Category Archives: CoronaVirus
Mountain View

As I mentioned in this post during the early days of the pandemic my mother could not find yeast. Her village in Southern Germany had a yeast shortage. We don’t have a shortage of anything here in Zurich, neither toilet paper, nor yeast, even though demand for both was higher than in “normal” times. My mother likes to bake in normal times but I felt she needed to bake even more in these times. 

I went to SPAR and bought five packs of dry yeast. The man at the post office laughed when I told him what was in the small parcel. My second delivery since the beginning of our lockdown. The price for the package was higher than the value of the goods but hey, this was the only thing I could do for my family from here. I was so happy that I could help them with a small gesture. This year for Easter I did not order anything online: I used my social media skills to locate the flower shop in my mother’s village and we actually talked on the phone (I know bizarre…). Once she understood my relationship with the village’s eldest woman (my grandma), I think she totally trusted me and I trusted her. We agreed to her delivering flowers that I would pay via bank transfer. No credit card, no contract, just trust and five minutes of small talk. She understood that this gesture was important to me. I only live about two hours away from my family but I might as well live in Cochin or Costa Rica.

I’m an accidental “expat”. I did not really think of myself as an expat since I’ve been living the closest to “home” for the last 11 years. Coronavirus “expatriated” me. I’ve been working with expats most of my professional life, I’ve lived abroad and been on international assignments. I’m an expert in Global Mobility but it took a virus to make it hard for me to return to my passport-country. 

I feel your pain. 

Maybe you got stuck somewhere. Maybe your family and elderly relatives live in another country. You used to go there every summer and every winter. You used to spend your home leave with loved ones, caught up with all your close friends and now you are looking forward to this chance again. I hear from colleagues and friends that they are starting to plan their “home leaves”. I’m planning to spend three weeks in Germany in the summer to catch up with my relatives and loved ones. 

We have learned to be resilient, we have survived previous crises and we have managed to turn life around in the oddest situations. But now, we are not so sure anymore. When will this pandemic end? And how will we live when we get out of it? Which part of the world will feel safe? Will our children ever be able to catch up on the school lessons they have missed? 

I want to be optimistic but it is hard to say something without a caveat or with inverted commas or a thought bubble saying “assuming that the pandemic will be over by then…”.

So, today I’m announcing that we will offer the RockMeRetreat from 18 to 25 November 2021 under the assumption that we will have enough people vaccinated and that the virus doesn’t fool us again. I wish for all of us to support each other in communities and I’m convinced that despite the wonders of technology an OFFLINE RETREAT will almost certainly create miracles. Because of the travel situation and insecurities around the world I have decided to offer the RockMeRetreat in Switzerland at this monastery in Ilanz. I had been on a retreat there before and it’s a very simple place but the sisters are extremely warm and welcoming and the mountain view is just amazing.

https://www.klosterilanz.ch/de/

I hope you will join us and I would be happy to set up a meeting with you to discuss your participation. Hopefully, once you come back from this week you’ll feel refreshed and inspired again and ready to tackle the next challenge in your expat or nomadic lifestyle. 

I miss having offline workshops and what I love about this retreat is that we can be offline most of the time and connect with our inner creators again. We can work on our relationships with people that are important to us and we can build a community of people who help each other (irrespective of their cultural or religious background but based on shared values and deep love for people).

Like we need yeast to bake bread, we need energy and love to work and live with people around us. We might think that we can just stay at home and send our avatars to work but who are we then? 

We need to get dressed in nice clothes, have a commute to work and a distance between “work” and “leisure”. Otherwise, we lose our fire, our inspiration and we lose touch with our inner creator. I look forward to hearing from you.

Resources and further reading

NewInZurich

https://newinzurich.com/2020/06/expats-and-covid-19-five-steps-to-avoid-burn-out/

Ana Margarida Forte Interview

https://anchor.fm/agora-podcast–radio/episodes/PODCAST-INTERNATIONAL-Serie-2-5-WorldWild-Ana-Margarida-Forte-with–Angie-Weinberger-talking-about-mental-health-eoi3uf

Looking at the whole family in the expatriation process …

https://bridgek12.org/the-importance-of-looking-at-the-whole-family-in-the-expatriation-process-will-raise-global-mobility-to-the-next-level/

Our epic blog posts

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/getting-out-of-the-november-blues-six-quick-tips-to-deal-with-negative-emotions-this-season/

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/the-rise-of-weinberger-building-up-strength-during-the-pandemic-part-4/

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/the-passion-games-playing-yourself-through-the-pandemic-part-3/

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/sleepless-in-switzerland-getting-through-the-pandemic-part-2/

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/angie-alone-at-home-managing-yourself-through-the-pandemic-part-1/

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/assignment-failure-on-the-rise-the-solution-is-to-prevent-family-separation-part-1/

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/avoiding-assignment-failure-through-family-issues-seven-key-provisions-for-your-global-mobility-guidelines-part-2/

 

