Updated: Mar 3, 2020
The coronavirus outbreak has undoubtedly made the world more than a bit nervous.
The US stock market suffered its worst weekly decline since the 2008 financial crisis (Businessinsider). The S&P 500 declined 11% in 5 days and the Dow Jones plunged 12% over the same period. Tech companies have been particularly hard hit. Apple only dropped 2.6% but announced they were going to miss their quarterly targets thanks to impact on production and sales (Bloomberg, 9to5 Mac). Other tech companies have been similarly hit. Production and subsequent deliveries of hardware is going to be severely hampered (The Verge).
The impact on tech conferences has been severe (recode). Mobile World Congress was cancelled as was Facebook's F8 conference (recode). Sony backed out of PAX east (Kotaku) while IBM and others exited RSA (Siliconangle).
How might this affect our daily work?
If the infection spreads to South Africa to any significant level, then companies may well need to implement emergency plans. In Europe, emergency plans are forcing employees to work from home (NYT, Wapo). Chevron told 300 office workers to work from home after an employee returning from Italy developed flulike symptoms. OMG Media Group similarly sent 1,000 workers home (Businessinsider).
Coronavirus could force the work-from-home movement (Vox). Large US companies are making work-from-home contingency plans. While the work-from-home percentage is fairly low, a pandemic could make it more universally accepted. Even if work-from home is implemented temporarily, it will demonstrate to companies that it can be done and it will train tech-workers and companies how to do it effectively.
Of course, we all hope that South Africa escapes significant infections but companies would be wise to plan for the contingency.
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