(Bloomberg) -- When the power is out, Wall Street heads to the local library.
Finance executives working from home were forced to get creative this week when the tropical storm knocked out electricity and Internet across a wide swath of the New York area.
In Darien, Connecticut, that meant about 20 people working outside the local library at 6 a.m., three hours before the building opens. It was one of the only places in town with power and some arrived with beach chairs, while others wore suits for Zoom meetings. One trader set up his desk with two monitors at a picnic table, capitalizing on the wireless Internet access outside the library building.
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“People stay late and get here early,” said Caroline Lopez, acting director of Darien Library. “There’s always people inside the library and anywhere from 50 to 100 outside hanging around the building using WiFi at any given time.”
While there was a surge of generator installations in the tri-state area after Superstorm Sandy, the tropical storm still posed challenges in an era when a good Internet connection is critical.
A real estate executive had to work out of his Tesla on Wednesday, driving around Greenwich to find cellular service. A banker in Darien, meanwhile, had to turn off his wine refrigerator in order to preserve his generator’s power for the computer. He eventually found himself working at the library.
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There was at least one positive that emerged when the storm hit: the pandemic means workers didn’t have to commute on wet roads and snarled trains.
“Working from home works as well in a tropical storm as in a pandemic,” said Alexander Goldfarb, an analyst at Piper Sandler. “It’s the commute that causes employees to panic about being caught in the city in a tropical storm.”
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