5 Changes To Expect In The Workplace After COVID-19

As a result of the coronavirus, the workplace will never be the same. Even the word “workplace” suddenly seems obsolete, as the physical location in which we now work has merged with the places in which we eat, sleep, learn, exercise, and play.

The COVID-19 crisis has created the ultimate “burning platform”—an unexpected, overnight opportunity for people to see the impact of swift and meaningful change, and to witness the negative consequences of trying to ignore this aberration from everyday life. Within organizations, the virus has been driving significant change in how their employees operate with each other, as well as with clients, customers, and vendors. Now that companies are shifting past their immediate response to the crisis, we’ve entered into a temporary “new normal.”

However, what will the long-term impacts of our new normal be on the world of work?

Winning organizations will be those that integrate and master digital work, community, and collaboration. To succeed, companies need to begin planning now for five key shifts:

1. Full digital transformation, supported by a truly virtual workforce

Companies have quickly figured out how to serve their customers and clients remotely, and there’s no going back. From telemedicine in hospitals to remote learning for public schools and streaming fitness classes, every industry has accelerated its own digital transformation. As a result, the demand for highly skilled remote workers will continue to increase.

With a surge of candidates in the market, organizations should be preparing to recruit and integrate these key individuals into the organization quickly and seamlessly, so they can capitalize on the cost savings and broader access to rockstar talent.

2. Focus on outputs versus face time

Being the first one in the office and the last one to leave is no longer a measure of commitment and performance. In a post-COVID-19 world, employees will be measured on what gets done and the value of their work rather than on the individual tasks and the time it takes to get the work done.

Leaders must provide crisp, outcome-driven expectations so that their people can deliver on goals successfully. Motivating employees to perform will require modeling and measurement of their outputs and being clear on those metrics. Companies must level-set expectations for what drives organizational priorities and goals, rather than discrete tasks.

3. Respect for work-life blend

More than ever before, companies are recognizing that working “nine to five” is unsuited to the demands of a modern workforce. If leaders can place greater emphasis on flexibility for people to accomplish their best work—when and how it meets their personal needs (as well as the needs of the company)—they can reinforce the cultural shift of measuring staff based on performance, which can result in exponential benefits for the organization.

Organizations must remove stigma and support employees’ needs to make time for self-care–including exercise, meals, and family time. Policies and procedures need to reflect these shifts, and leaders must model a true work-life blend so that it becomes part of the company culture.

4. Stronger communications

Now that companies have gone fully virtual, individuals are communicating more efficiently and more frequently across a networked environment. To do this well, everyone, at every level, must make opportunities for dialogue by employing numerous channels.

Leaders can make communication easier for their people. They can remove roadblocks, create a governance structure that pushes decision-making out and down, and provide employees with the tools and training they need to empower them for ongoing communication and local decision-making. With traditional hierarchies gone, true leaders must step up to facilitate information flow across the organization.

5. Increased trust, transparency, and empathy

We are witnessing a revolution in leadership. In a recent leadership study of Fortune 500 executives and entrepreneurs, respondents cited behaviors such as humility and listening skills as essential qualities of great change leaders. And leadership experts such as Kim Scott and Brené Brown have long proselytized about the importance of candor and vulnerability. Now, leaders and employees must understand and support each other like never before. People are sharing more about their personal situations with colleagues, and as a result, they are creating an expectation of humanity, active listening, support, and connection.

Leaders that demonstrate these qualities and publicly recognize excellence in their people will earn greater trust and loyalty from their employees. Leaders who seize this mindset now will be better prepared to engage employees for the long term, regardless of the external environment.

If there’s one thing everyone can agree on, it’s that COVID-19 is driving change in our behaviors, and the workplace is no exception. To begin shifting our idea of what’s possible in the workforce after the curve flattens, leaders must take hold of what’s working today and integrate it quickly into the everyday. Rather than waiting for reentry and being reactive, leaders need to prepare, setting expectations for the ways of working that will benefit the organization down the road, so employees can focus on the strategic business priorities of the future.

 

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Tales of Rock – Ratt Star In New GEICO Commercial

The current lineup of Ratt recall their blockbuster hit song “Round And Round” in a brand new television commercial from the insurance company GEICO.

The song originally appeared on the band’s 1984 debut full-length album “Out Of The Cellar” and the insurance company bills the clip as “New homeowners rave about the character and detail of their new home. Although, they do have a small Ratt issue.”

The new commercial features the current bandmembers frontman Stephen Pearcy, bassist Juan Croucier, guitarist Jordan Ziff and drummer Pete Holmes. Watch it below:

 

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Out of Work Strippers Launch Boober Eats, the Topless Meal Delivery Service

With so many people staying home and avoiding the nightmare that is the supermarket at the moment, meal delivery services like Deliveroo and Uber Eats are exploding in popularity. But a new player is threatening to take a stranglehold on the market, and frankly, we aren’t complaining. Dancers at the Lucky Devil Lounge in Portland, Oregon have launched a new meal delivery service that combines the convenience of fast-food with the pizazz of a strip club. That’s right, Boober Eats might just be good old-fashioned American ingenuity at it’s thriftiest.

Out of Work Strippers Launch Boober Eats, the Topless Meal ...

 

According to reports, once you order a meal online (generally pub grub and wings), Lucky Devil Lounge will get cooking immediately, dispatching two nearly-topless women in pasties to hand-out the goods. It all started as a joke on social media for Lucky Devil Lounge owner Shon Boulden, but after receiving hundreds of positive messages about the idea on St. Patrick’s Day, he decided to give it a shot.

