The World’s Largest Work-from-Home Experiment

Remember six weeks ago when everyone was debating whether or not ISE should be cancelled because of the coronavirus? Well, as of today, it seems like the whole world has been cancelled because of it.

[Read the latest COVID-19 stories]

At the time of this writing in mid-March, the rules here in Illinois are that all bars and restaurants are closed for dine-in, all gatherings of 50 or more are prohibited (which required closing all gyms, theaters, and similar locations), and everyone is being urged to stay home and practice social distancing. #AVTweeps across the country are being impacted by this—whether they do the AV for Broadway productions, handle the audiovisual for a major university, or are simply the office’s go-to person for tech support in the conference room.

Many companies across the globe have travel bans in place and/or have simply shut down their offices and mandated that employees work from home. (Future plc, owner of SCN, has done both.) With the exception of the no-travel rule, things have been par for the course for me. SCN’s offices are in New York, so I, being in Illinois, have worked from home for my entire tenure with the company. But telecommuting is a new experience for many.

Being a remote worker allows me to be 10 times more productive than I ever was in an office, and I’m actually surprised to learn that this isn’t the case for all. I’ve seen lots of tips on social media—have a dedicated working space, get dressed for work, follow a schedule, take breaks and go outside, etc. All of these tips and tricks are great, but my largest piece of advice is to stay connected. That’s right, we should all be using the technology we promote and install every day. Using various chat apps, having video calls, even making a plain old phone call will make you feel like you’re connected to your co-workers, clients, and partners.

[Telecommuting Tips for Remote Work]

So jump on that Zoom call and get some face time with your favorite AV professionals. Ping your co-workers on Google Hangouts Chat like you’re yelling across the cube wall. Keep in touch and stay sane—this, too, shall pass.

P.S. Kevin Maltby has created a website as a resource for AV freelancers impacted by measures enacted to help slow the spread of coronavirus. It contains freelance resources, links to free training and more.

Megan A. Dutta

Megan A. Dutta is a pro AV industry journalist, and the former content director for Systems Contractor News (SCN) and Digital Signage Magazine, both Future U.S. publications. Dutta previously served as the marketing communications manager at Peerless-AV, where she led the company’s marketing and communications department. Dutta is the recipient of AVIXA's 2017 Young AV Professional Award and Women in Consumer Technology's 2018 Woman to Watch Award. Dutta is co-founder of Women of Digital Signage, an organization designed to provide a pathway to promote networking, mentoring, and personal growth.