back to article Tech won't save you from lockdown disaster: How to manage family and free time while working from home

If you aren’t already, chances are that your home will soon become a prison of sorts as efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus force, or at least encourage, us to “shelter in place” with only very occasional trips out for food, medicine, and fresh air. From California and New York in the US to Europe and the UK, …

  1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Add to the singing ban

    Playing an electric guitar with the amp turned to 11

    While very relaxing for yourself, very stressful for the neighbours especially if they, like mine, play the drums on the wall while screaming along...

    At least thats what I think they are doing :)

    Also you can go out away from the house, so long as you keep your distance from other people... that will help a lot with the stress (and get you away from that neighbour with the electric guitar too)

    1. Franco

      Re: Add to the singing ban

      I'm OK, I am the neighbour with the electric guitar. Trying to avoid 11 though....

      Freetime is set for me, Doom Eternal arrived yesterday.

      Already have the office, am supposed to be moving house next month so had a trip to IKEA yesterday to buy new office furniture for the new house. Also had a chuckle on our catch-up call yesterday afternoon at couples who are already fighting over who gets to use the living room and it's TV screen as their home office.

      Remember people, this too shall pass. Look after yourselves and each other.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Add to the singing ban

        You can have the 34" TV from the living room. I'm taking the 43" TV from the bedroom.

        I'm also going to Wally World to get a cheap 65" TV for the sunroom (my office) because the other people living here want 1) a 2nd bigscreen like I have or 2) want to actually watch TV. And if I can determine a way to mount it to the ceiling so that it can be folded out of the way, that'll be even better.

        The working daughter has realized, after 4 days' working from home that she can drink wine all day long so long as she remembers to put the glass out of view of her webcam during meetings.

        On the down side, as I work full-time from home, this has severely impacted my choice of wardrobe...and Kieren, you actually don't have to wear a suit and tie, or work casual, or actualy anything, to work from home, but you do need to understand that you're working*.

        * - also, taping over your webcam is essential.

    2. Shadow Systems

      Re: Add to the singing ban

      I like to wander the neighborhood buck arse nekkid while playing the bagpipes. It helps me relax, get some fresh air, & commune with nature.

      It also drives away the neighbors & scares away critters. I don't know why. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I never learned how to play the bagpipes? Of course, they're bagpipes, so how can anyone tell if I'm playing them properly or not?

      *Inflates the bag, squeazes it between my knees, & walks away twerking to my rendition of Abba's "Stayin' alive"*

      1. KarMann Silver badge

        Re: Add to the singing ban

        Bee Gees' 'Stayin' Alive'? Or is there some Abba cover version I haven't heard of, different enough to be distinguishable from the original when played badly on the bagpipes?

        1. Shadow Systems

          Re: Add to the singing ban

          Abba, BG's, tomayto, tomahto. It's all about the disco! =-D

          *Reinflates the bag, squeazes it between my knees, & wanders off twerking to my excrutiating rendition of a bad Bob Marley cover of a Olivia Newton John attempt at singing about a Disney theme about mermaids*

          1. MyffyW Silver badge

            Re: Add to the singing ban

            I'm really trying hard not to sing Let It Go

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge

          Re: Add to the singing ban

          bagpipes are much preferred to 70's disco "music",... ESPECIALLY the Bee Gees.

          (I wish I could brain bleach the disco crap from the 70's out of my memory - ~shudder~)

          [I am suddenly reminded of a "banjo mute" - the best ones look like LARGE HAMMERS]

        3. R0bb1eB

          Re: Add to the singing ban

          Down-voted for threatening people with Bagpipes!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Add to the singing ban

        Och, and why are you not playing Thunderstruck on the pipes, while naked and with a flamethrower?

        1. Spanners Silver badge

          Re: Add to the singing ban

          You also need to be riding a unicycle and wearing a Darth Vader helmet?

          1. Shadow Systems

            Re: Add to the singing ban

            I'm not allowed any more. LucasArts has retained a TRO & ASBO on me to prevent me from wearing any costume or replica gear from any of their productions.