“It’s crazy,” Boulden told the Oregonian. “We mutated our one business into a totally different style of business. All the calls, people are just giddy and fun. Sometimes it’s a surprise for someone, sometimes it’s a birthday, sometimes it’s people that are really stoned.”

While Boober Eats is a hilarious way to get in on the growing food delivery arena, Boulder’s initiative is actually doing a lot of good. About 25 of the original 80 Lucky Devil Lounge dancers are running Boober Eats deliveries after the club essentially shut down for patrons. What’s more, the strip club’s bouncers are also back to work, operating as drivers and security guards for the nearly topless delivery girls. If there’s one thing to be learned from the Boober Eats tale, it’s that amid a tireless tirade of negativity and despair, there are good stories everywhere.

God bless America.

Portland Gentlemen's Club Launches 'Boober Eats' Food Delivery Service

 

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More deaths in Pennsylvania, and New Jersey’s reopening plans move tentatively forward

The pandemic proved as relentless as the rain on Sunday, as the death count from the coronavirus continued to rise in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and larger plans for a safe reopening remained in flux.

An additional 4,800 cases were diagnosed in both states, and nearly a thousand people were being treated in Philadelphia hospitals.

Nationally, the one certainty remained uncertainty.

Americans should expect social-distancing measures to continue through the summer, White House Coronavirus Taskforce Coordinator Deborah Birx said, adding that the nation needs a “breakthrough” in testing to gauge the virus’ spread accurately. Top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said the United States must at least double its testing capacity before restarting the economy, up from the current 1.5 million to 2 million tests that are being conducted a week.

Governors in states where the numbers of new infections have been slowing are grappling with when to reopen, while health experts cautioned that the ability to test, trace, and isolate positive patients is crucial to managing the inevitable spike of infections that will follow.

“We’re going to move as one state,” Murphy said, “recognizing you’ve got density issues in the north that you just don’t have in the south.”

New Jersey needs additional money from federal lawmakers to recover, Murphy said, warning that while “we won’t go bankrupt” without it, the state will have to “gut the living daylights” out of essential jobs such as teachers and first responders.

An additional 3,730 New Jerseyans tested positive, officials announced Sunday, bring the total to 109,038. And 75 more deaths were reported, raising the toll to 5,938.

In New York state, officials announced 367 new deaths on Sunday, the lowest tally in almost a month, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke of a phased reopening that could start as soon as May 15.

The pandemic continued to produce odd, societal side effects:

This has already been the deadliest year for tornadoes since 2011, a major news story subsumed by the coronavirus. Gas prices have tumbled a dollar a gallon in Pennsylvania and 89 cents in New Jersey from a year ago, according to AAA, the result of people obeying government stay-at-home orders.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey casinos have lost millions in gaming revenues.

The Philadelphia Zoo, though closed by the pandemic, still picked a name for newly born sloth bear, “Keematee,” the Hindu word for “Precious,” selected by an on-line poll.

The Blue Angels and Thunderbirds flight teams plan to conduct a Tuesday flyover of New York City, Newark, Trenton, and Philadelphia to honor front-line COVID-19 workers, the Air Force and Navy announced, with the schedule to be released on Monday. People should stay home to watch, the military branches emphasized.

In Philadelphia, officials announced 237 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total to 12,566. Six more deaths were added, raising the city toll to 472. About half of those fatalities were in long-term care facilities.

Across Pennsylvania 1,116 more people tested positive for a total caseload of 41,165, and 1,550 people have died, state officials said. Deaths in nursing and personal-care homes account for 61% of the total, according to government data.

“As we see the number of new COVID-19 cases continuously change across the state, that does not mean we can stop practicing social distancing,” Secretary of Health Rachel Levine said. “We must continue to stay home to protect ourselves, our families and our community.”

 

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13 Everyday Habits That Could (and Should) Change Forever After Coronavirus

It’ll be a whole new world.

Cultural changes ahead

In a few short weeks, we’ve seen adaptations to living in a world with COVID-19, a novel strain of the coronavirus that has become a global pandemic. Between skipping handshakes, keeping a safe distance from other people, and being (much) more diligent about proper handwashing, we’re in the process of seeing what kind of impact the spread of the virus will have on our cultural, social, and hygiene practices.

According to CJ Xia, a VP of marketing and sales at Boster Biological Technology, a biotech company based in Pleasanton, California, there were three types of people before the coronavirus outbreak: those who were extremely conscious, moderately conscious, and ignorant about germs. “Now the level of each category has risen, and it is difficult to find the third type of folks now,” Xia tells Reader’s Digest. “As a result, we have started seeing far less social interaction. [And] remember, when one thing is done again and again, then it becomes a part of muscle memory.”

Though it’s difficult to find a bright side to the coronavirus outbreak, one positive is that this period of global upheaval may change some of our less-than-desirable public-health habits—and improve our hygiene for good. It could also alter the way we approach work, school, and so much more. Here are 13 everyday habits that could (and should) change forever once this crisis has passed.

Business people greeting during COVID-19 pandemicMARTIN-DM/GETTY IMAGES

Handshakes will be out

One of the most visible changes to societal norms since the coronavirus has hit has been avoiding handshakes. “In this new era of the coronavirus and the practice of social distancing, there will undoubtedly be a cultural shift in the way we all greet one another,” Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, MD, an internist and health expert, tells Reader’s Digest. “Shaking hands, high fives, hugs, and kisses are modes of greeting to be abandoned at this point. Social greetings may now entail a hand on the heart, a head nod, or pretty much any action that enables one to avoid direct touch or contact.” Here are more polite ways to get out of shaking hands.

