I certainly don’t need to tell you or anybody else about the surreal and strange environment we are finding ourselves in throughout the world. Although Thailand has not ordered people to self-isolate, by and large the majority of us are anyway. As a working expat the pandemic is having an impact and our group is needing to adapt quickly and plan for the unknown.
My working day is based entirely indoors on my computer and my team and I are in constant contact, ironically I have never felt so close to my team during a period where we are operating apart. We all sense the crisis and everyone seems to be working that little bit harder. Whereas some of my team may have bickered at times, notably when the sales team are trying to rush out invoices and ensure money collection is prompt with my accounts department, today they are working unbelievably well as a unit.
My job is to ensure our business survives and ensure it still performs as well as I can make it. Fundamentally it all comes down to cash flow and protecting profitability – or at worse, minimising any losses that could certainly happen over the next few months. I do not plan any redundancies and want us to work through this crisis as a team, all pulling together.
It has been a very interesting time to evaluate both the operations and strategy of the media within my group.
There is far more care for each other at the moment
What I am reading from news world over is people are discovering the community spirit again and showing care and love for one and other. OK in some countries we had the initial food stock piling, but people were scared and needed to protect themselves. That was understandable, whatever anyone my say – in my humble opinion.
My business has instantly switched to 100% online interaction, as soon as one Skype meeting finishes I am jumping into a Zoom meeting and during this time my messages and emails stack up. When this pandemic forced me to work from home, my gut feeling was an easing of work load as projects and day to day work would slow. It has been anything but that, I have never been so busy. This is a time to make your hours count and fight for your businesses and your team.
What is interesting is previously I would meet people and they either wore formal or at least smart casual. Now when we video call online I am seeing customers and colleagues in the civvies in their homes. I can see their clothes hanging up behind them, beds and even kids running around them as we talk business. For the first time we are inviting each other into a homes and reality with the facade of a smart suit put to one side.
Before hand we would apologise if our kids came into shot on a skype call, now we introduce them.
I must admit though, whenever I go on to a video call I have to reach for a T-Shirt, as I prefer to work topless with the air conditioning switched on only slightly. So however more open I have become, I am not ready to Skype topless quite just yet!!
It means we are treating each other like friends rather than business acquaintances. When kids running into screen when customers are talking it opens up social conversations about families and its actually a very nice experience.
One of the first things that is discussed is how the other person is and how they are coping with Covid-19. Previously the token ‘How are you?’ was just used as politeness before rushing into the meat of the business objective.
How paradoxical, that we have never been further away from each other due to our self-isolation’s, yet we have never been so close and together.
Thinking before we post on social networks!
As expats we are blessed, let’s face it, with a fantastic lifestyle here in Thailand versus our peers back in our domestic countries like the UK. In the past I saw no issue posting on social networks of my family and I traveling the country, relaxing on the beach or around the pool. It was just normal.
Now however, and other expats I have spoken to say the same, it feels the wrong thing to do. We show far more reserve and empathy to friends back in the UK and the likes who are in proper lock down due to this pandemic. An image of me walking along the beach in a tropical location probably doesn’t help my friends spirits to see.
As it stands, I have made the choice to self-isolate my family and I on a remote location on Koh Chang. I think it is a safer environment that where I live in Pattaya and just as importantly creates a far more positive environment. I get to see beautiful sunsets and swim in the sea and it’s wonderful – but I cannot bring myself to overly vlog on my situation as I know others have it far, far worse. Even though it is the reality, I just do not want post too much about my situation out of respect to others.
Think about that statement and be honest. When has any of us on a day to day basis really kept sense checking their actions to make sure it doesn’t make our friends or peers feel bad about their own situations? It’s quite remarkable and wonderful at the same time. Most of the time we all use Facebook, if we are honest with ourselves, to show off a little. As it stands, now we don’t. Well, that’s certainly my observation.
I was on the phone just earlier to a resort owner on Koh Chang. He said he has a Whatsapp group that has a mixture of guys from Thailand and Europe as members. He said he cannot bring himself to post images of him cycling through the roads of Koh Chang as it some how rubs it in his friends faces.
The point to all this is it looks like we are all appreciating, caring and thinking of others far more than we ever had. However bad this pandemic gets, there will be a recovery and let us hope this new found empathy for others sticks when things return back to normal.