March 16, 2020

Operation Separation:
Navigating the Coronapocalypse


It’s Monday at SRH and the parade of weekly kick-off meetings marches on as usual…with one difference: nobody’s at the office.

For us, today is day one of “Operation Separation” – a sticky little name I came up with over the weekend for the new WFH policy we’ve instituted amid the COVID-19 outbreak (at times like this I think it’s good to hold onto some humor).

The policy itself is quite simple:

While daily activities continue as planned, all team members are instructed to stay the f*** at home until further notice in the mounting interest of health and safety. Could be one week. Could be one month. Could be three months. Whatever it takes to get an accurate handle on the scope of this developing situation. Office upkeep and support teams will remain fully compensated during this time as well.

The logic that went into this decision was simple too. As business leaders (and just people), we have a responsibility to help “flatten the curve” wherever possible. We can all do our part, especially since we are fortunate enough to work in an industry that generally allows for it.

We have cool gadgets and gizmos like cloud drives, servers and video conference portals that make live meetings, collaborative brainstorms and file sharing a breeze while working remotely.

It’s a little more involved for designers and editors whose jobs require more hardware, but we’re not talking about 5-axis milling machines or ion particle accelerators. These workstations can be easily transported in one tidy carload and set up at home in mere hours. We gave our team Friday afternoon + the weekend to do just this, so we could hit the ground running this morning. And that’s just what happened.

Meanwhile, clients were also notified of our temporary foray into hermitry (or is it hermitism? idk), and nary a concern nor objection was raised, because we are all in this together and our fellow humans appreciate their fellow humans being mindful of fellow humans.

So here we are. It could ultimately be an overreaction that has some kinks and costs (talk to your local sports teams about that), but the cost of an under-reaction clearly seems too steep by comparison.

As real-life scary stories pour in from countries where the response was either too little or too late (or both), the conflicting perspectives here at home are shifting into a more singular narrative by the day: this will get worse before it gets better, and “there be dragons” down the road lacking preventative measures. Just peep these simulations.

That’s why we’re taking the proverbial medicine. It’s not panic, it’s prevention. We’ll likely have to do it anyway by state or federal mandate if the trajectory holds… so might as well act now before it’s too late. If we’re laughing about this in a few months, we played our cards right.

Anyway, that’s been our thinking. I share it simply as a reference point, as we all chart our own course through the Coronapocalypse.

And so the voyage begins, from the captain’s deck of my living room. Day one. Stay safe everyone!