            Something about "desecrating the genre" when I designed a JarJarBinks meets Yoda costume celebrating the glory of Rule 34.

            Bah. Buncha pansies.

            *Inflates the bag, squeazes it between my knees, & wanders off twerking to my disco techno version of the Emporer's theme*

            1. bombastic bob Silver badge

              Re: Add to the singing ban

              "when I designed a JarJarBinks meets Yoda costume celebrating the glory of Rule 34."

              OW - you broke my brain with that image. Well, it was already broken...

        2. Shadow Systems

          Re: Add to the singing ban

          Because I get in trouble when I clench a kazoo between my buttocks, use my ears to smash the cymbals together, make my nipples strum the banjo, & try to play the xylophone with my eyebrows?

          Sanity, it's highly over rated!

          *Inflates the bag, squeazes it between my knees, & wanders off twerking to my incredibly horrible version of a techno version of "It's a small world after all"*

        3. D-Coder

          Re: Add to the singing ban

          Just followed that link.

          Holy Flying Spaghetti Monster.

          Thank you.

        4. Aussie Doc

          Re: Add to the singing ban

          Not sure I want to see naked and flamethrower in the same sentence. --->

      3. Pete 2 Silver badge

        Be careful where you practice

        > buck arse nekkid while playing the bagpipes

        From any distance, playing the bagpipes looks and sounds like a person molesting an animal - whether you are naked or not.

        We all know that the British hold anything with 4 legs (but fewer than 6) in much higher regard than their own species. So be prepared for an armed response unit to descend on you for crimes against the animal kingdom.

      4. Aussie Doc

        Re: Add to the singing ban

        Bagpipes saved my life once - neighbour banging on the door wanting to talk to me urgently at 3 O' clock in the morning.

        If I hadn't been playing my bagpipes at the time I never would have heard him at the door.

        He was quite shouty, too ----->

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Add to the singing ban

      I find that leaving a radio on [when you don't have to be on a phone, etc.] helps me get work done. Usually it's conservative talk radio in the AM and music in the afternoon. I have an icecast server that randomly plays songs I've ripped on to my hard drive or I can set up a playlist easily enough, and an "internet radio" that can "tune into" my private icecast server, or any of a number of streaming radio stations for that matter.

      Seriously it's a cool thing, doing the work-from-home with the radio on.

      But... advice from someone who has done this a LONG time - do NOT TURN ON THE TELEVISION! TV is an attention whore and will RUIN your productivity.

  2. OzBob

    No advice on "solo happy time"?

    How can I squeeze out one of those with other people in the house now who are also WFH?

    1. kierenmccarthy

      Re: No advice on "solo happy time"?

      There was a section on pornography in this article but the editors took it out :)

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: No advice on "solo happy time"?

        I'd make great use of that offer but the needle on my pornograph is broken.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No advice on "solo happy time"?

        I bet you could paste it back in here, as a comment, and they'd never know.

        As a note to my comment above, my porn consumption has dropped to zero with everyone in the house...

      3. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Director's cut

        Here's the porno deleted scene from Kieren's original:


        It's time to talk porn. On the very first day of shelter-in-place in California, there were numerous examples of people calling out, shaming, or reporting co-workers for watching pornography. And yes it's mostly single men but regardless, here's what you need to do:

        * Treat the work day like a work day

        * Don't watch pornography when you are supposed to be working

        * That's it



        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Director's cut

          May I add:


          * If you insist on watching porn while working, don't do it on a second monitor in plain view of your camera.

          * Learn what the mute button does. Use it.



    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No advice on "solo happy time"?

      Shower. Make sure to clean after yourself.

      The other people in the house are already doing it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No advice on "solo happy time"?

      Wanking From Home?

    4. jake Silver badge

      Re: No advice on "solo happy time"?

      It's never stopped you before, so why should it be any different today?

  3. sanmigueelbeer

    Working from home is one thing. Working from home, while the virus is outside raging, with a hypochondriac -- I think I'll take the risk and go to the office.

    Wake up, wash your hands.

    Before breakfast, wash your hands (but I just did that 30 seconds ago!).

