Kadena CEO Will Martino had already been considering abandoning his blockchain development company’s Brooklyn headquarters before coronavirus came to New York City. The fast-spreading virus, however, recently convinced him the office had to go. On Feb. 21, he told his team to begin working from home.
The New York metropolitan area’s surging coronavirus count is forcing more of the region’s cryptocurrency and blockchain companies to prepare for an unsavory reality: Their offices may close without warning and their employees may need to begin working remotely. CDC officials say “social distancing” can slow the spread of the virus, also known as COVID-19, which the World Health Organization classified as a global “pandemic” on Wednesday.
But the 8.6 million-person financial hub, too, is beginning to find signs that a wider outbreak may be coming, with instances of community transmission popping up across the five boroughs. that make up New York City On Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio recommended commuters begin considering working from home rather than taking frequently crowded subway trains to work.
The Winklevoss twins’ Gemini exchange has asked at-risk employees to begin working remotely, as well as anyone with concerns about their health and safety. Communications Chief Carolyn Vadino said the firm trialed its continuity plan in December.
Blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis sends its employees home each night with their laptops and chargers in tow and is imploring them to “elbow bump or wave” in place of the traditional – but germ-spreading – handshake. None are allowed to travel; anyone feeling sick is urged to stay home. Communications Director Maddie Kennedy began encouraging employees to work from home on Tuesday morning.
For now, the subtle shifts in work location are aimed at getting ahead of what is still a relatively miniscule coronavirus caseload in New York City. By allowing their employees the option to stay home these firms say they’re letting at-risk populations be that much safer.
Outside New York, companies and entities are taking different approaches. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission shuttered one floor of its Washington, D.C., headquarters and instituted optional work-from-home for the rest of the building after an employee presented some of the signs of COVID-19.
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