Automatic alcohol dispenser in the hospitalZEPHYR18/GETTY IMAGES

There will be more hand sanitizer available in public places

In the days post–coronavirus outbreak, we’re probably going to see more hand sanitizer made available in offices, public spaces, and entertainment events. “For example, sanitizers would be placed at reception or outside interview rooms to make sure candidates’ hands are clean,” Xia says. “We would see sanitizers at the table of interviewers as well. It would no longer be rare. By placing such products around, everyone would be signaling to other people that their hands are clean.” And though many concert venues, stores, and gyms already provide hand-sanitizer dispensers, we’re likely to see this expand to including more restaurants, churches, and other establishments. That said, you can have too much of a good thing: Check out these 13 times you’re overusing hand sanitizer.

Confident female professional discussing with colleaguesALVAREZ/GETTY IMAGES

We’ll get better at responding to customer and client needs

The coronavirus outbreak has forced people to form rapid-response teams that cut across functions and seniority, according to Joanne Cleaver, author of The Career Lattice and a consultant and trainer to employers and individuals on how to use lateral career strategies for sustained growth. “People will discover that their coworkers and employees have talents that are relevant—even vital—to keeping the company operating,” she tells Reader’s Digest. “It’s up to employees to make the case, post-virus, that their employers should invest in additional training and skills development to develop the abilities that came to the fore in the crisis. And it’s on companies to extract strategic value from how people rose to the occasion.”

Minimal bread cafe decorating with white wall and wooden chairs. Warm, cozy and comfortable.ARTIT_WONGPRADU/GETTY IMAGES

Our relationships with restaurants may change

Dining out—or even getting takeout or delivery—is pretty different now compared to what it was like even a few weeks ago. According to Johann Moonesinghe, an expert in restaurant finance and the founder of inKind, a restaurant financing platform, we are already seeing a dramatic shift in how consumers are eating at restaurants. “The restaurants that require their guests to dine in are seeing the largest decline in sales, whereas bakeries that don’t have a lot of dining tables are busier than ever,” he tells Reader’s Digest. “And it is not just where people are going, it’s also what they are eating. We also have seen an increase in the sale of carbs and sugary products.”

Though it’s unclear exactly how our relationship with restaurants will play out after the outbreak, there will likely be changes. For example, delivery and takeout options might be expanded (in case something like this happens again), and more explicit information might be posted in the restaurant about its hygiene practices.

toilet with electronic seat automatic flush, japan style toilet bowl, high technology sanitary ware.RATCHAT/GETTY IMAGES

More people will use bidets

Though bidets that attach to your home toilet have become increasingly popular over the past few years, the sales and searches of these products have surged since the onset of the coronavirus outbreak. In fact, last week, TUSHY—a company that makes attachable bidets—had sales that were 10 times what they were before word spread of TP shortages. And that’s on top of TUSHY already selling well over double what they’d been selling a year ago, according to a rep from the company.

If we’ve learned one thing already from this outbreak, it’s that people are extremely concerned about having enough toilet paper. Given that bidets are an alternative to (or an addition to) toilet paper, it makes sense that more people are interested in them now. Now that bidets are becoming more popular and commonplace in American bathrooms, we’ll likely continue to see that trend after the pandemic is over.

Senior woman at homeEVA-KATALIN/GETTY IMAGES

More companies will permit employees to work remotely

These days, it’s pretty standard to negotiate some sort of arrangement for working remotely at least part of the time when you start a new job, but after the coronavirus outbreak, even more companies will permit employees to do so. “Once businesses and their employees see that working from home is not only doable but that it might even be more productive, it could cause a big shift in office cultures across the globe,” says Angela Ash, the content marketing manager at UpFlip, a site that assists people through business investments. “With so many companies allowing their team members to work remotely, and even intentionally hiring a remote workforce in the first place, this could be much more than a solution to the virus.” Here are the reasons that telecommuting may be the most important job perk to ask for, after health insurance.

 

Neon elevator controlsHATMAN12/GETTY IMAGES

We’ll find another way to press buttons

Even before coronavirus became an issue, most of us were aware of everyday locations that are laden with germs. These places include buttons on ATMs, the credit-card swiper at the grocery store (and the attached pen), and buttons in an elevator. According to Dr. Okeke-Igbokwe, people might start pushing those elevator buttons with their elbow or even an object like a pen instead of their fingers. “The same goes for pushing your pin number at the ATM or making a purchase at a store,” she adds. “Directly touching the keypads with your fingers will be an action of the past.”

Nikola Djordjevic, MD, cofounder of HealthCareers, agrees that pushing buttons in public is something that could change. “Surfaces are ideal places for transmitting the disease, and a lot of people now have to get rid of the habit of pressing elevator buttons or touching handles with their hands,” she explains. “Ideally, people should cover their skin with clothes or simply press buttons with elbows. In case they accidentally use their fingers, people should avoid touching their face until they get a chance to wash hands with soap.” And this isn’t just a good idea in terms of coronavirus. Check out this long list of diseases you can prevent just by washing your hands.

Bowl of halved cashew nuts in a wooden bowlETIENNEVOSS/GETTY IMAGES

It may be the end of communal foods

Free food is great, but let’s be honest: Those bowls of popcorn and nuts at bars have always been kind of suspect. After all, just how many people use the restroom, don’t wash their hands, and then help themselves to a scoop of snacks via their very dirty hands? But the coronavirus outbreak will cause more people to rethink eating out of communal food containers. “You may also likely notice avoidance of buffets and salad bars to avoid picking up germs from serving spoons,” Dr. Okeke-Igbokwe explains. “There [also] will be a greater focus on purchasing ingredients to prepare your own meals as hygienically as possible at home.” Here are another 12 things you’re probably sharing that germ experts wouldn’t.

