August 5, 2020 COVID-19 Series: Checking in on billsedison in China

Where are you from and what is the Covid situation in your country right now?
I’m from China, the situation is pretty good in my country now. Currently we only have 748 active cases, compared to the 1.4 billion population the affected ratio is pretty small. Since the beginning of May, the new daily cases are close to zero and our lives gradually went back to normal – offices, malls, restaurants are open and people can go outside freely. We are not even required to wear masks while being outside. I’m glad that we have been back to normal, and I’m hoping the situation all over the world can be back to normal soon.

What were the major changes/challenges in your daily life during this crisis? (As pertaining to work, family, free time, etc.)
The biggest challenge for me was the forced quarantine. I was quarantined for about four weeks at the end of January. That was the worst time for COVID in China. During the forced quarantine, I was not allowed to go outside. In the beginning, I was feeling like I was in jail, but I got used to it quickly because I made myself busy working for Topcoder and my day job. I had more time to stay at my laptop and work harder than before, and I won stage 2 of the TCO 20 copilot tournament due to my hard work at that time!

Another challenge was that I relied on takeout for my food during quarantine. Thankfully, we have a great takeout system, more than 50,000 delivery-men served for us in such a tough time. Most importantly, it was not expensive. As a customer, all I needed to do was open the app and order what I wanted to eat. Big thanks to all of the hard-working delivery-men.

Luckily, my quarantine has been over since March as the situation in China became much better then. I was free and can breathe the new free air again.

Is your work at home life affected by any family members living at home? Spouse, children, pets?
Not at all, I don’t have kids and my other family members never disturbed me when I was working :).

Did you discover any new hobby/ passion during this period?
Indoor activities. I realized the importance of health during the quarantine so I started some indoor activities like push-ups and Ab Wheel to keep me fit.

Also, I found I have been better at time management as I could be more dedicated during the quarantine.

Was there a place you planned to travel that you couldn’t make it to?
TCO final of course. Since 2017, almost every year my annual leave was for the TCO final. I was looking forward to attending TCO20 but it was pending due to COVID.

Also, I planned to travel to Europe this year, as I have never been to this continent. I hope the whole world becomes normal soon so I can visit any place I want.

Did you use your experience as a remote worker to help others (friends, family) to cope with the new reality?
Yeah, for my day job, I shared my experience with my friends/colleagues and helped them in the virtual meetings by Every day we had virtual meetings to share our progress. But now we have been back to the office and don’t need to work remotely.

Anyway, I’m still working remotely for Topcoder, and I have been getting used to it and like the style as always.

What did you learn during Covid that will improve your life after?
I learned the importance of health. During the pandemic, tens of millions of people were affected, hundreds of thousands of people died. This was indeed a catastrophe and will always be memorable. I was so lucky that I was not one of them. I was a workaholic, always working and sitting in front of my laptop for more than ten hours per day, and never left to get in some exercise. But now I have been trying to reduce my work hours and do more exercise as I can, to keep my health and immune system better.

How do you think the future will change after Covid ends at a global level?              
It is really difficult to answer such a big question. One of the obvious changes is people will be relying on remote/virtual collaboration much more than before. It was observable from the stock price and market share of and DingTalk (Alibaba). But a potential demerit is that globalization will slow down, countries will be more independent and the international trade will be reduced. I don’t want this to happen as I am a supporter of globalization. Topcoder is a great success example of global collaboration.


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