    After breakfast, yup, wash your hands.

    Getting dressed, wait, that's yesterday's clothes. Get new one, wait, wash your hands. Get new clothes.

    Before turning on the computer, wipe the mouse and keyboard with antiseptic wipe.

    Before sitting down, wipe the mouse and keyboard with antiseptic wipe.

    Did you touch your face? Wash your hands.

    Can I log in now? Not until you've applied a healthy amount of antiseptic gel on your hands.

    Turn on the Dyson air purifier.

    Nuts, forgot to turn it on with a paper towel. Geez, wash your hands.

    Wear surgical gloves before touching the keyboard/mouse (wasn't the antiseptic wipe sufficient? Apparently not!)


    I'm getting out of here. I'll take my chances at the office.

    1. Totally not a Cylon

      Have a beer....

      Though if you want to wind up this type of person just ask if they're sure that the workers who packed the wipes washed their hands after visiting the 'rest room'...........

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Have a beer...." it was YOU that emptied the supermarket shelves of beer withing minutes of the pub closure announcement? Well, you do seem to have some to spare...

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Of course natural selection means introverted OCD handwashers will rule the world so you'd better get used to it.

      1. Franco

        Fuck that, those OCD types will be too scared to touch a member of the opposite sex so humanity would be doomed anyway.

    3. e^iπ+1=0

      Did you touch your face? Wash your hands.

      Basic programming error. Should be:

      Going to to touch your face? Wash your hands first.

      Otherwise, about as useful as "Did you just cross the road? Look right, left, then right again. If it was safe to cross, you survived."

  4. chivo243 Silver badge

    3x the Load!

    The missus was already working from home 4 days a week, now the boy is home from school, I'm working from home until this blows over. I wonder who will be the last one standing?

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    If you can go outside for fresh air, go for a 30 minute walk or longer, or a run if you're on the sporty side.

    Nice if you're in a country which lets you, not much use if you're in a country with a proper lockdown. I guess 30 minutes running round the balcony will get you on social media though.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Even if you are not mandated to stay at home, think twice before getting out

      Don't wait to be mandated to stay at home. Assess what the risk really is, and act accordingly. To break the contagion chain people have to stay away from each other, and someone after a run and sweating touching things, and heavily breathing a lot around is not what you want.

      Your little run could become deadly, for your or someone else.

      And if something bad happens not virus related, hospitals may be too overloaded to treat you in time and/or properly.

      Run to live, but don't live to run... and don't care about your weekly stats on some silly app and its site.

      A family friend of mine died of COVID-19 some days ago. It's real, believe me.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Even if you are not mandated to stay at home, think twice before getting out

        "And if something bad happens not virus related, hospitals may be too overloaded to treat you in time and/or properly."

        Try to avoid that happening, to you or others. I happen to live in a country area with narrowish lanes (fortunately not Devon/Cornwall narrow) with a fair number of bends many of which are blind because of retaining walls and a popular walking destination. With the rapidly improving weather it would have brought a good number out to visit anyway and there's plenty of room to leave a few metres from other people.

        But....The usual.

        Pairs of cyclists riding side-by-side using the whole width of the road.

        Cyclists ignoring the stop lines on the blind junction/corner.

        Cars driving along too fast.

        Lots of walkers about who need to keep on the visible side of any corner.

        Yes, come and walk by all means. It will do you good. But stay safe. Country lanes are busier than you might think. Oh, and by the way, it's lambing time (thank goodness, it really cheers the place up) so keep control of the dog and keep clear of the sheep yourself; ewes can be very protective and even hornless breeds have a lot of hard bits.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Even if you are not mandated to stay at home, think twice before getting out

          "it's lambing time"

          Little late, isn't it? Easter is on the 12th of April this year. My lambs have been on the ground for around two months already ...

    2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      I guess 30 minutes running round the balcony will get you on social media though.

      This French chap has done a marathon on his balcony.

      1. e^iπ+1=0

        This French chap has done a marathon on his balcony.