Weinberger, A. (2020) Recordings on “Expat Health” – 

https://studio.youtube.com/video/J_0tvWF7nrY/edit

https://studio.youtube.com/video/h6kKIqoTCG4/edit

 

Global TV Talk Show with Ed Cohen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A__8MmVCRD0&feature=emb_title

Interview with Ed Cohen on Minority Expats

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udn5keryiZQ&ab_channel=EdwinCohen

Hotel Des Finances

As we already mentioned in previous posts “Digital Nomads” are the new black in Global Mobility.  A survey from MBO partners revealed that, only in the US, 4.8 citizens identify as Digital Nomads, while in the UK, the Trades Union Congress calculated that remote workers grew by almost 250,000 between 2005 and 2015. While in one of their Facebook Groups like FEMALE DIGITAL NOMADS I sometimes come across horror stories of visa issues, assaults and taxation issues

The idea of working from a beach in Croatia, a hut in Estonia or below palms in the Bermudas seems an attractive vision for Millenials. However, even trying to log-in to my G-Hangout from South Tyrole or sometimes even Germany can bring down that fantasy castle (in which I also look 20 years younger, have 20 kilos less and my nails are always immaculately painted red).

Despite being almost 50, I aspire to become a Digital Nomad as well so I thought I should dig deeper into what that actually means. We therefore present a series on the topic. 

  • Part 1 deals with the mindset you need to run a “Company of One”,
  • Part 2 explains the technical Global Mobility aspects of being a “Digital Nomad”,
  • Part 3 focuses on one method to become more productive which is the Kanban-style.

Paul Jarvis is one of my favourite creators. I read his “Sunday Dispatches”. I love his online course Chimpessentials, which taught me almost everything you are seeing on the Global People Club Sandwich and which also encouraged me to continue writing to you on a weekly basis by email in the age of social media.

I ordered several of his artistic books already. The latest book “Company of One” was a special delight. Okay, I might be crushing a bit on Paul J. He has an amazing voice too.  However, you really should read the book and follow him. Paul is one of the creators who runs a business from an island in Canada and is very successful with it.

I finally got confirmation that all I had done over the last 10 years as an entrepreneur was not completely wrong. No, instead of founding a “scalable startup” I had founded a “company of one”. And I believe that scaling is possible in my business. However, if I want to continue to stay aligned with my mission of bringing the human touch back into Global Mobility, I cannot scale, automate and robotize everything.

“Au contraire…” (you need to say this with a glass of Rosé in your hand), I really believe that Paul Jarvis hit the nail right in. There are companies who can and should stay small because otherwise they might lose their special “umpf”. And you know what I noticed? This is not a question of what kind of business you have right now. It’s more about where you are heading. If you are dreaming about leading a digital nomad life where you can live in the Italian countryside near a vineyard, spend the summer on Long Island, the winter in Kashmir and a lot more time in between with your elderly family members…then my friend you need to start to take action now.

When I decided to go fully digital in 2018 I knew that I would need to take a few side turns and that this will not happen from one day to another. What I hadn’t anticipated though was that I actually am quite old-school and that I prefer human interaction over online interaction. 

I also noticed that the more I work online (and COVID-19 has brought this to an extreme – online and at home 100% of my work time – ), the more I feel a need to write stuff on post-it notes and use paper to organize myself. For example, I used a Kindle a few years ago. This year during my vacation I had it with me but I preferred to read paper-books. I journal in a diary and I only use my laptops for calls and managing my business. When I now have to present I even print the presentation before because I don’t seem to see enough detail on my laptop.

However, the main idea to have a digital business that I could run from anywhere has been magnified by the corona crisis. Still, the main reason that keeps me in one city right now is my professional network and that a basic income needs to be made every month.

I think Paul is right. Obviously, it depends on your business model and if you are a creator, an artist or a programmer.  I love the creative part of my business but over the last few years I also always had to have enough “billable” time to make a living in one of the most expensive cities in the world. 

My friends in corporate are all wealthier now than I am and I have doubted myself a lot and I’m still not sure how I will manage to survive during my retirement. You might think now that I’m exaggerating and maybe you think that it can’t be that difficult with all my contacts and all the income streams that I have created. You might be right. 

However, I live in a very security-oriented environment and I also come from a family which was poor after the second world war so I have to practice to shake off this insecurity-poverty-story.

For me, the best way to get out of that spiral is through continuous education and ongoing learning. I notice that I am growing when I am implementing new technology or improving programs or just see faster progress with my clients because I could show them a hack. I buy into organic growth because it allows me to maintain my quality standards. In the corporate world I often see a lot of back and forth and low quality products. This is not what I want to create with my team.

How much income is enough?

As I’ve been following Paul’s work for a while I have been asking myself the “enough” question a lot. You probably heard me say this before but my relationship with money completely changed when I became an entrepreneur. I would say that I need only 60% of the monthly income that I needed when I was employed. The main reason, aside from lowering my base costs, is that I feel a lot more satisfied with my life since I started my business. 

Helping you directly through writing, coaching and training makes me happy.