Crossing the street in San Francisco's Mission DistrictGEORGECLERK/GETTY IMAGES

People will take their personal space more seriously

One of the most visible policies in the age of the coronavirus is the idea of “social distancing.” According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, this involves staying at least six feet away from other people. And while we probably won’t see that six-foot rule remain in effect after the outbreak is over, a version of it will likely continue, says Dmytro Okunyev, the founder of Chanty, a team chat platform using artificial intelligence. “People will start paying more attention to whom they let approach them in their personal space and the socially acceptable personal distance will change in most cultures.

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DR. Deborah Birx Says Social Distancing Must Continue Through Summer Months

hite House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said social distancing will continue through the summer months, noting that many governors understand the process of reopening must be very gradual.

Birx responded Sunday morning to Vice President Mike Pence’s prediction last week that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic will largely be over by Memorial Day after Meet the Press host Chuck Todd incredulously asked: “This Memorial Day 2020? Is that realistic?” The immunology and global health expert said current U.S. tracking models “give us great hope” that COVID-19 cases and deaths will be waning by the May 25 holiday weekend. But she said social distancing practices must be maintained through the entire summer to help prevent any potential outbreaks of COVID-19.

Meet the Press

@MeetThePress

WATCH: Vice President Mike Pence said COVID-19 will be largely “behind us” by Memorial Day.

Dr. Birx: “Social distancing will be with us through the summer to really ensure that we protect one another.”

Embedded video

“I think [Pence] means in the models and in tracking our actual data, because previously we were using models based on data around the world, and now we’re very much tracking every single outbreak in the United States separately,” Birx said Sunday. “And if you look at those outbreaks over time and you look at places like Louisiana, if you look at Houston, if you look at Detroit and how they’ve reached their peak and come down and what those cases look like as they come down — it gives us great hope.”

“Social distancing will be with us through the summer to really ensure that we protect one another as we move through these phases,” Birx added, referencing Memorial Day as the unofficial start of summer.

Birx recommended that Americans with pre-existing conditions, the elderly and others exposed to “risk factors” should continue to shelter-in-place over the next several months. “[They should make sure] that anybody they interact with are also following the social distancing guidelines very carefully.”

Todd repeatedly questioned whether the relaxing of social distancing guidelines by several states this week may lead to the country “losing all the ground that we’ve gained over the last six weeks.” Birx said she has spoken with state leaders and governors who are in agreement that the reopening of businesses and public venues must be a gradual process.

“They talk about this not as turning on a light switch but slowly turning up the dimmer,” Birx said.

Pence, speaking Friday on Geraldo Rivera’s Cleveland radio show, offered his latest prediction for when he believes coronavirus cases and deaths will have primarily subsided from the peak numbers seen earlier this month. “I think honestly, if you look at the trends today, that I think by Memorial Day weekend we will largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us.”

Birx noted that reopening and relaxing of protective social distancing guidelines will vary by locality, pointing out that New York “still has 45 percent or so of the cases in the entire United States.”

Last week, President Donald Trump told reporters at a White House coronavirus press briefing that he is declining to offer up specific dates or predictions about when the country should reopen, claiming the “fake news” always misconstrues his words.

summer months social distancing pool
Dr. Deborah Birx said social distancing will continue through the summer months, noting that many governors understand the process of re-opening must be very gradual.SEAN GALLUP / STAFF/GETTY IMAGES

Speaking with Fox News on Saturday evening, Birx said she expects coronavirus deaths will be “dramatically decreased” a month from now at the end of May. But she warned that asymptomatic carriers remain a concern for tracking purposes.

 

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support.

 

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What Should I Do With My Stimulus Check? How To Save Money During The Coronavirus Crisis

A month into social distancing measures, most people are trying to understand the full scope of how the coronavirus pandemic will impact their lives. As state and local governments order people to stay home, many of us have shifted to work from home indefinitely, continued positions on the front lines, or lost jobs altogether. As a result, the economy has thrown retirement savings and other investments for a loop.

These changes, like any issue related to the gender pay gap, disproportionately affect women, who make up 75% of health care practitioners, almost 90% of health care support staff and one-third of independent contractors, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. More than 700,000 jobs were eliminated during the first wave of coronavirus-related layoffs in March, NPR reported, 60% of which were held by women; a recent report from the National Women’s Law Center found that women, especially Latinx, black, and indigenous women, are overrepresented in low-wage jobs and will be hit hardest by a post-COVID-19 recession. Women who are still employed might need to juggle new responsibilities like caring for children who are now learning remotely or for sick relatives alongside, you know, doing their jobs.

Financially speaking, it’s a tough time for everybody. Bustle spoke with economics and personal finance experts about what you should be doing with your money right now.

Plan How You’ll Use Your Stimulus Check

The stimulus package signed at the end of March is meant to offset some of the losses from the shaky economy. Single individuals who made less than $75,000 in 2018 will get $1,200, plus $500 per child. People making up to $99,000 and married couples who filed jointly might get slightly different amounts.

Yana Rodgers, faculty director for the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University, says the package is “a step in the right direction but … insufficient” — not enough people qualify for stimulus checks, the checks won’t come quickly enough, and $1,200 isn’t really enough to sustain a household through this crisis.

