If you’re reading this article, you’re probably one of the millions of artists who are trying to put together the pieces of not just your craft, but your life. The COVID-19 outbreak has forced us all to rethink our daily living routines and cope with the reality of deferred goals for the year. The arts community has been faced with the double challenge of re-focusing their efforts in how they share their work with their audience, in addition to likely losing other sources of income (especially for artists working in the service industry). For many, this means losing your venue, canceled rehearsals, interrupted travel arrangements, or little-to-no audience turnout.
There’s not much to smile about these days. As I’m writing this, the United States just surpassed China as the nation with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, and it’s all but certain that by the time we “flatten the curve” we’ll see more loss of life than any other country as well. While the news is dotted every so often with a heartwarming story or ridiculous video of how we’re all coping with our new normal, it’s hard to feel that any good can come of this particular moment. I think there’s an opportunity for the arts community to address a massive issue that it can’t quite figure out how to talk about: poverty.
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The world is experiencing a huge shift as a result of COVID-19, especially when it comes to how we think about jobs and offices. All of a sudden, offices have had to rapidly get their teams set up with the right gear, the right technical tools, and beginning the process of emotionally adjusting to a virtual working - all in a matter of days or weeks. And one of the biggest changes to come about for newly virtual workers? The introduction of video conferencing through software like Zoom. Meetings that used to be face-to-face are now conducted through video. It might not seem like a huge shift, but it really is very different from face-to-face meeting. There are new questions about how to schedule meetings, what professionalism looks like, and more.
So your job has just gone virtual. Now what? Once your company or organization has figured out how to get everyone a computer, which video conferencing and chat tools to use, and how to store files on a shared cloud-based drive, there’s still a huge amount of adjustment that needs to take place. Even though you’re still working on a computer, things probably feel totally different. It can be hard to get back into the swing of things. You might feel uninspired, isolated, or like you can’t concentrate. Even under the best circumstances, this is totally normal for workers who have transitioned from office life to virtual working.
Many artists and arts organizations are currently faced with potentially irreparable losses due to the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. With the national economy and public life ground to a halt, we understand the urgency of allocating critical resources to those in need in our communities. Artists and creatives are working together to sustain the cultural activities and creative projects that enrich all of our lives in unprecedented ways. It is essential that we support these efforts to strengthen our connections in spite of physical isolation. To this end, Fractured Atlas has put together a list of emergency resources for artists and arts organizations of all disciplines and designations. We encourage you to share these and to email us at email@example.com with updates or more resources that aren’t listed.
People talk a lot about remote work, and I don't love the word. It makes me think of people working on a deserted island, disconnected from the organization. That's not a great way to run an organization; it creates silos and a disconnected team. Silos and disconnection are a perfect recipe for organizations that can’t adapt to change, innovate, or make the world a bit of a better place.
Work. Shouldn’t. Suck. promotes people-centric organizational design for thriving workplaces. And these days, workplaces are increasingly going fully virtual, often in the span of days or weeks. How do we make sure that the transition sucks as little as possible?
The question that I’m increasingly asked nowadays (and something the team at Fractured Atlas who helped manage our own transition have been discussing) is: now that we’re an entirely virtual organization, having evolved into it over 4-5 years, what if we had to do again, overnight?