Paul Jarvis asks three questions:

  • How much is enough?
  • How will I know when I got there?
  • What will change if I do?

He explains how he maintains a minimalist lifestyle and how this helps him to save and reinvest while also allowing him to take extended offline periods over the summer and winter. I’m working on getting better at taking these longer breaks as well.

I translated this into ongoing questions on what I would like to achieve financially in my business and when we are there it will help to have a buffer as well. My minimum income is 60k CHF gross. This allows me to survive, not necessarily thrive and the minimum turnover for that is around 140k CHF. You might need to calculate this for yourself but interestingly enough the minimum salary is exactly what has been determined as a substance for people living in Switzerland. 

I usually say that you should have 100k CHF in the bank before starting a business full-time. At the time I started mine, I needed this buffer to get through the first few years. Later on, I would find regular income mainly through consulting projects, interim mandates and classroom lectures or workshops. 

Now, these are usually onsite so they won’t fit a long-term digital nomad strategy. So for me the last question is easily answered: Once I have enough income to stop working onsite in consulting projects and I have a buffer for hard times I will be able to move around more in the world.

How can you digitize even further?

I think it is important that you go through your idea or your current offering and check if you can offer the same service remotely or not. For example if you are a consultant or coach, you might find it easy to digitize your sessions with clients by offering an online course or coaching via ZOOM.

However, if you lecture or run brainstorming sessions it might take more effort to change these sessions to online sessions. Or if you sell actual products, you might need a warehouse or similar production facilities. If you identify those you can start to think about replacing those income sources with digital income streams. You should consider active and passive income. 

Most of you will probably have either no business yet, or a business that could be a “Company of One”. In order for you to become a “Digital Nomad” you need to solve a lot more issues than if you just stayed in your home country. Assuming that you are an expat or expat spouse in Switzerland we will show you next week five technical aspects that you will need to consider if you want to become a digital nomad and run a location-independent business.

For now, I would start with the question of determining whether you want to have a home base and where that should be. I think that you probably also need a “home base”, a place you can call “home” and return to. This will also be relevant for taxation purposes. Your business needs a home as well.

Then I want you to start thinking like a CEO. If you are thinking about starting a company of one, I would suggest that we have a coaching conversation. Let’s have a 15-minute chat to see where you are at right now.

Resources 

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/high-salaries-aren-t-what-they-seem-in-switzerland/45810010#.XzoYb0AgLTc.whatsapp

https://ofone.co/

https://www.audible.de/pd/Company-of-One-Hoerbuch/B07KFLTK58?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIxd7U_aWW6wIVyAJ7Ch3tsAcnEAAYASAAEgKb5PD_BwE&source_code=GAWOR12604212090BN&ipRedirectOverride=true&ef_id=XP4aQwAAAEgLUl39:20200812182957:s

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/digital-nomad.asp

https://tandemnomads.com/podcast/tn75-how-to-legally-set-up-portable-business/

https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/home-working-fifth-over-last-decade-tuc-analysis-reveals

References

Jarvis, P. (2019): Company of One.

Do you know this feeling when you wake up in the morning, fully energized and ready to go to work?
And you think “Hmmm, I just had this nightmare about a global pandemic, where we would all stay at home…ALL THE TIME…” and you think…”I’m going to pretend that life is normal…”. 

You get up, have a shower, brush your teeth, get dressed in your work clothes, you put on make-up and you have your usual cup of coffee.

Then you realize “Bloody hell, I didn’t watch a movie. I didn’t dream of this nightmare. No. This is real…”.
You suddenly notice that church bells are ringing at 6 AM and a lot of different birds are chirping too. You notice that something is off. And you are not dreaming any longer. 

You are in the middle of a global pandemic. Not a movie. It’s the week of the passion of Jesus Christ and the world is in a state of global mindfulness. 

Sometimes, I wake up thinking that it was a bad joke. Thinking that somebody will say “APRIL, APRIL”. But April Fools Day was cancelled this year.

We changed our clocks to summer time and I didn’t notice because alarms are overrated when you work from home.

The Army has been called in to help the hospitals in Switzerland. A first since THE WAR.

Wimbledon will be POSTPONED for the first time since THE WAR. Even Queen Elizabeth II addressed the nation. We are in a real crisis.

People are losing lives, jobs and certain global politicians spread rumors and misinformation. 
One could despair.

I decided to take baby steps to help you and myself maintain sanity in this crisis. Last week, I shared 20 Quarantine Recommendations.

I want to share with you 20 more ideas to deal with the crisis. If you try out one recommendation a day we should get through to my birthday together. 

My Quarantine Tips for Holy Week AKA The Passion Games (“Passionsspiele”)

21) Structure Your Day Like A Monk. Follow our #Rockmeretreat structure with me from Tuesday onwards. Setting a routine adds discipline even if you have to work from home. This is officially now termed WFH, not WTF.

Here’s a also helpful book Daily Rituals: Women at Work and top tips on working effectively from home by @newinzurich.

