The disruption to daily life caused out of concern for Covid-19 has taught Hong Kong much about working from home. Technology through the internet, computers, smartphones and video software has enabled people to stay safe while shopping and connecting to offices, schools, tutors and doctors. But lessons would seem to have been largely forgotten on Tuesday as Tropical Storm Nangka brought the city to a standstill after the Observatory issued the No 8 signal. Rather than adhere to what had been learned, the closures to avoid forecast strong winds and heavy rain were seen by some residents as an excuse for yet another holiday. That was especially so as Nangka was only mildly felt in most areas, with no flooding or landslides reported and few trees toppled. Not since the 1960s has the No 8 signal been issued for a storm so far from the city ; it stayed at least 400km away and wind gusts were up to 85km/h. But weather officials determined the warning was necessary given prevailing seasonal conditions and their decision triggered the usual government orders to close schools and clinics and the stock exchange, offices, shops and restaurants and public transport followed suit. Labour Department guidelines and insurance obligations by employers towards staff ensure strict adherence. Why did Hong Kong issue the No 8 typhoon signal for Tropical Storm Nangka? But storm warning systems are not about taking a break from school or work; they are about safety and protection. They are aimed at ensuring residents stay indoors and out of harm’s way, especially necessary during powerful typhoons such as Mangkhut in 2018 that caused extensive damage and injured hundreds. Shutdowns such as yesterday’s would not seem so necessary and there is reason for officials to at least consider a review. Covid-19 was cause for such a rethink and the uncertainty of a prolonged shutdown and the social, economic and societal disruption caused led to the introduction of technologies that may otherwise have taken a few years more to adopt. Hong Kong is now more willing to embrace e-commerce, fintech, telemedicine, online meetings, tuition and working from home. A severe storm is no less a threat; we have the tools to ensure life and business can continue from home and we should try to make the best use of them.