Working From Home

When the COVID-19 lockdowns reached their peak, at-home workers across America turned to Zoom meetings to get things done. The efficiency increases within these companies and the response of their home-bound employees have not gone unnoticed. Many companies are seriously considering (or firmly planning) “Zoom forever” even after the pandemic has passed. And surprisingly, the majority of workers are okay with this!

Working from home has its advantages: money saved on restaurants, parking, Uber rides, gasoline, clothing and daycare. Just roll out of bed, look good from the waist up for Zoom, work in socks, play with your kids, and graze from the fridge at will. Then there’s taking a mid-day bike ride, and “not available” days just for yourself or with friends because keeping in touch with the office is a text message or cellphone call away.

But for too many, there’s loneliness. When humans spend too much time alone we can begin to question or doubt our adequacy for accomplishment or the quality of our relationships. It’s human to desire an emotional attachment or connection with others. When we lack that emotional support, we can feel empty and lonely.

Feelings of loneliness can affect our physical and mental well-being. It can cause us to hang back from conversation or even withdraw during social events. Loneliness gives rise to depression and a feeling that we are misunderstood or disliked. This gives rise to insecurity, self-doubt, negative thoughts, and increasing isolation.

According to a Gallup poll in January 2021, 56% of U.S. workers always or sometimes worked from home, and by April it was 70%. Today, it’s more like 33% “always” working from home, but the poll says that 44% prefer to work from home and 39% want to work at the office. It seems that convenience trumps the commute.

How will this last year change the landscape of small business? What long term effects could it have on our employees’ mental health? No one is sure, but awareness is a good place to start. Bottom line is that federal law entitles all employees to a safe workplace, making the coming months very interesting to watch.

Winding Down 2020

Thanksgiving morning, kids across America rushed to find a comfy spot in front of their television sets. Armed with steaming cups of hot cocoa, they settled in to watch the annual pageantry of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade with its bands, clowns, music, balloons and huge floats. Screech! Not so fast. It’s 2020. No crowds, no onlookers, and no people were allowed to attend the Covid version of this year’s reimagined parade.

America isn’t particularly happy this year. According to a study, Ohio ranks in the middle of the road for happiness. Out of 50 states, we rank as the 35th happiest state based on our overall well-being and satisfaction with life based on work (41), emotional (32), and community/environment (25). Overall, Hawaii is the happiest and West Virginia the unhappiest. About work, Utah is the happiest and Louisiana is the least happy.

As Ohioans, we are coping with the State’s social gathering orders set by Governor DeWine but some of us are also feeling a bit worn down both emotionally and physically. 

So as we barrel towards a socially-distanced Christmas season and New Year, let’s celebrate with hope and resilience. We may find ourselves reconsidering who we are and what we value; and perhaps, it might even help us to discover a better version of our pre-Covid selves.

As we at DLMoneyMatters move towards an end to 2020 with Thanksgiving and Christmas and Covid vaccines on our mind, we want to give a heartfelt “thank you” to those small businesses who trust us to do their accounting and bookkeeping, and also to the families who trust us to handle their daily money management needs. Thank you for helping us grow our accounting and bookkeeping side of the house, and for giving us the opportunity to make a difference in your success.

What Coronavirus Can Teach Us

Everyone has had their own personal experiences with the COVID-19 virus that raged worldwide in 2020. This month, of the 330,000,000 United States population, approximately 460,000 or 1.2% of the population (as of this writing) have contracted the virus. About 2% of those have died from complications caused by the virus. 

While many were sick and too many died, no one was left untouched by its fury. What have we learned? What are the takeaways for the Coronavirus Pandemic generation? What will we tell our grandchildren? How has it changed our habits and thinking?

We’ve learned to respect data

We learned that data is a more effective communicator than personal opinions and emotions. It was the data that helped nations all over the world to make decisions, though perhaps in some cases we did not react quickly enough.

We learned that we really need one another

Science has always taught that we humans have a deep need to be around other people. A homeless man seen walking painfully down an empty street in NYC, when asked if he needed money for food or medicine, replied simply, “nope, just lonely.” We are social beings, we need one another.

We learned to love technology

From the TV news reports, to Chromebook computers handed out for homebound school kids, to FaceTime and Zoom, we stayed connected. Our devices held us together, allowed students to keep learning, educators teaching, broadcasters reporting, and families conferencing online. Live streaming and binge watching were never as popular. Technology united us.

We learned to wash our hands

We’ve always known that soap removes dirt, grime, and grease, but now we know it also destroys some bacteria, and especially viruses — as long as we wash vigorously for at least 20 seconds or as long as it takes to sing a whole verse of Happy Birthday. 

We learned that life will never be the same again

Not in our lifetime has a single worldwide event touched so many of us. Even World Wars were fought in far-off places by only a few, economic depressions recovered, dictators came and went, and even though we live in the nuclear age, we have yet to blow ourselves up.

When we grow old we will tell our grandchildren about a tiny virus no one could see, feel or touch; that brought business to its knees, shattered world economies, and shuttered the windows of socialization. Then we will tell them about our bravery, determination, and realization that we really need one another. We’ll talk about the heroes who found ways for us to survive and ultimately we’ll talk about the value of compassion, and likely…progress.