22) Listen to Live Readings. Set aside some time in your routine for enjoying the arts – this crisis has given rise to narrations, podcasts and radio shows as people find new avenues for positive expression. A few interesting examples you can integrate into your daily life are the SRF Radio Play, author Thomas Meyer’s live reads and author Saša Stanišić’s “Literature in times of uncertainty” charity reads for women’s shelters over on Twitch. If Shakespeare is more to your taste, Sir Patrick Stewart is narrating the Sonnets on his personal Twitter.

23) Read Different News Channels. With certain global politicians causing chaos with rumours and bad information, it is essential that you verify any “facts” from various reputable sources. That is why I recommend reading or watching different news channels – not only will you stay updated on what is happening in various sectors of the world, but also remain aware of the facts about the unfolding pandemic. Stay up-to-date with the Covid-19 situation in Switzerland here. Republik magazine is also running a newsletter to keep everyone in Switzerland informed. Businesses and the financial sector have been hit hard by COVID-19 related shutdowns and quarantines, so CNNMoney Switzerland’s newsletter is a good way to stay on top of the news coming out of that sector. Whichever source you go for, it is generally a good idea now to double check from another trusted source – forwarded email chains are not a good example of that!

24) Go on Treasure Hunts. Who doesn’t enjoy the thrill of completing tasks and checking them off? That sounds like an average work day but it’s what you do on a treasure hunt! You can see that the principle is the same, so why not reward yourself by creating and completing hunts for yourself?

  • Take a Shopping bag and aim to either recycle glass, enter a supermarket, go to the post-office or pharmacy.
  • Reward yourself at home.
  • Look determined when you see police.
  • Wear a Face Mask. 😷

25) Practice a new language you wanted to learn or take an amazing online course. For people struggling to find productive ways to spend their time in quarantine, learning a new language is a great way to engage yourself in a meaningful activity. If you are an expat, perhaps you can even utilise some time to perfect your grasp of German! Other people can find value instead with studying towards new skills, online courses are an amazing option for them. You can sign up to this fantastic offering for Expat Coach training by Sundae Schneider-Bean.

26) Take A Virtual Museum Tour. As I mentioned earlier, CNNMoney Switzerland is a good new source. You can add “good tour guide” to that list as well, their recommendation for virtual museum tours is a lockdown-friendly way to get your fix of European art and history. You can even play art games on their websites! The message here, which I would like to amplify, is that engaging with the arts and doing things you would do normally (albeit in a different way!) is an important way to maintain your mental health in these dire times.

27) Buy Paper Books in the Neighborhood. Paperback sales have shot up by 35% due to the imposition of isolation/quarantine rules as readers finally get to reading everything on their bucket lists. The Hirslanden Bookshop has been closed due to the pandemic, however you can still order books from them via phone or email and they will deliver to your home or by post. I think this is an opportune moment for escapism into those books you have been meaning to read for years, what about you?

28) Check Your Immigration Status by Host Country. Update permits and passports. As an expat, you will be facing a time of unprecedented uncertainty and stress because of the whole Covid-19 situation, you may even find yourself forgetting some important appointments! Therefore it would be a good time to check up on whether your permits, visas and passports are all updated and not nearing expiry.  Become Local is the name of Sonia’s company but she helps with ALL immigration into CH…not only local hires.

29) Claim Daily Indemnity Insurance Compensation. Check if you are entitled to daily indemnity and report your doctor ordered corona quarantine as an “accident”. An example from AXA-Winterthur would be here.

30) Clean Up Your “Command Bridge” every night. On a spaceship you also need to make sure that nothing flies around. I also shut down my 3 computers on Friday night. I find decluttering very helpful at all times but I noticed it helped me cope with insomnia too. Now you have no excuse to avoid that clutter you have been meaning to clean for ages, remember that this might boost your productivity and your feeling of accomplishment.

Decluttering also allows you to disinfect the most used areas of your house: your bathroom and kitchen. We must do as much as we can to prevent the virus from spreading, both outside and inside the home. Click through to read up on and motivate yourself to clean! One post is using Feng Shui as a basis for decluttering.

31) Through Family Dinner Follow the Space Mission Expert Advice. You have only been in isolation for a few weeks and already you feel like things are getting out of hand for you – imagine those people who live quarantined from the rest of the world for months and years! I am of course talking about astronauts in space – SRF Forward has a great video with tips taken from information about how astronauts handle isolation and how we can use that advice for ourselves.

32) Pretend You Are A “Star Wars” Character. Ensure you build a cleaning station for missions to Earth 🌍. If you don’t know what “Star Wars” is, now is the perfect time to find out by watching the original trilogy.

33) Hire a Deep Cleaning Expert. With so many spaceships and space stations leaving their planets to explore the far reaches of the galaxy, they surely must have a very efficient cleaning regimen to prevent filth and disease. This is definitely the right time to learn to be experts in cleaning. Maybe afterwards we will gain new appreciation for the cleaning crews on the Death Star who kept it so clean!

