Shanghai is 8 hours ahead of Portugal, but when it comes to the isolation caused by the coronavirus, we are already 2 months ahead. At the invitation of the CCP, I want to share what we have done to adapt to this new reality in terms of life and work.
“In the end you will realise that, all along, the most essential asset was not toilet paper, but bottles of wine.”
The truth is, staying at home is not all that bad. We have the opportunity to spend time with family (something we blame work for not letting us do) and, for an indefinite period of time, we can get away with hanging around in our pyjamas all day. This virus may have brought to light expressions like ‘prophylactic’ and ‘hoarding’, but it also forced us into testing our ability to pair up pyjamas with mismatched patterns. This, and working from home.
In an exceptional situation like this, the pace of work will not be as straightforward and smooth-running as usual. Here, as it coincided with the end of the Chinese New Year, it took a little longer to return to the usual pace. There were peak times and dead times. The important thing is to find the right balance. Working in your pyjama bottoms is sometimes okay; working in bed, not so much. Some people will find that they’re more productive in the morning, while others are more industrious at night. Dance to your own tune, but take care not to abandon your obligations. Take frequent breaks to stretch your legs.
“You will end up going to the window to look outside more often than you imagined you would. Hello darkness, my old friend.”
The fact that you’re in isolation, however, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. You’ll be video-calling your friends more often, and you’ll finally have the time to do the things you always wanted to do. Watch that series that the Netflix algorithm is constantly suggesting. Why not? You want to learn macramé craft work? YouTube will teach you. Make a pizza from scratch? Of course you can. Because in the worst case scenario, pizza is always good, even when it’s bad. In my case, I started to explore Spark AR Studio, which you can use to make face filters. It’s important to remember to use your free time to get out of the coronavirus mood, which includes weaning yourself off the madness of social media (even though you’re most likely reading this on a screen).
Above all, this situation teaches us a lot about the concept of community. Although we are all on an equal footing and in the same boat, there may be those who are more vulnerable. Not only in terms of health, but in terms of financial stability. I’m talking about interns, freelancers, producers or suppliers. This is the time to be more understanding and flexible. More human. We must unite and help each other, so that in the end we can all emerge from this situation.
“It’s not the end of the world. It’s just an opportunity to stop, take a good look at ourselves and change things that are wrong.”
In the long run, when all this is over, you’ll realise that working in an office isn’t so bad after all, that you even miss your colleagues, and that in the end we all have a lot in common – the way, for instance, everyone makes conference calls with a bookshelf full of books in the background.
Here, in the future, there is hope. This week we’ve been informed that we can go out without a mask. Offices have already reopened and, after two months, working from home is no longer mandatory. The only new cases are people who arrived from outside the country. At long last, you can take a deep breath. All of this was possible thanks to the huge effort in testing (at the slightest signs of symptoms people were tested), strict controls in streets and public spaces (measuring body temperature, even for entering supermarkets) and an incredible sense of community spirit in which everyone complied with the isolation policy in an exemplary way.
You can never, therefore, overstate the message: avoid going out, avoid being with friends, and avoid visiting those family members who fall into the most-at-risk group. Think of others when shopping at the supermarket. And above all, for the common good, avoid making puns with the word “Covid”. Both in the present and in the future, we will all thank you for that.
Nuno Dores. 31 years old. Born in Montijo, lives in Shanghai. He doesn’t pronounce his L’s and writes the way he speaks. He is a Freelance Associate Creative Director. In his spare time he chases people on the street with a camera in his hand. He cooks tacos at home every other week.