Updated: May 25, 2020

Working in the field of experience design in #China. I know... life should be more interesting than this, but this is what I can talk about now.


27th March 2020

Less of a diary but something I wrote for my colleagues in the states. More or less captures the day-to-day during the pandemic. Dear friends and family in NYC, Sending my regards from China. I know things in the US are different than in China, but I just want to shed some lights on the challenges and how I dealt with them in the past weeks. Not sure if it’d be helpful, but just another perspective. Stage 1. Dealing with general negative media sentiment. We are in an age of excessive information sharing. News media are competing for viewership through catchy headlines, but usually, it exacerbates the situation. There will also be folks who are trying to be the KOLs among friends by sharing articles with negative sentiments, to make themselves seem like a critical thinker in the situation. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with these emotions. It’s important to stay level-headed and see through the BS, and find things to keep you mentally and physically in shape. - Talk to sensible friends. - Find an interesting TV show to watch. - Learn something fun (I learned how to trade options lol. bad timing) - Find a game to enjoy (I became a big deal in the PVP battles in my gaming community) - Exercise at home (release those endorphins!) - Check out memes (you have no idea how creative people can get when stuck at home) Y’all have more creative hobbies than I do. In the end, it’d be fine. Stage 2. Working from home. The China office has been WFH for almost 2 months now. We had some crazy experiences. Conducting 20 project interviews in 4 days. It was great in the beginning. No more commute, get to be with your pets/cared ones. BUT! Later you might experience: - Growing communication costs. Hard to read the nuance and emotion in the messages. Might lead to misunderstanding. - Blurred boundary between work and life. Long working hours (I haven’t had a weekend since Feb) - Routines are disrupted, how we usually relax and hangout. - The need for personal time and space. (My gf and I went from “awww this is nice” to just stopped talking to each other entirely) I know the situations are different in the US and China, and I can’t speak for those with children. But just want to share my ways of dealing with the challenges of WFH. - If the time is appropriate. Get on a quick call to talk things through. Will save a ton of time typing and finding the right emoji to explain that “no, I’m not mad...” - Set-up very precise work hours. Step away and refresh the brain. - Find routines to enjoy in the everyday. Going to the grocery market is an adventure for me. It’s ridiculous, but I can’t tell you how excited I was to see live seafood in the market. The signs of vitality! Wow! Fish! WFH means your fam are the only people you see and talk to 24/7. Aside from setting different work hours, it’d be good to also have separate groups of friends to chat. Respecting each other spaces and time but also finding stuff you can enjoy together. Ie. Taking a nice walk (to see the fish!) Stage 3. Going back to work next week! The bigger challenges that we may face ahead is more on the macro level. Offline retail may suffer; brands are focusing more on digital engagements. Many people and business are embracing the digital platforms for the first time and don’t know what they are doing. ie. 60 year-old school teacher using live streaming tools to teach (actually kinda funny to watch). 4S dealership sales rep. rapping about product specs on live stream. These pivots can be an opportunity for us. To show them how to truly create an awesome experience. All in all, one step at a time. We can get through this. I know things are different but hopefully it helps. We’re a family. Might not mean much, but you know that I’m here to talk and support.