34) Build Your Own Face Mask. An unfortunate reality of the pandemic and medical crisis is that there is a severe lack of PPE and face masks in both the general public and the medical community. We can play our part in easy the load off production and allowing healthcare workers and doctors and nurses access to medical-grade masks. All you have to do is build your own! The instructions in this video are not that difficult, I am sure you have basic skills with a needle. Not only are you protecting yourself with this action but protecting countless others – an important role in flattening the curve.

35) Blow out Eggs and Create Easter Decorations. This is a tradition from my childhood known well in German speaking countries. Usually it’s done during the catholic fasting period and we’re a bit late for that but maybe your kids are bored after such long periods of homeschooling and they need a project for “Good Friday”. Check out Eier ausblasen – Ostern Lifehack – Anleitung and Color unicorn easter eggs with shaving cream 😍 

36) Paint Anything with Water Colors, Crayons and Paper. Who is ready to learn a new creative hobby? It is inevitable that during this period where everyone is supposed to be home, that you will become agitated, bored or even depressed. Hobbies are a great way to stay active and positive and what better way than with art? Follow these simple tutorials with watercolors and you can be on your way to painting self-portraits, still life or even the landscapes you can see out of your window!

37) Engage The Wildlife. Birds of various kinds have been spotted in Zürich over the last week. It’s fun for kids (and adults) to feed and name them. I’m feeding a black raven and named him “Franzerl”. I’m standing at the window shouting “Franzerl, Franzerl”. Obviously his lady raven will be named “Sisi” if she ever shows up at my feeding station. Watch those videos of how the animals are secretly taking over the world.
Coronavirus Lock down effects on animals (Part-1)
Dolphins and fish: nature moves into spaces left empty by Italian coronavirus quarantine

38) Buy Vouchers to support our Hairdressers. If we are able to ride out the lockdown period at home in comfort and financial security, spare a thought for those whose livelihood depends on things being open – hairdressers for instance cannot work from home! Let us be part of a supportive community and bolster each other. Annette Ramme is someone who could use that support in keeping her business running. Mention @angieweinberger for a 20% discount if you buy before 19 April 2020.

39) Have a Virtual Beauty-Day with the Girls. Drink Champagne and put on a FACEMASK (of the other kind). Self-care comes in many forms. It can be in the form of hobbies, learning or even sleeping. Sometimes, though, self-care comes in the form of a facemask. Maybe this weekend you can round up the girls, your go-to group of friends (on video conferencing of course!) and relax with some soothing and nourishing face masks. Maybe ask if your partner is interested in it as well, their skin will definitely need some hydrating!

40) Apply a Handmask. practice “Hand Discovery” with a Partner or a child. My hands are very dry from washing them about 30 times so I made a hand mask and then applied the discovery method to my own hands. This is a method we learn at the RockMeRetreat. For now, you can just massage your hands, apply a fatty cream, put on plastic gloves and soak while you are watching ….(enter your favorite Netflix show here).

I liked this image on how to move from Fear Zone to Growth Zone with #COVID19. Let me know in which zone you see yourself via the Rockmeapp. Credit to unknown author
Global Mobility Folks!
Please join the Expatise Academy portal for group chat and support as well as great online learning tools for GM Pro’s.

We’re currently offering all modules at cost EUR 114.95 to help you in case you lost your job or need to move on.

The value of this course is at least EUR 1’800. Sign up now and please mention @angieweinberger. Will meet you there.

The last week has been one of the most challenging weeks of my life.

The bad news first: I have not been tested for CORONA-Virus, because my symptoms seem to be too mild. My dizziness, weakness, cough might just be a sign of an anxiety attack, mountain disease or a weird cold. For me, it would have been better to know if I’m positive or not. Not knowing if I’m potentially a transmitter of the disease makes it hard to allow my partner to come back home.. This is week 2 of my quarantine.

For those of you who are still trying to catch up on emails here is what happened and why I’m under quarantine. Read this!

The good news: Last night I could finally sleep for more than a few hours and I have the feeling that I’m on the right track mentally and also that my body is getting better. I promised that I would keep you up-to-date and share a few lessons with you. Maybe you can imagine that I have become an information junkie. So I’m trying to do this:

  1. I summarize 20 quick recommendations in a list style. Most of my recommendations are geared towards expats and international people living in Switzerland. Most of the advice will be working in any other country too though.
  2. I’m offering deeper conversations for those of you who face similar problems and I will be available via the RockMeApp over the next few days. I’m also giving every client free access to the online version of the RockMe! program. It might help you to work on a career-related topic during this crisis.
  3. I’m looking for an idea on how to distribute more information to clients and other people. At the moment I’m using Twitter (@angieweinberger) and LinkedIn.

I hope this is helpful and let’s stay connected through these times. Check below my 20 recommendations for Quarantine.

