First airlines, then bars and restaurants, leisure centres, DIY stores and now garden centres. All these businesses are paralysed by this microscopic virus, which has replaced their employees’ busy lives with fear and uncertainty. Add a dose of frustration and incredulity at being forced to stay at home, and we get a sense of living in a parallel universe.
Two weeks into this lock-down existence, it's clear that life won’t be getting back to normal any time soon. The peak lies weeks ahead for most developed and developing countries. We have no choice but to stay at home.
For most of us, this throws up a load of conflicting challenges. In normal times I’m working abroad most weeks, but now I’m grounded. The vast majority of our revenue base from the face-to-face workshops we deliver around the world has been wiped out by the travel ban. Today’s the last day of our financial year, which has not ended on the high note we were expecting one month ago.
If, like me, you run your own business, it's time to get creative and reinvent what you do. If you work in the sectors above, your company may not survive this crisis, and it’s likely your priorities will be very different when you can return to work.
These are volatile and confusing times, and the future is far from certain: I've just spoken with a B2B client in Germany who explains that budgets have been put on hold and he awaits guidance from head office about future plans for him and his team.
Yet amidst the gloom, there are reasons to be positive. I’ve been lifted by the public out-pouring of support for our health workers, and by the spirit of volunteers stepping up to help.
During these weeks of forced confinement, we can re-connect with the family, get on our bikes, cook, read, meditate, learn to code or play the piano. We have time to reflect on what we’re really doing with our lives, and time to plan our future when we can get out there again. We have time. Lots of time.