One of the most significant aspects of this huge social experiment we unwillingly find ourselves engaged in is that more of us are working from home than at any time in history. So what digital tools are we using to connect, focus and divert ourselves?
Of course Zoom has become the icon of the coronavirus lockdown. It feels like it arrived yesterday, but in fact it was launched in 2011 by the Chinese billionaire Eric Yuan, who is based in California. Here’s a great article about him in Forbes
While it was already enjoying an average of 56,000 downloads a day back in January, usage has soared to the point that it saw 2.13 million downloads in a single day, according to some reports. The following article also gives a useful tip – time your calls for quarter past the hour: read here
One of the most difficult aspects of working from home is staying focused. But don’t worry – there are apps for that, including Google Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, which blocks visits to non-essential websites. The useful Product Hunt blog found a whole bunch more. The most brutal is Flowstate, a writing app that deletes everything if you stop typing for more than five seconds!
More info here
Once work is done, the star tool at the moment is Houseparty. I don’t know about you, but I seem to spend almost every evening enjoying a virtual aperitif with friends or family. It’s probably wrecking my immune system but, hey, morale is important too.
Launched in 2016, Houseparty is now among the most downloaded apps on the Apple Store across large swathes of the world. And the good thing about it is that you don’t have to wake up to a home like this.
Talking of advertising, the industry is responding to this “new normal” with admirable creativity. Of the crop of recent ads depicting social distancing, one of the most touching comes from Energy BBDO. The client plays a suitably discreet background role.
Staying at home has also prompted people to take up traditional crafts. A friend of mine told me that her modest embroidery kit business, Britney Pompadour, has seen a major uptick of customers.
Knitting, already enjoying a resurgence, has suddenly become wildly popular. As have the tips and patterns of knitting influencers like Dana Williams-Johnson of “Yards of Happiness”. But that’s not all. Painting, crocheting, origami and making Barbie zombies are all options according to adult craft websites like “Crafts By Amanda”.
So we may all emerge from confinement with new skills, which is an upside. Some things can’t be replaced, however. Until we see each other in person again, this next ad may help.