Angie’s 20 Quarantine Recommendations

  1. First Things First: Fix your” oxygen mask”, open windows regularly and try to take in sunshine. Look into ways to improve your immune system naturally. Eat Vitamin-C and Vitamin-D. Prepare your meals with grace and dedication. Add ginger to anything. Drink more water and herbal tea than usual. I start my day with adding all the water to the table so I know how much I have to drink.
  2. Help Migrants and Refugees: Share the multilingual updates from your country health authority. If you have capacity and want to do something useful, help the ministry of health by sharing the information in different languages. It seems the migrant population was not addressed in previous campaigns and many migrants do not fully understand what is going on. Help migrants in your neighbourhood if you can. This page has information in many languages.
  3. Buy Local: Ensure that you know where you can support local businesses by ordering food and home delivery. Newinzurich has great information for day-to-day topics such as food delivery, restricted areas, and online entertainment.
  4. Help the Neighbors: If you feel you can support others, get to know the neighbors through this site and offer your help.
  5. Be Reachable and Savable: Have phone and emergency numbers next to your bed. I left my apartment door unlocked when I felt dizzy. I will soon feel strong enough to lock it again.
  6. Define your Essentials: Stock up on essentials without hoarding, maintain a basic list of food and household items that you always want to keep in the house. I’m not good at this at all since I’m a convenience shopper but at least now I have enough pasta to survive a week or two without support.
  7. Consider Small Projects: If you are fit and free of symptoms, start spring cleaning at home
  8. Reduce Your Online Time: We are using the Internet too much now. We should learn to entertain ourselves offline too. Listen to old-fashioned radio, watch DVD’s or learn games with dice or chess. Read a paper-book. Challenge the kids for a round of “Kniffel”.
  9. Learn Basic Relaxation Methods:
  10. Enjoy the Fact That you are Still Alive: Sing and dance, play an instrument. Invite your friends to a virtual coffee chat and set up dinner dates.
  11. Reduce Your Work Time: Set a work schedule for max 6 hours a day if you are well enough. I’ve decided that I will work every day but only as long as I’m feeling okay. I have a hard time sitting in an office chair for more than two hours. I’m working mainly from my red sofa. It feels more like fun this way.
  12. Check Your Health Insurance: If you live in Switzerland you probably have basic coverage and additional hospital coverage. If you are not sure what is covered exactly and if your family members are covered for the same treatment it’s a good time to check that.
  13. International and Local Pension Plans: Verify and update the beneficiaries on your pension plan, check if your pension plan is sufficient for now or if you need to set money aside for your old-age pension. Usually, we procrastinate on these topics but in a situation like this we want to be sure our family is not suffering any unnecessary stress.
  14. Have Cash at Home: I keep more cash than usual. Even though it is generally recommended to pay with cards and other cashless payments for dealing with grocery shopping and pharmacies, you might need more cash than usual. Sometimes you just want to give a person a tip or you need to pay cash at the door. I know that I’m inviting burglars to my house writing this but I will cough at everyone who dares to enter. Karma baby.
  15. Improve your Cash Flow: If you are experiencing cash flow issues as a small company owner or freelancer please check if you are entitled to support through social security. For Switzerland, there is a temporary support package (see email below from Markus Hohl) and the really great news is that invoices from social security can be paid later without interest. I’m very happy with the government’s fast action following this petition.
  16. Ensure Business Continuity: I noticed that I’m the only person who can access the company bank account. So I’ve organized power of attorney for two close friends. The bank was very supportive and delivered forms in no time. I hope we can get everything set up digitally.
  17. Do Admin Stuff: You have to a lot of admin work anyway such as your tax declaration. If you are bored you can work on your tax declaration for 2019. The deadline has been extended to 31 May 2020 in Zurich for everyone. If you are done with your taxes think about all the money you can claim back now. Also, if you have a general train ticket you can freeze it online for 30 days. Small peas but they also contribute.
  18. Seek Professional Help: My colleague Axel Kellerbauer offers free German and English-speaking crisis support calls.
  19. Send an Orchid: Orchids are long-lasting and show perseverance. They are a perfect symbol for our condition. If you know a person who’s unwell send orchids. Help Hans-Peter Mayer so the orchids and shop can survive by ordering orchids for your team and others.
  20. Support this Petition: Switzerland should get more people tested against Corona-Virus in order to make more informed statements. Being in limbo myself, I know that not knowing doesn’t really help. The petition was started about a week ago and by now 2000 people have signed. The organizers will need at least 10’000 signatures before the government will take this serious enough.

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Resources

HR Professionals:

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Global Leaders and Expats:

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WHO Immunization

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WHO Health Alert Brings Covid 19 Facts To Billion Via Whatsapp

My skiing vacation in St. Anton, Austria came to an abrupt end when we were asked around 2.30 pm while casually chatting on a chairlift to leave the town as soon as possible. By the time we returned to our apartment and while throwing everything into our luggage I told myself to keep calm. I wasn’t calm really but I functioned. My friend and I were too late. The train station was closed already, nobody was allowed to enter. Policemen with masks tried to be nice to us but we were concerned. People standing there in bulks waiting for buses, taxi drivers signaling “no” and the sudden realization that I couldn’t just call a friend or relative and ask for a pick-up. 