Ande Frazier, a certified financial planner and CEO and editor-in-chief of MyWorth, a personal finance site, suggests using this money to cover immediate needs or boost your emergency fund. Lauren Anastasio, a certified financial planner at SoFi, a personal finance company, says that your emergency fund should consist of three to six months’ worth of essential living expenses; if you’re wondering what that number is, calculate everything you spend money on in a month and multiply that by at least three. If you don’t already have a budget, that would be a good project to take on now, too.

If you’re strapped for cash, plan to be “ruthless” with your spending for the next few months, Frazier says. Write down how much money is coming in and out, when your bills are due, and what you can cut. If you’re working from home, your transportation costs will likely be lower or nonexistent; if you take money out of your paycheck pre-tax for subway tickets or parking, ask HR if you can pause that deduction for now. You can also cut back on food expenses by meal prepping, Frazier says.

The package will also expand unemployment benefits; you can receive an additional $600 a week through the end of July and can get benefits for up to 39 weeks rather than the usual 26. If you’ve lost your job or been furloughed because of coronavirus, you can go to your state’s department of labor and see what you’re eligible for.

If you’re totally secure in your emergency fund and want to use the extra money to help others out, Frazier recommends donating it to domestic violence organizations or another cause close to your heart.

Call Your Bill Collectors About Coronavirus Relief

If the pandemic means you can’t cover your heat or electric costs, call your lenders to adjust or defer your repayment plans, Anastasio says. If you specify that you’ve been impacted by coronavirus-related job cuts, they may offer programs that will prevent your accounts from being reported to credit bureaus for late or missing payments.

Under the new stimulus package, federal student loan payments will be suspended until Sept. 30, according to The New York Times, so that’s one bill people won’t have to worry about; Frazier recommends putting the money you’d spend on paying off loans directly into savings if you don’t need it right away.

Frazier has been advising her clients to pay the minimum on their debts and concentrate on stashing as much money as possible in their emergency funds. If you want to continue paying off your debts during this period, try the avalanche method, or paying the minimum across all your debt and use the money left over to pay off anything high interest. If your debt feels overwhelming, try the snowball repayment method, meaning you pay off your smaller debts before moving onto the bigger ones.

Leave Your Retirement Savings Alone… Unless You Really, Really Need It

It might be tempting, but pulling money from your retirement probably isn’t worth it, unless your situation is truly drastic. Instead, Frazier recommends waiting out the market downturn.

“I know that this is very uncomfortable, but it truly is a natural part of the market cycle,” Anastasio says. “And for those younger investors who are experiencing this for the first time and watching their portfolio go down … this is not the first time they’re going to experience this during their career.”

Frazier recommends looking at your savings, the cash value of your life insurance policy, or even a home equity loan instead.

If you absolutely need to withdraw from your retirement savings, you can take out up to $100,000 from your 401(k) or IRA without being hit with a 10% penalty, thanks to the stimulus package, but you’ll still have to pay regular income tax on it, Frazier says.

“Taking money from your retirement funds probably should be a last resort,” she says.

Don’t Panic Invest During The Stock Market Downturn

You might have heard that with the downturn, it’s like stocks are “on sale.” Anastasio has heard of inexperienced investors who are borrowing money or even using their emergency funds to invest in stocks at a lower price, but she says it’s not a great idea to withdraw from an emergency fund for anything other than an emergency.

Most people shouldn’t make any changes to their investment strategy right now, Anastasio says. She says she’d rather see her clients focus on building a cash reserve — that three to six months’ worth of expenses — than trying to make short-term gains on the stock market. Ideally, you want to have those savings and your high-interest debt paid off before doing any kind of investing, she says. That way, you’ll be prepared to take care of yourself if you’re laid off or furloughed or if you get sick.

If your savings are in good shape and you’re itching to get into the market, talk to a financial advisor to make sure you’re making the best use of your money. But remember that no one is sure how long these ups and downs will last, and the stock market will still be there when this is all over.

 

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What Happens To Your Body When You Are Unemployed

Losing a job is one of the most stressful events you can experience in your career, especially if the loss is sudden. Losing a job during the coronavirus pandemic can really compound that stress. When you get laid off or fired, you not only lose a steady source of income, but you can also lose purpose, a routine and a community of co-workers. It can even impact your physical health.

“Oftentimes, people think, ‘How can they be feeling so sad, so depressed, so grief-stricken about a job,’ but we’re losing a lot of pieces that we’re not recognizing… that do constitute pretty significant loss,” said Lisa Orbé-Austin, a licensed psychologist who focuses on helping professionals through career transitions. “People feel a sense of heartbreak, especially if the loss was sudden.”

Your mind and body can be sending you signals that job loss is impacting you more than you consciously know.

You can’t sleep or you sleep too much.

Challenges with sleep are one sign that the job loss is impacting your health.

You might have trouble falling asleep, have trouble staying asleep, or find yourself getting up earlier than planned, said Kristin Bianchi, a Maryland-based licensed psychologist at the Center for Anxiety and Behavior Change.

One or two nights of sleeplessness are OK, but if it’s a pattern, it’s concerning. “Those start to become worrisome, if that’s happening over a long period of time,” Bianchi said.

The stress you felt in your job may stay with you even after you lose it. Patricia Haynes, an associate professor in the University of Arizona’s Department of Health Promotion Sciences, conducted research on how workplace stressors may leave a lasting impact on long-term health outcomes after unemployment. In one study, she and her fellow researchers found that individuals experiencing hindrance-related stressors like job insecurity and organizational politics were more likely to report insomnia after they lost their job.

