I doubt there are many professionals across the globe that are not dealing with the implications of the Coronavirus right now in some way. Whether you have been advised to work remotely, or continue to commute and work in your normal office environments, the impacts of a global pandemic will affect all assistants in some way – whether it’s flight disruption, the cancellation of overseas trips, video calls replacing face to face meetings, self-isolation of yourselves or colleagues. It would remiss of me not to discuss it.

On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed that COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. This means that it is a disease that is spreading between people in multiple countries around the world at the same time. However, the WHO believe this could be the first pandemic in history that could be controlled.

The WHO has also stated that facts, not fear will stop the spread of COVID-19.

This isn’t me telling everyone to wash your hands. I have no doubt that common sense and good hygiene prevails amongst all of you.

Here in the UK, the country remains open for business for now, albeit with significantly reduced supplies of toilet roll due to panic buying. The advice here currently states that offices can remain open, with most organisations adopting a flexible and dynamic approach, allowing concerned staff to work from home.

With laptops, software such as Microsoft Teams and Skype, and shared access file systems such as Sharepoint and Dropbox, most administrators will have everything they need to operate effectively.

If you’re still heading to work, of course many stakeholders won’t be as readily available, executives will be super stressed and ‘business as usual’ issues will be severely impacted.

Don’t let fear of the unknown overcome you. There is a lot of inaccurate information on social media. I was surprised on Friday lunchtime to see photos of “empty and isolated” train stations across the UK due to “terrified residents”, whilst waiting in a packed Manchester Piccadilly station for my train. That’s not to undermine anybody’s concerns about travel or state that people are not afraid, but the media often fuels situations unhelpfully.

For up to date, sensible advice, check your respective government websites.

Below is an extract from Harpers Weekly Gazette…

“It is a gloomy moment in the history of our country. Not in the lifetime of most people has there been so much grave and deep apprehension. Never has the future seemed so uncertain. The domestic economic situation is in chaos. Our currency is weak throughout the world. The political cauldron seethes and bubbles with uncertainty. It is a solemn moment. Of our troubles, no one can see the end”.

This bleak piece was written in 1857. Before both World Wars. My point being, there will always been times of trouble, but we ALWAYS get through them and come out the other side.