Because there is a chance that I contracted coronavirus. The next step was to try to get a ride to the next train station, but our landlord wasn’t allowed to leave the city. Walking was not an option either. Asking other people to take us on, probably a little late in the game. Through a friend, we got a ride to Zurich on a bus and I was very happy when my friend and I arrived at my home. It’s more than 24 hours ago and the shock seems over. I’m suddenly in a 2-week quarantine. 

This pandemic has disrupted life worldwide, resulting in (to-date) over 150,000 cases and over 5,000 deaths. You can see the live updates here

People are rightfully worried due to the unfolding scenarios: food and essential item shortages due to hoarding, misinformation and hysteria. Due to my role(s) I have been following the topic on all media for a while now. During the last week, I had a lot of good conversations with my friends. What I can share now are a few tips although I’m really in the middle of this experience myself right now.

Prepare for Self-Isolation

First and foremost, self-isolation requires letting the people around you know of it – the isolation is as much for their benefit as it is for yours. If you suspect that you do have symptoms of the coronavirus, you must also do the following:

  • Stay at home and separate yourself from all other people. If you can’t use a separate bathroom, disinfect all areas all the time.
  • Wash dishes in the washing machine.
  • Cut down your visits outside to the absolute essential medical visits. Call the doctor before you go there.
  • Store your waste securely, as it will contain used tissues and other potentially-infected litter that must remain with you until you are cleared of infection.
  • If your symptoms worsen, seek professional medical help immediately.
  • Don’t use communal washrooms. Hand wash your clothes and towels in your apartment.

For details on how to effectively quarantine yourself from others and best practices involved, please read this article detailing what to do in such a scenario. A list of what you should and should not do is also available here.

It is mandatory for those with travel history to stay in isolation, so please make sure you follow medical protocol.

Buy Groceries and Stock up on Food

If you’re like me you might not eat at home a lot. I’m the opposite of a hamster buyer so I really needed my friend to go out grocery shopping yesterday. I will look into online orders when I run out of essentials. 

Remember that we are Not at War

This is a crisis and a pandemic and maybe worse than anything we have experienced in our generation but do you remember Chernobyl in 1984? I felt similar then. We were not allowed to go out even though we couldn’t really see the “danger”. Still, we’re not at war. Shops are still operating and we have access to clean drinking water from the tab here.

The images you are seeing online of empty shelves in grocery stores, barren city centers and overflowing hospitals (especially in Italy) can make you panic. You must ensure that you don’t so that you can follow the common sense but critical advice from the government and medical professionals. For me, the best way to avoid panic is by working and prioritizing.

Follow the Guidelines of Your Local Authority

In Switzerland, this is the BAG. https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home.html

I find their updates very helpful. If you live in another country follow the guidelines set by your local authorities, both administrative and healthcare. 

That means, avoid unnecessary contact with others or your face, wash your hands frequently and definitely self-quarantine if you have returned from another country or a known “hotspot”.

I was asked to inform the authority about my quarantine and I contacted the cantonal office for Zurich. They shared these links with me.

https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/de/home/krankheiten/ausbrueche-epidemien-pandemien/aktuelle-ausbrueche-epidemien/novel-cov.html

https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/de/home/krankheiten/ausbrueche-epidemien-pandemien/aktuelle-ausbrueche-epidemien/novel-cov/selbst-isolierung-und-selbst-quarantaene.html

Get Medical Advice from Your Doctor or Trusted Sources

I read a lot online and most medical information is not backed by evidence and if you’re not sure you can trust the source you can always get a second opinion from your doctor by email or phone consultation. For example, I read twice now that you should only take Paracetamol against the symptoms.

https://twitter.com/CHUVLausanne/status/1239144803847360512?s=20

Coronavirus Infoline for CH +41 58 463 00 00, 24/7.

Plan how you will Deal with a Lockdown

Most European countries have shut down schools, educational institutes, theatres, libraries, and public gatherings. So far, public transportation in Switzerland still seems to run on the clock as usual. However, there will be delays and changes due to border controls. Also, currently, it looks like I won’t be able to go home to my family for a while. I assume we will need medical clearance before crossing a border again.

Stop Your Business Travel to Other Countries

If you haven’t yet got stuck anywhere, there is a high chance that you will get stuck next week. Unless you are an MD who saves lives I’m not sure if your business trip is really needed right now. I suggest you cancel your trips until Easter. Then you can reassess the situation.

Replace “Essentials” with Home-Made Products

Due to the unfortunate shortages created by people stockpiling items, you may be seeing empty shelves in supermarkets and grocery stores. Most shops now have implemented limits to how many of each item people can buy, ensuring that everyone will be able to get essential items such as hand sanitizers, toilet paper, and basic food. However, where this is not the case, think about ways to replace “essentials” with home-made products and buy the ingredients now. For example: Could you use the old newspaper to make your own toilet paper? Or how about creating your own alcohol-based hand sanitizer

Innovate

Most of Europe is in some degree of shut down at the moment, which means that both people’s daily personal lives and their work routines are affected. Businesses both large and small have been impacted by the disruptions, facing varying levels of financial hardships. Startups, in particular, will be hit hardest, particularly those which require mobility from employees.

