CVEP’s staff is now beginning our second week of sheltering in place.  As the television reports of the growth of the virus is like a light bulb to a moth, there are permanent lessons we are learning from this experience. We continue to see how COVID-19 will change our lives for the long term.

The first lesson: CVEP’s business model is – for the most part – one that can be done virtually. We have thus far been able to do most of what we do using only bandwidth and smartphones. Internally, the only things that we have not moved to the virtual world is writing and signing checks, checking the mail or making deposits. Externally, all business consulting and workshops have been easily moved online. If the shelter in place order continues from weeks into months (and we certainly hope it won’t) we could go to a total virtual office if we need to.

Remote Work Necessities

For CVEP, as for most other businesses, there are two critical pieces of infrastructure that need to work for us to stay virtual. Those are bandwidth and cellular service. If there is one thing that we all should learn from this, it is the paramount importance of communication infrastructure. The parts of the country that are bandwidth deserts won’t even be able to communicate critical data required to function.

Another lesson we are learning is that our educational system seems to be transitioning relatively well to a virtual-delivery model. This will make a whole lot of brick and mortar facilities obsolete: from middle schools to graduate schools. Do we really need billion dollar schools to teach? The answer is looking like it is no. There may be a massive adaptive reuse of educational facilities that uses lessons learned from malls in locations that have seen population losses.

Well beyond the realm of moving to virtual operations, we are hopeful that the COVID-19 crisis will inspire our nation to work together for mutual benefit.