Daily Blog: Day 34

By Simon Richardson (Editor)

Business365 editor, Simon Richardson – like so many other people on the Island – is working from home. He’s been keeping a daily blog about the experience and reflecting on the strange times we find ourselves in as a result of the Coronavirus epidemic.

Working from Home: Day 34

Another weekend over and a new ‘working from home week’ has begun. I hope you had a good break and enjoyed the limited new freedoms introduced on Friday. I certainly did. Went to Ballaugh Curraghs for a spot of Wallaby spotting on Saturday. Final score after three hours of almost total solitude, eight wallabies and zero humans. In the current circumstances I call that a perfect result. The fact that I lost my wife in the ‘Manx Everglades’ for over 40 minutes is another story – thank heavens for mobile phones!

Sunday it was a quick trip up the road to Maughold to look for seals. Spotted a few – along with a handful of people – though nobody came close to breaching social distancing rules.

Having worked from home for over a month now it’s amazing how quickly the new regime has become the norm. The weekend definitely feels like a weekend and Monday feels like a Monday – need I say more? 

I read an interesting piece yesterday that described the Covid19 lockdown as ‘the world’s biggest psychological experiment.’ It’s estimated that around 2.6 billion of us have been playing our part in it.

The respected medical journal ‘The Lancet’ has reviewed around twenty-four studies carried out around the world into the effects on humans of being quarantined. The tests produced remarkably similar data showing that people are likely to develop a wide variety of symptoms of psychological stress and disorder, including: Low mood, insomnia, stress, anxiety, anger management issues, irritability and emotional exhaustion. Throw children into the mix and results are even more toxic. One report claimed that 28 per cent of parents in lockdown with children could be said to have suffered ‘trauma-related mental health disorder’.

The Coronavirus pandemic lockdowns have spawned ‘peaks of stress’ around things like – the risk of infection, fear of becoming sick or losing a loved one, and financial hardship. History has show that after earlier epidemics there have been large spikes in absenteeism after companies go back to work – just at the time the businesses need maximum output.

The World Economic Forum is so concerned it has made a series of recommendations to Government’s and NGO’s around the globe about measures to negate some of the potential issues. They include:

  • Making sure help interventions are in place to address the needs of large, affected populations.
  • Educating people about the expected psychological impact and reactions to trauma, and that such reactions are normal.
  • Launching a dedicated website to address psychological issues
  • Ensuring people with acute problems can source the help they require.

There will still be many people who consider all of the above to be airy-fairy nonsense. Probably the sort of people who think that injecting disinfectant might prevent them contracting Covid19. 

The reality will – as is usually the case – be somewhere between the two. But what we have to brace ourselves for is a fairly long ride back to any kind of normality. This epidemic has been a seismic shock to the whole world on many different levels. After the earthquake the tremors will inevitably continue for some time.

Footnote: For your information Business365iom.co.uk will be at the Manx Government’s Coronavirus briefings from this afternoon. Today’s conference starts at 4pm and will be streamed live on our website.

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