put some actual clothes on.
  • Make sure everything works before you have to join an online meeting.
  • Set up a separate clean quiet workspace away from distraction.
  • talking face-to-face is the best way to feel less alone.
  • Happy hour can be virtual!

Norbert Gronau – Potsdam University – studying how people work from home

  • Working from home is a huge disadvantage.
  • All travel times are now gone and immediately be replaced by another video conference and another call.
  • The word density is much higher than typical office work where you have to walk from one meeting room to another or where you walk to the cafeteria or have a break at the water cooler or the coffee machine.
  • Are we more productive or are we less productive at home?
  • More productive in some cases because now we can exactly see what the other colleague is talking about because we have the PowerPoint slides or the keynotes on the screen and not eight meters away in a darkened room.
  • On the other hand, what we are focusing on in our research is that creative and knowledge intensive processes need the proximity of other people – they can’t work in the same manner or online and in digital meeting rooms and therefore we are missing something.
  • You cannot achieve the knowledge transfer between video screens – you need the proximity of people and in some of the knowledge intensive processes we have 75% of knowledge transfer by socialization through personal meetings.
  • When all of this is over how do you think this will fundamentally change the way that we work? Will more people work from home permanently?
  • I don’t think so – I think some tasks can be done remotely and some other tasks will need the personal meeting and it will be resumed in full when we are able to travel again.

Questions on the Covid-19 pandemic via science correspondent Dirk Williams

  • To the best of our knowledge the first cases of Covid-19 appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan back in December of 2019.
  • They were closely associated with a wildlife market – coronaviruses can jump from animals to humans and we think that that’s what happened here
  • The SARS virus did the same back in 2002 and 2003 – it was traced back to bats and the civet sold in wildlife markets.
  • We don’t yet know what animals might have acted as intermediaries here but we have seenvery similar coronaviruses in bats and we think that they’re the ultimate reservoir in the wild.
  • How does it spread? Covid-19 is a pretty infectious respiratory disease that’s spread by droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose of someone when they cough or sneeze. That’s why it’s important to stay at least a metre away and preferably farther from anyone who’s coughing or sneezing. Iit doesn’t stay airborne for very long we don’t think but it can remain infectious after landing on surfaces which is why you also need to pay attention to how often you wash your hands. You should try not to touch your face as much as possible.
  • How do I know if I’m infected? The only way to know for sure if you have Covid-19 is to take a test because many of the symptoms are similar to those people experience when they have other respiratory ailments like the flu. In Covid-19 the primary symptoms that people have reported are fever, dry cough and fatigue and then to a lesser extent things like aches, congestion, a sore throat or diarrhea. Some people who catch the disease don’t have any symptoms at all – they’re asymptomatic.
  • This virus is a novel one in humans – no one has any immunity the first time they catch it.
  • Even if someone doesn’t show any symptoms, they still grow infected and can infect others.
  • We don’t yet have any specific vaccines to prevent Covid-19 and we don’t have any medications to treat it so at this point if you are infected there’s no way to interrupt the course of the disease.
  • Tthe best thing to do if you’re infected is to talk with your local medical authorities and follow their advice.
  • If you aren’t in a high-risk group for the disease the chances are very good you’ll return to full health within a couple of weeks.
  • If I’ve had it once can I catch it again in the future? Because this is a new virus we still don’t know much about how the immune system will react to subsequent infections with Covid-19. Doctors assume that catching it will give you some kind of immunity but a big question is exactly how long that immunity will last. Our immunity levels to related coronaviruses like the common colds are not permanent and we don’t really know why.

Covid-19 – Johns Hopkins University

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