“The more barriers, like political barriers or barriers that have to do with promotions, the things that keep people from doing well in their job ― we found that those types of stressors are associated with increased likelihood of continued insomnia even after the job is gone,” Haynes told HuffPost.

Your mental health gets worse.

The longer you go without a job, the more likely you are to report having depression, according to a Gallup survey of 356,000 Americans. One in five Americans unemployed for about a year or more were more likely to report that they have been or are undergoing treatment for depression.

Bianchi said two hallmark features of depression for unemployed professionals are when they lose interest in activities they used to enjoy and when they start to experience a low mood more often than not over a two-week period. “It might look like sadness, feeling down,” Bianchi said. “It can also manifest as anger or irritability.”

Your personality changes as you become less agreeable.

A 2015 study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that unemployment can cause basic personality changes.

Of the 6,769 German adults in the study, who spent four years completing personality tests, those who lost their jobs during the experiment experienced significant changes in their levels of agreeableness compared to the adults who remained employed. Women became less agreeable with each year of unemployment. Meanwhile, men reported being more agreeable during the first two years of unemployment, but got increasingly less agreeable after that.

The researchers believe these changes can be due to how your outlook can change once you become long-term unemployed. “In early unemployment stages, there may be incentives for individuals to behave agreeably in an effort to secure another job or placate those around them, but in later years when the situation becomes endemic, such incentives may weaken,” the authors of the study wrote.

Your body aches, and you get migraines and an upset stomach.

When your body is stressed, your muscles tense up to guard you from a perceived threat. It’s part of the body’s fight-or-flight response. Over time, being on high alert all the time can result in chronic stress-related problems like migraines. The American Psychological Association notes that pain in the low back and upper extremities has been linked to job-related stress.

Our brain is in constant communication with our gut, and job loss stress can also lead to gut discomfort. “With anxiety, it’s not uncommon to see [gastrointestinal] symptoms emerge. People may report frequent stomach aches, or other GI distress,” Bianchi said. “We tend to see headaches and muscle aches when we are anxious.”

Your appetite significantly changes.

Stress may cause an increase or decrease in an appetite, according to the American Psychological Association. Those appetite changes “may or may not be accompanied by weight loss or weight gain,” Bianchi said. “Changes that are marked from what people are used to.”

When you feel like you can’t count on much — like ‘I don’t have a paycheck coming in, I don’t have a job’ — having a routine creates something that you can count on. Psychologist Lisa Orbé-Austin

What You Can Do To Support Yourself During Unemployment

Make a routine. When you lack the built-in structure of a work day, schedule a new routine that can get you out of your pajamas and is something you look forward to, Orbé-Austin said. That can include physical exercise, lunch dates and breaks from your job search. Because of social distancing, meeting up with your friends may not be possible right now, but you can schedule online social dates like virtual game nights.

“When you feel like you can’t count on much ― like ‘I don’t have a paycheck coming in, I don’t have a job’ ― having a routine creates something that you can count on,” Orbé-Austin said.

Getting up at the same time every morning, making sure you have consistent meals and developing your own daily routine can be beneficial for people who have lost their jobs, Haynes said.

Try mastering an activity. When you lose your job and your job search stalls, you can develop learned helplessness where you feel like no matter what you do, nothing changes, Bianchi said. To counteract that loss of agency, try scheduling activities that bring you a sense of pleasure, mastery or self-efficacy, she said.

“In part, it helps [your] mood. But it also instills in us a sense of one’s capability and capacity to continue living even if we are out of work at the moment,” Bianchi said. “It helps us to be more resilient.”

Watch out for all-or-nothing thinking. Bianchi said that when people are down and demoralized, they can overlook the positive. “We’ll see people tending to dismiss the positives… and over-focus on negative experiences and disappointments that they’ve had,” she said.

One concrete way to push back against these distorted thoughts that can lead to feelings of helplessness is to keep a credit list where you track any actions you’ve taken that you are proud of, Bianchi said. “Those can be actions [you’ve] chosen, or you can also include in that positive feedback,” Bianchi said, like compliments or the fact that someone called to check in on you, which is a reflection of a positive relationship you’ve created.

By reminding yourself of all the good in your life and all the actions you are taking, these reminders can “strengthen our sense of self and maintain it in the absence of what tends to be a major source of identity,” Bianchi said.

 

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Proposed: $2,000 Monthly Stimulus Checks And Canceled Rent And Mortgage Payments For 1 Year

Sounds good to me!

The CARES Act provided a lifeline for taxpayers and small businesses. But as a one-time cash payment, many fear that it didn’t do enough to support taxpayers in one of our country’s greatest times of need. Especially in light of the fact that many people still have not received their stimulus checks.

To address this, members of Congress have made two separate proposals, one that would provide Americans over the age of 16 with a $2,000 monthly check for up to 12 months, and one that would cancel rent and mortgage payments through the duration of the coronavirus emergency.

Let’s take a deeper look:

Proposal #1: $2,000 Monthly Stimulus Check

Representatives Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Tim Ryan (D-OH) introduced the Emergency Money for the People Act. This Act, if passed, would provide additional cash payments to Americans who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Emergency Money for the People Act would provide a $2,000 monthly payment to every qualifying American over the age of 16 for up to 12 months.

This would include individuals who were left out of the CARES Act, such as some high school and college students and adults with disabilities who were ineligible to receive the stimulus check because they were claimed as a dependent on another tax return.

Monthly Stimulus Payments Would Be Easier to Receive

Not everyone has a bank or a home address. To address this, the Emergency Money for the People Act calls for individuals to get this money through direct deposit, check, pre-paid debit card, or mobile money platforms such as Venmo, Zelle, or PayPal.