        Done previously in China:

    3. Marco Fontani

      Here in Italy/Lombardy, one of the places with the most restrictive rules in place as of tomorrow, we're now forbid from doing sport and motor activity done outside altogether, OTHER THAN if done "in the vicinity" of one's place of residence.

      When walking one's pet for the pet's "physiological needs" one is also restricted to staying "in the vicinity" of one's residence, but also at a maximum distance of 200m from the residence.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: maximum distance of 200m

        If you can then just do laps of your area whilst remaining inside that 200m limit. Going out in the middle of the night is a good way of avoiding contact with others (if possible)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re: maximum distance of 200m

          "Going out in the middle of the night is a good way of avoiding contact with others...”

          Curfews are now coming in.

          1. Marco Fontani

            Re: re: maximum distance of 200m

            Curfews are _great_ to ensure more people cram what they ought to/will do regardless (walking the dog, groceries, what-have-you) in fewer hours, thus ensuring that the chances of them infecting each other go up, rather than down.

            Same goes for supermarket open times: the local 24/7 shops are now down to being open only ~10h/day (7h on Sunday) and it's obviously a lot more crowded at all times.

            Gone are the times I could go get groceries at 1am and not see many around.. now one has to pray there's not a queue at 4pm, and risk much more than just a week or two ago.

            It's madness.

            1. smudge

              Re: re: maximum distance of 200m

              And here in the UK, the National Trust has closed all its parks and gardens, thus ensuring that the number of open spaces available to everyone is significantly reduced. Or, if you like, squeezing everyone into less space.


              1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

                Re: re: maximum distance of 200m

                Just stay at home.

                And hope you're not heading where Italy is. Although, it might already be too late for the UK.

                1. Intractable Potsherd

                  Re: re: maximum distance of 200m

                  The aim is not to avoid people catching the virus - we're all going to get it sooner or later - but to keep the number of serious cases *at any point in time* within what healthcare services can deal with. The UK's strategy is to keep a constant trickle over a period of time to avoid multiple peaks as far as possible - something China seems to be experiencing, and other "lock down countries have to come. We will be able to argue about whose measures were best in the future.

                  1. Stork Silver badge

                    Re: re: maximum distance of 200m

                    Not quite. With any luck a vaccine will be available sometime next year which should change the situation. But until then, keep infections as low as possible.

                    Btw, I expect the US to get worse than Italy. Fatter and more diabetic population, and patchier healthcare.

                    1. jake Silver badge

                      Re: re: maximum distance of 200m

                      A vaccine? I seriously doubt it, the mutation rate is far too high.

                      The US has far fewer smokers than Italy, I suspect we'll be better off in the long run.

                      US healthcare isn't as bad as you think it is. It's much better than Italy's, and slightly better than the UK's. That's speaking as someone who has experienced all three as a patient.

                      1. Stork Silver badge

                        Re: re: maximum distance of 200m

                        With patchy I meant uneven, to my best knowledge some Americans have healthcare which is very good, others very limited (at least for a rich country).

                        Northern Italy where the most cases have been has more medical staff and better facilities than most places. I trust John Campbell on that, also fits that the area is rich.

                        You see the effect of the overweight and diabetes in that more young or middle aged people die or need intensive care.

                      2. jmch Silver badge

                        Re: re: maximum distance of 200m

                        "US healthcare isn't as bad as you think it is. It's much better than Italy's, and slightly better than the UK's"

                        For an IT pro who, I hazard to guess, is in a fairly high income percentile, I'm sure that's true.

                        While I'm not personally familiar with US system, my understanding is that as people go down the income scale, it gets worse than the UK's and perhaps even worse than Italy's, while in those countries the level is pretty stable throughout.

                        One advantage the US DOES have is a high ratio of respirators to population.

                  2. jmch Silver badge

                    Re: re: maximum distance of 200m

                    "The UK's strategy is to keep a constant trickle over a period of time to avoid multiple peaks as far as possible"

                    From the graphs I've seen, the UK is so far around the same as Italy at the same stage. In other words, within 2-3 weeks the UK's health system will be flooded regardless of any measures taken now, and if there isn't an immediate increase in restrictions, it won't be able to cope with new cases in 3-4 weeks' time.

