Weekend Poll: Pandemic – A snapshot in time

We’ve made it through another week of business not as usual, everyone. Many of you are juggling the demands of business and personal lives as never before, in challenging times. 

On March 2, 2020, I began writing about COVID-19, also known as coronavirus. The series began with one of my Weekend Polls, and I asked readers to offer insights on how the virus was impacting business continuity and travel plans. I developed that article and Weekend Poll to offer timely information on the situation as we understood it, and to relay and provide links to information being made available to the public.

That was then; this is now

I published the results of the March 2nd Weekend Poll on the 12th of this month. I also wrote that the sands were continuing to shift. Depending on where you live, your insights and responses could well have been significantly different from one day – or even hour – to the next.

As such, I committed to publishing an almost-identical Weekend Poll this week, in order that we could track how things were changing.

Living and working in times of a pandemic

We now recognise that we’re in the midst of a global pandemic.

Be aware of cyber risks, particularly when WFH

When I present on cybersecurity, I routinely caution that criminals’ tactics are constantly evolving. That’s happening now, with some phishing emails giving the false appearance of being sent by the CDC or other official organisations.

I published a phishing advisory for you on March 15th, and you need to remain vigilant – particularly if you’re working from home (WFH) and on a network without the security of your employer’s firewalls.

The pandemic’s impacts

I provided readers an update on the situation here in Vancouver, Canada, and am  aware that readers in other cities and countries will be experiencing the pandemic differently. Situations that may be emergent or only anticipated in one country may already be facts of life for people in other countries.

With this in mind, I reached out in the past few days to a small number of the terrific network and professional association leaders around the world. We’ve heard much about how this virus has impacted Italy, and I shared my interview with Italian friend and leader Vania Valessi.

For insights on what others are experiencing, click here and here for two articles featuring interviews with Vania and other leaders: Christine in Australia, Marcela in Brazil, Katherine in Canada, Nina in Finland, Fiona in Ireland, Vicki in New Zealand, Victoria in the UK, and Juanita in the USA.


We can be social, albeit at a distance. We’re learning from and supporting one another, and you’ll already have experienced this.

It’s early days in New Zealand, yet Vicki Faint’s employer, Victoria University of Wellington, already had a checklist in place for employees who work from home. Vicki is the National President of AAPNZ, the Association of Administrative Professionals New Zealand, and sent me a screen shot of that checklist. Drawing on the University’s checklist and my own experience, I drafted and published a template you may want to review with colleagues to adapt for your organisation’s use. Click here to access this Working from Home checklist.

In England, EPAA member Mary Johnson has shared resources for people who are new to Microsoft Teams – saving assistants, their executives and other colleagues time and frustration associated with learning curves. Mary readily agreed that I could share the Quick Start Guide she and a colleague developed for their workplace, AECOM.

Business continuity and more: let’s hear from you

Now, it’s time to hear from you again. Our living and working environments have evolved so rapidly and significantly since March 2nd. Face to face meetings and air travel are, for now, indicators of simpler times, and so this Weekend Poll contains some tweaked questions to reflect current realities.

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How is the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic impacting your world?

YesNoI haven't yet, but that's a good idea
no changesno travel at alldomestic travel onlyno travel to impacted regionsno international travelassessed on case-by-case basis
Business as usualWe are sorting out WFH optionsRotating periods of WFH & officeSplit workforce; some at office & some WFHAll employees working remotelyMajority of employees working remotelyWe have temporarily closed; I am out of work
I'm working from the office and so is my principalI'm working from the office but my principal isn'tI'm working from home & so is my principalI'm working from home & my principal is working from the officeI'm rotating between office & home
We're relying on Microsoft Teams; we used it beforeWe're relying on Microsoft Teams; it's new to usWe are using other meeting software
Google HangoutsGoToMeetingJabberSkypeTeamsWebExZoom
Yes; it was already in placeYes; it's been developed because of the pandemicNoI don't know
YesNoNot that I'm aware ofNot at this point; it's under discussion
YesI keep my lists current; don't know about othersMy employer already does this on a routine basisNo
YesWe didn't until now; they're being developed or have just been developedNoI don't know
YesWe didn't until now; they're being developed or have just been developedNoI don't know
YesNoNot to this point; that may change, depending on how long it takes to contain the virusNot that I'm aware of
NoNo; I routinely wash my hands and cough/sneeze into tissue or my upper sleeveYes; I'm making an effort to not touch my face if I haven't just washed my handsYes; I'm washing my hands more frequently
NoNo; I don't travel much anywayYes; I have had to cancel plansYes; I was going to travel this year but won'tTo some degree; I'm still planning to travel, but will wait to finalise plans
I've never bought it and don't plan toI've never bought it, but will in futureI buy trip-specific insurance with each bookingI/my family has annual travel insurance coverage





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