Roy Gilbert

Coronavirus and the etiquette of working from home

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Invest in good lighting and don’t invite colleagues to 4am meetings

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At a media briefing in Dublin the HSE has said that there have been 90 suspected cases of Covid-19 tested here, but none have been positive for the virus. Video: Bryan O’Brien

Silicon Valley has been entranced by the idea of “remote working” for decades. For all the billions that Apple , Google , Facebook and their start-up imitators have spent on elaborate headquarters, many software engineers would be happy to swap their starchitect-designed offices for a decent pair of noise-cancelling headphones and work from anywhere.

So while few would be quite so crass as to admit it, China’s coronavirus-enforced lockdowns make for a fascinating case study of remote working on a massive scale. Millions have had to work from home for weeks, prompting a spike in second-hand laptop and tablet sales in China and driving Alibaba’s collaboration app DingTalk to the top of the Chinese App Store charts.

The good news: much of the tech that underpins remote working, such as the video-conferencing service Zoom and the chat app Slack , is finally mature and reliable. The bad news: not much of it comes with a proper user’s manual.

That has left millions to figure out for themselves how to make sure their Slack joke isn’t taken seriously (emoji are your friend) or whether it is acceptable to have laundry visible in the background of a video call with […]

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