                    Mind you, still better than the US, where the government seems to think it can stop the virus by writing a lot of cheques

              2. MarkTriumphant

                Re: re: maximum distance of 200m

                I thought that they specifically left their outside stuff open, so that it can be used for walk. The inside stuff is closed..

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: re: maximum distance of 200m


                  Unfortunately, the 'Idiots' who decided that it was an early 'Bank Holiday' *and* then ignored social distancing, have ruined it for all of us.

                  The National Trust is closing everything and this is also being followed by councils who are responsible for 'Country Parks' etc.

                  I am a NT member and use the local 'Beach' area for Dog walking ...... this is now going to be impossible.

                  There is a full 'Lockdown' coming that will make travel to the beach a 'No No' even if it was open !!!

                  I am ashamed of the way the 'Brits' have been acting with no regard for others and almost wholesale panic about food, medicines and masks etc

                  There is a major shortage of 'Stiff upper lip' and supporting the 'underdog' which we are supposed to be like.

                  The only way we are going to survive this, with the least dead, is if we work together as one unit and protect the people at most risk. This involves thinking about 'other than' ones self or our immediate family. Caring about our neighbours and our local communities is vital and is ultimately to everyones advantage.

                  1. jmch Silver badge

                    Re: re: maximum distance of 200m

                    "...then ignored social distancing..."

                    Incidentally, am I the only one to find the phrase 'social distancing' to be completely inaccurate?

                    What is needed is PHYSICAL distancing. And when everyone is physically distant, it's important to remain SOCIALLY close, which nowadays is more possible than ever to do while in physical isolation.

    4. sanmigueelbeer

      If you can go outside for fresh air, go for a 30 minute walk or longer

      Subject to regulatory or council laws. Bayer just recently fired a staff after she was caught outside during her mandatory 14-day quarantine in China (news article).

      1. jake Silver badge

        Thus the phrase "if you can".

    5. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Lucky you if you have a balcony to run on. Where I come from, with all working from home it is so dense and hot in here that the only place where I could reasonably run is inside the fridge.

  6. Commswonk

    Obligatory Dilbert(s)

    (There is a "next" arrow to help!)

  7. macjules
    Black Helicopters

    Easier said than done

    1 OCD wife known to run through the house with Dettol air fresheners in both hands

    2 cats with a penchant for spending all day licking their bottoms and then licking you (and then laughing about it no doubt).

    3 children bored as hell who have all been set online tasks such as working out how to reprogramme and secure all the IoT devices in the household, including the bloody Samsung fridge that never tells you when the the ice is ready.

    4 dogs in various states of sleep, testicle licking, begging treats off children.

    I have double self-isolated myself into my garden office, complete with sound proofing, well stocked sanitising internal alcohol treatmentment (aka Chateau Lafitte) and full control of the main router. Doom Eternal never looked so good The joys of working from home.

  8. jake Silver badge

    It all starts with dedicated workspace.

    Up here in the office, I have two desks. One is for the myriad of Ranch businesses, the other is for my computer consulting business. The wife & dawgs[0] know not to disturb me when I'm at the consulting desk, unless it's an emergency. Compartmentalization is key in any home office.

    Household business happens down in the kitchen.

    [0] The cats even cooperate, at least for the most part. Go figure.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: It all starts with dedicated workspace.

      Compartmentalization is key in any home office.

      For some, no doubt, but "any" simply isn't accurate. I've spent the past 18 years working from a home "office" that's just a table in the back hall, next to the door for the upstairs bathroom and the back stairs down to the kitchen. That's at the Stately Manor; when I'm in the Mountain Fastness I'm in the sunroom, but that building only has four rooms total. It's never been a problem.

      But then I've worked from home for over two decades without needing most of the principles laid out in the article. Different people have different needs.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: It all starts with dedicated workspace.

        But you have compartmentalized, i.e. separated an enclosed space into divisions. Walls are unnecessary for this, but are useful to some.

  9. Simian Surprise

    > almost any email with the word “coronavirus” in the title that isn’t from your boss or HR can be deleted.

