Near-term planning for secondary impacts of coronavirus lockdowns [assuming things don't blow up]

post by VipulNaik · 2020-03-21T02:43:50.925Z · score: 106 (37 votes) · LW · GW · 2 comments

Contents

  General ideas
  Impact on day-to-day life experience
  Impact on social life and interaction
  Impact on work life and job security
  Financial impact
  My reasons for writing this document
None
1 comment

In this document, I attempt to discuss the impact of the coronavirus lockdown and how to prepare for it. This is not focused on the direct impact of coronavirus, but rather on the secondary impact of precautions that people are taking, including the lockdowns and the new normal of staying home and working from home.

The document is written in an imperative tone, focused on what to do. However, please don't read into this tone the idea that I am confident of these suggestions and authoritatively pushing them. They are just ideas!

Many of these ideas are self-justifying, but I have not tried to justify their relative importance to other ideas that I have omitted. Subject to time constraints, I'll be happy to answer specific questions challenging the ideas, or comparing them to other ideas I didn't list. If you have a question of that sort, there's a good chance I'll just agree that the idea I didn't list was more important.

My initial draft of this post included some discussion of potential future timelines, but I decided to omit that in order to make the post focus on ideas for dealing with the situation. I may separately write about possible futures.

General ideas

Impact on day-to-day life experience

Since we're talking of a three-month timeline for a lockdown (and possibly much longer), you have to think of a sustainable way to manage your life. It's not a day or two that you can somehow brute-force. You need a sustainable approach, and a reasonable balance. Here are some ideas:

Impact on social life and interaction

Staying at home, and refraining from participating in social activities, is something that could get harder and harder as the time period gets longer. Some social activities are easy to forgo for a week, but harder to forgo for three months. I expect that this could lead to people feeling depression, loneliness, and mental health issues, with the risks increasing the longer this continues.

A silver lining is that the reduced level of necessary activity, in particular commuting, may help people recover from months or even years of hectic commutes.

The balance of these factors will vary from person to person, but I expect that for most people, the social life impact will be a net negative.

What can we do? Here are a few thoughts:

Impact on work life and job security

This mostly applies to jobs where you were previously going into an office and you're now working from home. It doesn't apply to cases where you have been fired or furloughed, or where you were always working from home, or where you still need to go in for the job.

Financial impact

My reasons for writing this document

2 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by areiamus · 2020-03-21T08:58:32.150Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks Vipul. I agree that the time horizons people who are at low personal risk are working on are very short, eg 2-4 weeks.

I would say that if you are in a highly secure position then also schedule some time to explicitly reflect on your work and life thus far. Are you trying to solve the most important problems in your work? Are you lonely because the people who you would otherwise spend time with aren't reaching out to you, or you don't derive social support or enjoyment sufficient for you to spend the effort reaching out to you? Do you know how to rest if you don't have events and obligations to fill all your time?