$2,000 Monthly Stimulus Check Eligibility:

  • Every American age 16 and older making less than $130,000 annually would receive at least $2,000 per month.
  • Married couples earning less than $260,000 would receive at least $4,000 per month.
  • Qualifying families with children will receive an additional $500 per child – for up to three children.
  • Those who had no earnings, were unemployed, or are currently unemployed would also be eligible for the stimulus even if they didn’t file a tax return.
  • Those who were not eligible in 2019 or 2018 but would be eligible in 2020, could submit at least two consecutive months of paychecks to verify income eligibility.

You can learn more on Rep. Khanna’s website or read the full bill here.

See this article to see the current one-time $1,200 stimulus check rules.

Proposal #2: Cancel Rent & Mortgage Payments Through The Coronavirus Emergency

Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) introduced the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act. This Act, if approved, would call for a nationwide cancellation of rents and home mortgage payments through the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, or up to one year.

The bill would include:

  • Full rent payment forgiveness for your primary residence
  • Full mortgage payment forgiveness for your primary residence
  • No accumulation of debt for renters or homeowners
  • No negative impact on their credit rating or rental history.
  • It would establish a relief fund for landlords and mortgage holders to cover losses
  • It would create an optional fund to finance the purchase of private rental properties to increase the availability of affordable housing.

The bill would be retroactive to March 13, 2020, and would last for one year, unless extended. Renters and homeowners who made payments during April 2020 would be reimbursed for their payments.

No Double-Dipping Allowed. The bill would only allow taxpayers to receive coverage for their primary residence. It would not cover second homes, vacation homes, or other non-primary residences. Those who have both a mortgage and also rent a home would have to choose the home for which they would want to receive financial relief.

Landlords and Mortgage Companies Would be Covered Through a Fund Managed Through the Department of Housing and Urban Development

The Department of Housing and Urban Development would create a relief fund for lenders and landlords to cover the lost rental and mortgage payments they would have received.

To receive these funds, lenders and landlords would be required to follow federal guidelines for fair lending and renting practices for five years.

You can learn more on Rep. Omar’s website, or read the full proposal here.

 

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Special Report: Prepare For The Ultimate Gaslighting

You are not crazy, my friends

*Gaslighting, if you don’t know the word, is defined as manipulation into doubting your own sanity; as in, Carl made Mary think she was crazy, even though she clearly caught him cheating. He gaslit her.

Pretty soon, as the country begins to figure out how we “open back up” and move forward, very powerful forces will try to convince us all to get back to normal. (That never happened. What are you talking about?) Billions of dollars will be spent on advertising, messaging, and television and media content to make you feel comfortable again. It will come in the traditional forms — a billboard here, a hundred commercials there — and in new-media forms: a 2020–2021 generation of memes to remind you that what you want again is normalcy. In truth, you want the feeling of normalcy, and we all want it. We want desperately to feel good again, to get back to the routines of life, to not lie in bed at night wondering how we’re going to afford our rent and bills, to not wake to an endless scroll of human tragedy on our phones, to have a cup of perfectly brewed coffee, and simply leave the house for work. The need for comfort will be real, and it will be strong. And every brand in America will come to your rescue, dear consumer, to help take away that darkness and get life back to the way it was before the crisis. I urge you to be well aware of what is coming.

For the last hundred years, the multibillion-dollar advertising business has operated based on this cardinal principle: Find the consumer’s problem and fix it with your product. When the problem is practical and tactical, the solution is “as seen on TV” and available at Home Depot. Command strips will save me from having to repaint. So will Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser. Elfa shelving will get rid of the mess in my closet. The Ring doorbell will let me see who’s on the porch if I can’t take my eyes off Netflix. But when the problem is emotional, the fix becomes a new staple in your life, and you become a lifelong loyalist. Coca-Cola makes you: happy. A Mercedes makes you: successful. Taking your kids to Disneyland makes you: proud. Smart marketers know how to highlight what brands can do for you to make your life easier. But brilliant marketers know how to rewire your heart. And, make no mistake, the heart is what has been most traumatized this last month. We are, as a society, now vulnerable in a whole new way.

What the trauma has shown us, though, cannot be unseen. A carless Los Angeles has clear blue skies as pollution has simply stopped. In a quiet New York, you can hear the birds chirp in the middle of Madison Avenue. Coyotes have been spotted on the Golden Gate Bridge. These are the postcard images of what the world might be like if we could find a way to have a less deadly daily effect on the planet. What’s not fit for a postcard are the other scenes we have witnessed: a health care system that cannot provide basic protective equipment for its frontline; small businesses — and very large ones — that do not have enough cash to pay their rent or workers, sending over 16 million people to seek unemployment benefits; a government that has so severely damaged the credibility of our media that 300 million people don’t know who to listen to for basic facts that can save their lives.

The cat is out of the bag. We, as a nation, have deeply disturbing problems. You’re right. That’s not news. They are problems we ignore every day, not because we’re terrible people or because we don’t care about fixing them, but because we don’t have time. Sorry, we have other shit to do. The plain truth is that no matter our ethnicity, religion, gender, political party (the list goes on), nor even our socioeconomic status, as Americans we share this: We are busy. We’re out and about hustling to make our own lives work. We have goals to meet and meetings to attend and mortgages to pay — all while the phone is ringing and the laptop is pinging. And when we get home, Crate and Barrel and Louis Vuitton and Andy Cohen make us feel just good enough to get up the next day and do it all over again. It is very easy to close your eyes to a problem when you barely have enough time to close them to sleep. The greatest misconception among us, which causes deep and painful social and political tension every day in this country, is that we somehow don’t care about each other. White people don’t care about the problems of black America. Men don’t care about women’s rights. Cops don’t care about the communities they serve. Humans don’t care about the environment. These couldn’t be further from the truth. We do care. We just don’t have the time to do anything about it. Maybe that’s just me. But maybe it’s you, too.