    Nah, the ones from HR can be, too. Great time to think up new "policies".

    If it's important enough they'll tell your boss...

    1. jake Silver badge

      Actually ...

      Unless you specifically asked for it, any email containing the string "virus" or "viri" anywhere in the headers or body can be safely deleted, as it will contain absolutely zero useful content. This observation is based on about 25 years of tuning the spam filters.

      1. e^iπ+1=0

        email containing the string "virus" or "viri"

        Hmm, got some with "covid" and even SARS2 or something that got past that filter. Try harder.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: email containing the string "virus" or "viri"

          What on earth does your comment have to do with what either I or Mr(s) Surprise wrote? Seems that we're not the ones who need to try harder ... although I admit I typoed. I meant to write "virii", the string "viri" might send some potentially useful stuff to the bit-bucket. Maybe.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Actually ...

        What if I'm a painter who gets important email regarding viridian pigments? Or Viridian laser signs for my guns? While I'm pursuing my day job as a virility researcher? And doing research for my fanfic about Viritus Unitis, the famous warship of the Austro-Hungarian Empire?

        Or, I guess, if I were a virologist.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Actually ...

          I addressed your concerns (and my typo) a little later. Read on, McWojcik ...

  10. TRT Silver badge

    Do you know I reckon when alien archeologists land on Earth and they start digging they are going to be able to pinpoint an exact time point in the compressed layers of our towns and cities - a layer of fossilised tins of canned gooseberries, rhubarb and tinned salmon. No one's ever going to eat those. That's all the supermarkets have left but out of desperation and mass hysteria even those will sell and spend the rest of the millennium quietly rusting away in pantries all over the land in the same way peas pudding, marrow fat peas and goblin suet puddings did in the past.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      What's wrong with marrowfat peas? They're delicious.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Oh I'm sure they appeal to some, but many will buy 12 cans out of desperation because it's the only canned veg left in the shop, try a can and then discover that there was a REASON why they were only canned veg left in the shop.

    2. rskurat

      but is it made from real goblins?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        No more than shepherds pie is made of real shepherds.

        1. jake Silver badge

          To be fair ...

          ... that's "shepherd's pie", thus neatly removing the ambiguity.

  11. AndrueC Silver badge

    I live alone. I'm currently forced to work from home which I love. I don't much like other people. The need to bump my Tesco orders above £40 over the years means I already have a good stockpile of non-perishable stuff. Golf courses are still open. I'm actually ahead of the game here.

    I just wish that my dislike of other people extended to not caring about them. I could be really happy then :-/

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Antisocial distancing?

  12. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    You are *working* from home


    No that does not mean

    Investigating day time television.

    Inviting friends around

    Doing a bit of in-hours shopping

    Toughest of all..

    That may look like a fold up table with a laptop on it but it is not. It is now your office and you are officially at work. You are not "at home"

    Good luck, stay safe, have a what's app group (or similar) to stay in touch and (quite important this) try not to die in the meantime. It's a 1% mortality rate. Ebola has a 90% mortality rate.

    And BTW

    Stop with the f**king panic buying.

    Even Italy has fully stocked shelves and they've got a body count in the 1000s.

    1. Fred Dibnah

      Re: You are *working* from home

      "No that does not mean..."

      For me it means *all* those things. I get the 'work' done eventually, my employer is happy. I've been doing it for 20 years, and I can get far more done without the distractions of an open plan office. At the start it was laptop on the kitchen table with modem lead trailing across the floor (and having to disconnect the VPN every time my partner wanted to use the phone). Now I'm fortunate to have a separate office with all the comforts, but I wonder how some people will cope long term if they don't have the space to separate themselves from the rest of the house/flat.

      I also learned ages ago to set a 20 minute 'get up, walk about, and have a drink of water' timer.

      It works for me, YMMV.

    2. Chris G

      Re: You are *working* from home

      I am working AT home, for me.

      Luckily I retired two years ago, I am renovating the fixer upper I bought to retire to, start work about 10:00, have a snack around 14:00 and stop between 18:00 -19:00.

