A challenge to work-from-home productivity

In the recent past, businesses have struggled with the idea of allowing their staff to work from home. Various options have been considered and tried with limited success. Most companies had work-from-home options only as an exceptional arrangement.

Some industries and some career paths certainly need to be at the office. But the majority of the companies did not allow work-from-home primarily because of a fear of productivity loss, primarily. Management and even line managers have felt uncertain that they could get the best work out of their employees.

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The next pandemic is breeding somewhere now.

50 percent of infected older people died from the original SARS virus in 2003 and the general fatality rate was 14%. SARS spread fast through the air or contact and killed fast. About 8000 people got sick but they were spread across 29 countries due to air travel. It was able to spread into so many countries because of the new age of air travel and globalization. We should have known what this meant.

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Firenado is the opening bell of a new era.

A 17,000 feet tall column of flame, rotating at the speed of 143 MPH, towered over Redding, California in 2018. With the power of an EF3 level Tornado, it was uprooting trees and sucking in material to burn. from every direction on the compass. As it grew higher, it was also spitting out burning firebrands in every direction and creating fast-expanding perimeter of fire. This in all its frightening fury, was a Firenado.

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Who acts to mitigate disasters?

Today when disaster happens, the primary organization providing support and mitigation tends to be government departments.
Non-profit charities also play a very significant role. To a small extent private companies also play a part, particularly in
producing and routing supplies. Most of this activity is reactive after the fact.

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How much damage do disasters cause?

There are many types of disasters from natural disasters to human economic ones. The worst damage is the unnecessary lives lost, sometimes in the millions. And there are types of damage jobs lost, health loss, housing loss, earnings loss, poverty, and many others.

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Does disaster mitigation really help?

When a house burns down, once you check everyone is safe, the next most important question is whether the homeowners have fire insurance.   Insurance is a form of disaster mitigation. It protects families and businesses from various types of harm as the result of disasters. We cannot imagine modern society without this type of disaster mitigation.

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Why should we care about disasters?

This question should not need to be asked. Just the fact that lives are lost due to disasters, makes it a moral imperative to act. The question to always ask is ‘If my child, sibling, parent could get killed in that disaster, would I do anything?

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Disasters are so rare, why do we have to act?

Conventional wisdom thinks that disasters are rare and unpredictable. And that we cannot really act on them.

In the last 20 years, we have had three global emergencies- 9/11 terrorism-related wars, the 2008 financial crisis, and now the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Plus, one more if you count the effects of climate change. In addition, there are innumerable national and local disasters every year.  We can easily name hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, fires, nuclear accidents, etc immediately.

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If you had money to invest what problem would you try to solve now?

I watched 3 days of rains in Chennai, India take down all infrastructure including transportation, hospitals, mobile towers, ATMs and credit card machines. In a city of ten million in 3 days even money stopped working. The knock-on effects were disastrous.

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Would you like to hand out people money?

Founder Institute asked me this question, recently. Not exactly.

They asked if I would be interested in joining their brand new program to create new venture capital funds. They felt that there needed to be more innovative funds in the marketplace to fund all the startups they were launching.

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