That said, however, innovation is essential for any startup’s success and this incident should be treated as yet another opportunity to innovate. Thanks to high-speed internet and laptops, most professionals are able to work remotely from home for this period. However, this increased load on cloud services such as Slack, Zoom, and Hangouts has resulted in those services experiencing slowdowns and issues in the face of such unprecedented load. 

Upgrades to those services don’t have hard timelines because of the restrictions in place, so organizations have been clever about it. I know of a few companies who have implemented a sort of time-share for work hours. 

They have divided people’s working hours into slots to balance the load on remote/cloud services and ensure better productivity than everyone clamoring to log in remotely. A few other businesses are alternating workdays for teams – while slower, this works better for more project-oriented work.

Take stock of the remote working conditions of your teams and order laptops and mobile phones if you have not done so yet.

It’s also vital that you review deadlines and stop pestering your teams with less critical topics right now. Prioritize!

Establish emergency contact groups with your team either via Whatsapp or Slack.

Take Small Steps

Constant media coverage reinforcing the difficulties faced ahead and the issues happening currently, worry about loved ones and humanity, in general, all take their toll. Therefore, I would advise you all to steel your hearts and persevere – now is the time for us to show our resilience. If you are struggling, the following steps may help:

  1. Take things one day at a time. What are you working on today? What are you eating today? How are you relaxing today? 
  2. Set yourself small, achievable goals for the day. They can be work-related or personal. 
  3. Put aside some time for your favorite hobby. This is a stressful and anxiety-filled time for a lot of people, even if they are not consciously aware of their worry levels. Engaging in a relaxing hobby will help you regain a sense of calm.
  4. Check-in with loved ones at least once a day.

Resilience would be required a lot more for expatriates, who may find themselves in a tougher mental challenge than most. They could find themselves not being able to be reunited with their families or to care for elderly family members. Being away from family is tough on the best of days, but in this time of global worry, it is all the harder. I wish there was some instant solution I could provide or some concrete tip that could help out, but unfortunately, the reality is that as an expat you will have to bear this situation. 

If you are stuck in a situation where you are unable to be with your family, try to stay in frequent contact with them over messaging, voice and video calls. Both they and you will be feeling vulnerable right now, perhaps lost and reasonably worried, and talking to them could act as emotional support for everyone. You can also try to read up on the home country’s approved medical advice for the region and help your family understand and act upon it, to minimize their chances of contracting COVID-19.

If you want to repatriate, speak to your Global Mobility Manager now. Check if your company works with International SOS too.

Sleep is Important

Try to Get Sleep

It is easy to say “resilience” and be done with it, but the fact of the matter is that these are difficult times. People are and will experience helplessness, loss, grief and more – it is perfectly alright to feel all those things. Worry is a natural response to what is happening around us all, and in a situation like this where global events are out of our control, it is fine to be worried. A good way to regain some measure of calm would be to control the little things still in our power – organizing your house, getting your washing done or perhaps cooking and enjoying a meal.

If you find your sleep disrupted by anxiety or worry, you can try some of our tips on improving sleep. Sleep deprivation can affect your emotions even more so trying to maintain a good sleep cycle can help you manage yourself better.

Be Mindful About Your Statements About Other People

We have all been joking around about Italian pasta and the Chinese rice. However, we have to be careful that we are not all turning into a bunch of stigmatizing, prejudiced racists. Having coronavirus is not an act of God. It’s not a consequence of shameful behavior. At this point, it’s just bad luck. Let’s be mindful of how we treat people in this situation.

Think About Your Resources

My mom just asked me if I didn’t have any extra sanitizer in a bag at my grandmother’s house. Funnily, this was leftover from the RockMeRetreat 2018 and “parked” there with other materials. She will now give it to my aunt who’s at risk and I’m so grateful that I could help with something so small from a distance.

Keep Calm and Make a Plan 

I sat down yesterday with a friend and we wrote a list of how we will deal with this. Writing about the experience of being quarantined was a part of the list. We also agreed to check in on each other daily. I can hardly handle a Sunday at home without going out so the part where I’m isolated from my partner and other people needs a lot of self-care. 

If you are feeling confused or anxious, I recommend you speak to a doctor. People react differently to crisis situations and often it helps to talk about your experience. I also want to mention that sharing a bit more love and being a bit more empathetic than usual goes a long way here.

Kind Regards,

Angie

More Resources:

https://foph-coronavirus.ch/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/AS2020.030.00773D.pdf

URGENT request to stay at home now! This is a Doctor from UZH, one of our best hospitals.

https://doktor-video.wetransfer.com/downloads/66c890900962a8c5a4c7e3735edb523120200315210045/d058bf