      We're on lockdown anyway in Spain but I am a bit miffed as my car is in the workshop 'til Monday when I have to walk 6Km to pick it up, then I can go on my second shopping trip to see what isn't in the shops, although when I went before it wasn't too bad.

      The local farmers cooperative is just down the road though and farming doesn't stop so they are open and have several thousand litres of the latest local wine for sale at less than €1:00 a litre.

      So no need for me to panic buy.

      Everyone stay safe and relax, it's probably not forever.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You are *working* from home

      > Stop with the f**king panic buying.

      This. I'm waiting for the Government to announce that credit and loyalty card records will be analysed retrospectively and fines dished out.

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: You are *working* from home

        Fines? 80 years ago, bulk buying loo roll and flogging on ebay for twice the price would have been called war profiteering. People got shot for it.

        Mind, there are enough europeans I know querying our UK policies on the virus, if we start executing anyone with more than 500 rolls of loo paper it will just lead to more questions so maybe you're right. Fines will probably do it.

    4. Flywheel
      Thumb Up

      Re: You are *working* from home

      Or not (quite), according to Mitchell and Webb

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Use fresh fruit and veg

    GREAT idea. Now tell me, where can I get those from? Cause there ain't any in asda or lidl. I dunno about tesco, last time I drove past, it was a smoldering rubble as if a huge cloud of locus had just taken off and heading aldi-way, by the looks of it...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Use fresh fruit and veg

      Farmers' market, or farm shop? Probably better quality as well.

    2. VonDutch

      Re: Use fresh fruit and veg

      But Tesco always looks like that...

    3. richardcox13

      Re: Use fresh fruit and veg

      This is why the "don't go out for shopping" in work day is a poor rule.

      30-45min trip can be done while shops are quieter (and shelf fillers have a chance to get things there) with fewer people around. Add time on to the end (or start) of the day to compensate.

    4. Pen-y-gors

      Re: Use fresh fruit and veg

      Support your local/village/community shop? They seem to be having far less trouble than the supermarkets.

      And keep supporting them after this is all over.

  14. jake Silver badge

    "Now tell me, where can I get those from?"

    It's spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Grow it.

    The Wife and I kept ourselves in fresh greens in three five gallon buckets for a year or so. Spinach, Russian red kale, arugula ("rocket" to you Brits), and various lettuces work well and are good learner veggies. Select "cut and come again" varieties and harvest the larger, outer leaves as required, leaving the inner core and the roots behind. Park the eldest planting outside in sunlight if you can (an apartment balcony works), the second planting indoors in a sunny spot near a window, and the third freshly seeded bucket can sit pretty much anywhere until the seeds sprout, then place it next to the second bucket. Rotate the buckets about every two weeks. You can get around 9 plants in each bucket (note this is NOT head lettuce, you are growing it for the leaves).

    If you have an un-used window box, separate it into 4 equal parts and succession plant that instead of using the buckets. (The three buckets above is a minimalist approach, 4 works better.)

    If you have the space you can grow so-called "baby lettuce" in 10x20 nursery flats. You can fit four flats on a four foot shelf, under a light. No need for a proper grow light, a simple LED "shop light" works well for baby plants. Rotate weekly. You can put four shelves together using cheap roll-around wire shelving, giving 16 flats. Share with your neighbors. This method also works for microgreens (call it "food confetti" to get your kids to eat it, if you have problems getting them to eat veg).

    Don't buy seed in little packets, get it as "seeds for sprouting" or "for microgreens". You'll save a ton of money over the long haul.

    Note that this is a great project for a household with kids. Most kids will happily eat any veg they help grow.

    As a word of warning: If you grow your own, you'll never want the near flavo(u)rless supermarket variety again. Don't say I didn't warn you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yup, grow your own

      I'm lucky enough to have a garden. The Garlic went in in November. Onions yesterday along with carrots and beetroot. The thinnings of the latter will be used in salads a month or so's time.

      The Greenhouse survived storm Denis pretty well. It took the door off and smashed all the glass. Got some over a week ago so today's task is to get it ready for the Tomato's and Peppers that have been growing from seed sown in early January.

