COVID-19 Update (v23)

Updated 2021-13-01, first published 2020-03-05.

WE ARE OPEN. WE NEVER CLOSED.

UPDATED ADVICE: Welcome to the New Year and Lockdown v3.0.

Strict social-distancing remains in place and the wearing of masks is mandated in all indoor and crowded public spaces. From day one (well, late March), we adopted the sensible “those who CAN work from home should continue to do so on a continuing and permanent basis and avoid the office unless absolutely necessary”.. We have kept both our London and Leeds offices closed since March 2020 and that is likely to remain the case until at least Summer 2021. 99% of client contact is on Zoom/Teams/Facetime/Skype/Slack etc.

You should read the Official Government Advice. This information changes frequently. Other jurisdictions will have different policies and laws, specifically now in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

We must ALL continue to take responsibility for good hygiene and diligently adhering to anti-infection and anti-transmission practices. Mask, space, hands, and ventilation.

WHAT ABOUT US?

We operate a tried-and-tested location independent business model (it’s nearly 25 years since we adopted remote working), the team operates out of micro-offices and individual homes across the UK and North America. Using a distributed-location model allows us to mitigate the internal spread of infection dramatically. None of us is in what are deemed high-risk categories, nor is anyone reported any symptoms, and no one has had a positive test. We are all working 100% from home for the foreseeable future, probably forever in reality.

Since we started actively monitoring the spread of the virus in February, we have taken a number of measures to further reduce to spread of the virus:

  • Our Summer ‘21 (as well as Summer ’20 and Winter ’20) Corporate Get-Togethers are cancelled.
  • The team communicate using digital and telephony and work 100% from home. The office will remain closed until at least Summer 2021.
  • No unnecessary face-to-face meetings. We use Zoom, Skype, Teams, Meet, FaceTime, WhatsApp and Slack to communicate. We have had zero physical business interactions since mid-March 2020.
  • All international business travel is on hold, as is attendance at conferences and other group-like activity.
  • Social distancing policies introduced in public places the first week of March include minimum 2m gaps and avoiding crowded places: the tube, peak-hour travel, and trains. From May the 1st the advice was updated to recommend the wearing of masks in indoor and crowded spaces.
  • Screens on computers, tablets, and phones should be cleaned as per Apple’s updated methods that now permits a use of a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe. You may wish to extend this cleaning routine to other frequently handled devices including remotes, chargers, headphones, keyboards, etc.
  • Drugs: Use of NSAI to treat fevers in adults is discouraged. This includes Ibuprofen and Aspirin. Additional Vitamin D3 is recommended, especially in folks with darker skin which produces vitamin D at a slower rate..
  • For those not showing symptoms, household isolation linked with occasional, managed, contact with restricted non-vulnerable groups is accepted as a good balance between mental health and risk of infection. Social distancing must be in place at all times.
  • Adopt a pragmatic approach of being aware of our surroundings and being prepared to take protective measures such as the wearing of masks.
  • Access to both Antigen and Antibody tests have been secured and a regime of “possible exposure-antigen, test-antibody test” is encouraged where high-risk activity is unavoidable.

A CHANGING WORLD

The world changed in 2020, accelerating some of the underlying social and working trends, as well as changing how we consume and where we take our leisure. We expect most folks who can work at home to continue to do so, long after the crisis is over. This will have dramatic effects on how cities operate, fewer office workers (maybe down by as much as 50% in some sectors) will reduce the working-day population of cities and businesses reliant upon them. Of course, in the short term, fewer tourists and tighter social-distancing rules is turning some cities into ghost-towns and driving housing demand to the suburbs.

Mass unemployment has been avoided by an aggressive furlough policy by the government, but that will likely change during 2021 and doesn’t bode well for the millions of people across the world who are affected by the sustained damage to the economy. Expect to live in an altogether more compact world with much smaller lives than what we are used to for the foreseeable future.

We think Connected is well-placed to adapt to this new world, in fact as an organisation we have an organisational and cultural approach that was already operating mostly under this new paradigm. The world came to us.

TRACKING THE OUTBREAK

We started tracking the outbreak in late February and we urge everyone to research and source all claims before believing or re-sharing them. Our view is the mainstream media have acted appallingly due this outbreak, prioritising click and eye-balls over honest and informed reporting.

The post-COVID world is looking quite different. There is most definitely a new normal now on the horizon, one that respects social distance, mask-wearing is accepted behaviour and an improved track and trace programme.

Financially, we have not needed any of the government bailouts, nor do we plan to take advantage as we’re still operating, albeit at a reduced level. We continue to make a healthy profit and it would be morally wrong for us to take advantage of the situation when so many others are in genuine need. No staff are furloughed, and the partners in the business took a 50% pay cut from April (excluding profit-sharing).

Connected are a fair tax organisation and financially stable with close to zero borrowing. Combined with a scalable cost base and no-frills approach to running a business means we can comfortably weather this crisis. Our balance sheet and reserves can sustain us as the crisis extends deep into 2021 and beyond.

This is version 23 of the document.