Coronavirus hysteria is fully setting in.
My inbox currently houses emails about three cancelled
events, a pitch about “how business leaders are better positioned to tackle coronavirus
than politicians,” and a note to Fortune staff about working remotely.
And Fortune’s not the only company that’s urging
people to stay home. Amazon yesterday told employees in New York and New Jersey
to work from home, if they can, throughout the month of March. Salesforce,
Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter issued similar notices.
Tools like Zoom and Slack facilitate remote work, but
coronavirus fears are putting the idea to test on a scale we’ve never seen
before. It’s a giant human experiment that will show companies whether it’s
still possible to communicate effectively and do business as usual.
Only 42 million Americans, or about 29%
of the workforce, are able to work from home. Here’s an interesting wrinkle
in the whole debacle of shifting to online work: Federal Communications
Rosenworcel explained to Fortune on Monday that “the coronavirus is
exposing hard truths about the digital divide in this country.”
to the story, the actual number of Americans lacking access to high speed
broadband is a source of dispute. While the FCC has suggested the number is
around 21 million, Rosenworcel says the actual number is much higher, because
the agency uses a methodology that concludes everyone in a census block is
wired if even a single subscriber has broadband.
It’s fascinating to see the various work obstacles the coronavirus panic is bringing to the surface. Feel free to share your thoughts about some of the unintended consequences from working remotely in the face of mass uncertainty.
ODD NEWS: Sequoia is walking away from Finix, a San Francisco-based payments infrastructure company, over a purported conflict of interest. The firm is also handing back its board seat, information rights, shares and full investment. According to TechCrunch, Sequoia just walked away from $21 million because it realized that Finix competes too directly with Stripe—after it wrote a check…Mmmm somehow I feel like this isn’t the full story. If you have more information, you can contribute to our anonymous tip box here.