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A Hello and an Update From Arlington Entrepreneurs

covid 19 stay at home
Stay Safe, Stay at Home!

Greetings from AE Central, right now located in my dining room. The table makes a great workstation and I’m only steps away from my refrigerator (sigh…). I hope you are holding up as well as possible as we pass through these difficult times. I continue to improve in health, although am now dealing with a bout of diverticulitis (an inflammation of one of the sacs in the large intestine, treatable with antibiotics). I’m recovering from that as well, and have renewed my acquaintance with Ensure liquid nutritional supplement until things calm down a bit.

I hope you’re handling social distancing rules and self-isolation with a modicum of calm. I’ve worked from home for years, so the isolation doesn’t bother me so much. Besides, my husband is also at home so at least I have someone else to talk to if I want. We have no children in our household, so we’re spared that distraction. Even with that, I have difficulty focusing and disciplining myself to work. I hear this is a common complaint, though. Overall, my husband and I are hanging in there and I sincerely hope that you all are, too.

The Town of Arlington has a number of initiatives going for its residents and I wanted to share them with you. I also want to urge you to support local businesses that offer a variety of products, albeit at your door or at curbside. A lot of businesses also offer gift cards, which you can redeem once things have opened up again (whenever that will be!). Let’s take some time and spend some cash on our local businesses, so they’ll still be here once we’re back to “normal” again. Check this spreadsheet on the Town of Arlington’s website for a complete listing of which businesses are operating under these conditions. You can also view local COVID-19 updates from the Town. Like the spreadsheet above, it’s updated regularly.

Want to pitch in and lend a hand? Check out Arlington Helps. It’s part of a state-wide mutual aid effort to offer and take requests for help, or join a “pod” for a hyper-local focus. Visit Arlington Helps if you’d like something more to do than stare at your computer or YouTube (or work, work, work)!

Finally, there’s 6 Feet at 6 PM. It’s a Town initiative to connect with your neighbors in a friendly but safe way. According to the website, 6 Feet at 6 PM is: “a community initiative where every evening at 6:00 p.m. Arlington residents connect safety (more than 6 feet apart). Come out of your homes or look out your window and wave to neighbors. Check in via email, phone, Google Hangouts, Zoom, or engage online. The point is to check in with each other at a safe distance – 6 Feet at 6PM – to make sure we are all OK as a community. We’d love to see examples in your neighborhood; spread the word, share photos and video on social media with the hashtag #Arlington6At6”

I hope this list helps you stay productive and sane. Before I sign off I wanted to remind you all that I will be retiring from Arlington Entrepreneurs by the end of this year. I hope we’ll have a chance to start meeting again in person before that happens. I don’t have a replacement for my position, but if you have any ideas or would like to take on some AE tasks, I’d welcome your input. You can reach me at margy@arlingtonentrepreneurs.org and we can talk via phone or Zoom. Eventually, maybe even in person!

May you and your friends and family stay safe and healthy during these difficult times. Virtual hugs are going out to all of you.

Is the Future of Work Stuck in the Past?

Here’s an interesting and thoughtful piece from the National Freelancers Union. More people are talking about the new, freelance workforce (also known as the “gig economy”), but rarely from the point of view of those freelance workers themselves. Read on to get the union’s take on this tendency, particularly in academia:

Is the Future of Work Stuck in the Past?

This article is reproduced with the permission of the Freelancers Union partner, Trupo.

antique carAlmost 25 years ago, Freelancers Union was formed to cater to the needs of a growing independent workforce – one that didn’t have a mechanism to help everyone come together, pool resources, and advocate for their rights.

Now, roughly 56.7 million – one in three – Americans reported freelancing last year, contributing $1 trillion to the economy. Naturally, the rise of the gig economy, coworking spaces, and terms like “permalance” spark discussions and panels around the future of work.

Unfortunately, more often than not, Future of Work conversations focus on the impact on businesses rather than individual workers. Over a nice catered lunch, attendees are given advice on how businesses should market to the new workforce as consumers, and most recently, how technology and automation will affect business profitability and the labor force.

Notably absent from the talks are the middle-class workers directly shaping the future. These events happen at think tanks and academic institutions, fueled by an influx of philanthropic funding. Yes, they can lead to some interesting solutions for potential challenges the workforce could face, but they’re not coming from the people who are most affected by the changing work structure and economy. In fact, “The Future of Work” takeaways are often radically disconnected from the needs of American workers.

Read the rest of this article on the Freelancers Union blog.