Why We’re Working From Home for 60 days

Today, March 13th 2020, Working Planet initiated a 60-day mandatory work from home policy. We think this is the right response for companies capable of managing it. Here’s why.

The data so far on the SARS-CoV-2 virus is that that it spreads easily and without any symptoms necessarily being shown by the carrier. Containment of a virus with these characteristics is close to impossible, and that has proven to be the case.

So, we are not working from home to avoid catching COVID-19. Being exposed will happen to virtually everyone short of a level of permanent self-isolation that is unrealistic. So why are we creating social distance through an aggressive work-from-home policy?

To slow the spread.

While there has been a lot of focus on the number of cases and death rate, the KPI we as a society should be looking at is the Total Simultaneous Serious Cases. This is the number that will determine whether our healthcare system can handle the 20% of confirmed cases that will need medical treatment. When we greatly exceed the capacity of our healthcare system the mortality rate will rise as people who could have survived don’t make it because of a lack of healthcare.

The good news is that slowing the spread makes a huge difference in the number of Total Simultaneous Serious Cases. Some models show that creating social distance even one day earlier at the early stages of contagion can reduce peak TSSC by as much as 40%. That’s enough to save lives. Potentially many lives.

This is something we can do, so we’re doing it. And we’ll keep doing it for a period of time that we think will get us to where more people are getting well than are getting sick, which is when the healthcare system is able to begin recovering.  It is a bit of a dart throw, but we think that is about 60 days from now here in Rhode Island.

We hope we’re being way too conservative, but the data tells us we’re not.

We encourage all companies that can do the same to do so. It is the only action we can take that will make a real difference as the Coronavirus takes hold in our communities. We also hope that as many people as possible choose to limit the number of face-to-face interactions they have in the next two months. It is our personal choice to take action as a group of citizens that can make a difference.