Reflecting on the COVID-19 Pandemic
If you’re feeling anything like we’re feeling right now, you might be asking, “Wait, what just happened?” Schools and businesses are shuttered, dire warnings proliferate to stay isolated at home, and it all happened so quickly. Life can certainly be unpredictable.
Thankfully, the MKP team is safe and healthy during this trying time, and we hope you and your family, friends, and colleagues are, too.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began to rear its ugly head in New York, we decisively put our pandemic plan into action. While our clients will likely not notice anything different about the way we interact with them, we have, like countless companies across the nation—and in accordance with guidance from federal, state, and local authorities—moved our operations remote for the time being. There will be no difference in the high-touch service and support we offer our clients, and our vendors and partners are also continuing to operate. Our phone line remains open for calls and our business continuity measures ensure that we have secure access to all files and capabilities to which we have access when we’re in our Manhattan office. All in all, we are confident that all deadlines will be met and our work will continue uninterrupted.
The advice being doled out by public health experts is that individuals should avoid all unnecessary travel and exposure to public places. Unlike so many businesses, we are fortunate to be in a field that is compatible with remote working. During this time in which the fastest way to quell the spread of the virus is for people to socially distance themselves from one another, we’re proud to play our part to support the national effort to flatten the curve. And, while we take no joy in this situation or our response, there is a distinct solidarity knowing that we’re fulfilling our civic duty—a solidarity we share with our employees and with responsible global citizens everywhere.
We won’t lie: working from so many different remote locations has been an uphill battle, and we’re only a week in. At the outset of our remote working adventure, our fearless leader, MKP’s President & CEO, Hillary Kelbick, set up a daily video call in which the whole team was asked to participate. It has been uplifting to have the opportunity to see our colleagues’ smiling faces each morning. Getting the entire team set up for video conferencing on their computers was a challenge in and of itself, but then, once we were off and running, video chat accorded us several moments of much-needed levity.
There was the time when one of our employee’s partners strolled through the background of her video feed in nothing but his boxer shorts. (Needless to say, said employee was promptly made aware of the “blur your background” feature that is built in to the video chat application.) In another comic-relieving instance, a malfunctioning microphone rendered a colleague’s voice the high-pitched, fast-talking, other-end-of-the-telephone voice from the cartoons of yesteryear. And, more than once, a skip in video or audio streaming made for awkward unfinished sentences and funny miscommunications. Ah, a week in the life of a remote team! Surely, as our team navigates this brave new world in the days and weeks ahead, more remote comedy is assured to transpire.
The bottom line is that this situation is far from ideal; indeed, it is very grave. Tens of thousands of people will fall ill, many seriously, and the epidemic will claim more lives. No one enjoys having major lifestyle changes foisted upon them, and it is becoming more clear with each passing day that our economy, and working families across the nation, are in for a period of unexpected hardship. Still, this too shall pass, and, in times like this, it is vital to (at least attempt to) adopt a decidedly optimistic perspective.
Let’s force ourselves to remember that in myriad places and times throughout history, people—perhaps even our own ancestors—have experienced unspeakable challenges (think famine, persecution, and natural disasters). We are being asked to curtail our social activity and stay home to maintain our personal and public health. If it means we get to watch a few more movies or television series, or read a few more books, okay. If it means more uninterrupted time with family, that’s not the worst thing. If some of the world’s factories grind to a halt and air and water pollution clear up (even just temporarily), that’s not a bad thing by any means. And if this crisis makes us realize that our personal health and the health of the human race are inexorably tied together, that we are responsible for others’ safety and they are responsible for ours, that the fate of those around us depends on our actions, and our fate likewise depends on theirs—well, that’s not such a bad thing either. We are all connected and these troubling circumstances serve to remind us of that fact.
So stay home, people! Stay safe, practice impeccable hygiene, and, just as importantly, practice compassion and love… just do it at a distance. We’ll get through this together (just separately).
MKP communications inc. is a New York City-based communications company that delivers spot-on strategy, smart, fresh creative, and flawless execution, exclusively for financial services clients.