Well, the treadmill you’ve been on for decades just stopped. Bam! And that feeling you have right now is the same as if you’d been thrown off your Peloton bike and onto the ground: What in the holy fuck just happened? I hope you might consider this: What happened is inexplicably incredible. It’s the greatest gift ever unwrapped. Not the deaths, not the virus, but The Great Pause. It is, in a word, profound. Please don’t recoil from the bright light beaming through the window. I know it hurts your eyes. It hurts mine, too. But the curtain is wide open. What the crisis has given us is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see ourselves and our country in the plainest of views. At no other time, ever in our lives, have we gotten the opportunity to see what would happen if the world simply stopped. Here it is. We’re in it. Stores are closed. Restaurants are empty. Streets and six-lane highways are barren. Even the planet itself is rattling less (true story). And because it is rarer than rare, it has brought to light all of the beautiful and painful truths of how we live. And that feels weird. Really weird. Because it has… never… happened… before. If we want to create a better country and a better world for our kids, and if we want to make sure we are even sustainable as a nation and as a democracy, we have to pay attention to how we feel right now. I cannot speak for you, but I imagine you feel like I do: devastated, depressed, and heartbroken.

And what a perfect time for Best Buy and H&M and Wal-Mart to help me feel normal again. If I could just have the new iPhone in my hand, if I could rest my feet on a pillow of new Nikes, if I could drink a venti blonde vanilla latte or sip a Diet Coke, then this very dark feeling would go away. You think I’m kidding, that I’m being cute, that I’m denying the very obvious benefits of having a roaring economy. You’re right. Our way of life is not ruinous. The economy is not, at its core, evil. Brands and their products create millions of jobs. Like people — and most anything in life — there are brands that are responsible and ethical, and there are others that are not. They are all part of a system that keeps us living long and strong. We have lifted more humans out of poverty through the power of economics than any other civilization in history. Yes, without a doubt, Americanism is a force for good. It is not some villainous plot to wreak havoc and destroy the planet and all our souls along with it. I get it, and I agree. But its flaws have been laid bare for all to see. It doesn’t work for everyone. It’s responsible for great destruction. It is so unevenly distributed in its benefit that three men own more wealth than 150 million people. Its intentions have been perverted, and the protection it offers has disappeared. In fact, it’s been brought to its knees by one pangolin.

And so the onslaught is coming. Get ready, my friends. What is about to be unleashed on American society will be the greatest campaign ever created to get you to feel normal again. It will come from brands, it will come from government, it will even come from each other, and it will come from the left and from the right. We will do anything, spend anything, believe anything, just so we can take away how horribly uncomfortable all of this feels. And on top of that, just to turn the screw that much more, will be the one effort that’s even greater: the all-out blitz to make you believe you never saw what you saw. The air wasn’t really cleaner; those images were fake. The hospitals weren’t really a war zone; those stories were hyperbole. The numbers were not that high; the press is lying. You didn’t see people in masks standing in the rain risking their lives to vote. Not in America. You didn’t see the leader of the free world push an unproven miracle drug like a late-night infomercial salesman. That was a crisis update. You didn’t see homeless people dead on the street. You didn’t see inequality. You didn’t see indifference. You didn’t see utter failure of leadership and systems.

But you did. You are not crazy, my friends. And so we are about to be gaslit in a truly unprecedented way. It starts with a check for $1,200 (Don’t say I never gave you anything) and then it will be so big that it will be bigly. And it will be a one-two punch from both big business and the big White House — inextricably intertwined now more than ever and being led by, as our luck would have it, a Marketer in Chief. Business and government are about to band together to knock us unconscious again. It will be funded like no other operation in our lifetimes. It will be fast. It will be furious. And it will be overwhelming. The Great American Return to Normal is coming.

From one citizen to another, I beg of you: Take a deep breath, ignore the deafening noise, and think deeply about what you want to put back into your life. This is our chance to define a new version of normal, a rare and truly sacred (yes, sacred) opportunity to get rid of the bullshit and to only bring back what works for us, what makes our lives richer, what makes our kids happier, what makes us truly proud. We get to Marie Kondo the shit out of it all. We care deeply about one another. That is clear. That can be seen in every supportive Facebook post, in every meal dropped off for a neighbor, in every Zoom birthday party. We are a good people. And as a good people, we want to define — on our own terms — what this country looks like in five, 10, 50 years. This is our chance to do that, the biggest one we have ever gotten. And the best one we’ll ever get.

We can do that on a personal scale in our homes, in how we choose to spend our family time on nights and weekends, what we watch, what we listen to, what we eat, and what we choose to spend our dollars on and where. We can do it locally in our communities, in what organizations we support, what truths we tell, and what events we attend. And we can do it nationally in our government, in which leaders we vote in and to whom we give power. If we want cleaner air, we can make it happen. If we want to protect our doctors and nurses from the next virus — and protect all Americans — we can make it happen. If we want our neighbors and friends to earn a dignified income, we can make that happen. If we want millions of kids to be able to eat if suddenly their school is closed, we can make that happen. And, yes, if we just want to live a simpler life, we can make that happen, too. But only if we resist the massive gaslighting that is about to come. It’s on its way. Look out.

 

I’d love to hear your comments…

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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