      Ate the last of 2019's Onions last week. Lots to do between sitting at my desk working out in the garden provided the deluges of the Autumn and Winter don't return.

    2. Chris G

      I like the bucket greens Jake. Last year we had 3 types of lettuce, rocket and cilantro in buckets, they did well but we thought we had flying snails as they kept getting eaten. Turns out it was grasshoppers and locusts so this year they are getting fruit net around them.

      Next year when I get the space ready we are growing spuds, three harvests a year is common here and home grown tatties are hard to beat.

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Our local garden center today was also stripped bare - and by bare, I mean no seed left except a few weird ones or flowers,, no seedlings except a vast number of chillis (deemed too unnourishing I suppose), small herbs, and a some unloved pak choi which I snapped up, along with the last of the tumbling tomatoes - anything substantial had already gone. The chap I spoke to said they did well over £30,000 business on Saturday. Signs were everywhere saying "more vegetables are delivered between 2 and 3 each day" - presumably to answer the question "yes yes, but what TIME are they turning up?"

        6 million old people expecting to stay at home for 6 months, it was kind of inevitable.

        1. The First Dave

          Not just Veg though - if you go near B&Q just now you will see they are mobbed, mostly with people buying paint.

  15. Blackjack Silver badge

    Catch up with all that stuff you wanted to see

    Legally of course.

    Play all those videogames you never finished.

    Check those albums from your favorite bands you never listened.

    If you code, do a personal project since you are at home and it will be hard to prove you did so during working hours. Use a different machine to do so just in case.

    Make sure the kids are getting those fancy smarty online classes, instead of slacking off and saying they are.

    Don't panic and carry a clean towel, the rest of your family are going to get most towels dirty.

    If you plan on cooking but is something you don't do regularly, focus on the darn recipe.

    Don't worry about the video data caps on video resolution, you need a TV the size of a Cinema screen to notice the difference anyway.

    If you dabble with hardware; get Raspberry Pi on the cheap and do a project with it. Before you notice it will be a month already.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Catch up with all that stuff you wanted to see

      We could start a Project Gutenberg book club?

      Book of the week: A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe

      1. rskurat

        Re: Catch up with all that stuff you wanted to see

        a veritable lark compared to The Plague by Albert Camus

  16. Anonymous Coward

    "Keeping in touch"

    zoom worked quite well for my wife and son last night, so I thought I'd download and install the client, assuming they supported linux, of course.

    Normally I'm used to seeing words to the effect of "Linux? Fuck off mate". It was a pleasant surprise to find that the response was more like "Linux? Certainly sir, which flavour would you like?"

    Made a nice change.

    1. Spanners Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: "Keeping in touch"

      It is a Chrome app as well and runs natively on my Chromebook. MS Teams has an Android app and so works on it fine as well.

      In fact, I think videoconferencing apps are ahead of the curve on this.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: "Keeping in touch"

          And there were Video phones on sales on the sixties.

          Gotta call you on that. The only one I know of, was the well publicised and never really delivered Bell PicturePhone.

          Unless you had coax to the home in the 60s, all you were going to get was slow-scan TV, which is only slightly less annoying to watch than a fax machine. The bandwidth wasn't there, nor the compression technology, nor the processor power or memory. And the entrenched telephone infrastructure, while an admirably robust piece of engineering, was designed for voice calls, and (with a few high cost exceptions) voice calls alone.

          The first really available (to the consumer) video calling was Skype in 2003 (I could never get CuSeeMe to work), put together by a Swede, a Dane and three Estonians as a hack.

    2. D@v3

      Re: Zoom

      We use zoom at work in the conference rooms, it's really not that bad at all.

      It's been quite nice when friends have been moaning about Skype and Teams, being able to say to them, 'yeah, have you tried Zoom?'

  17. shortfatbaldhairyman

    Listening for kids and adults

    LibriVox has audio for public domain stories and stuff.

  18. jake Silver badge


    You like bread, right? You like the smell of baking bread. You like the taste of a fresh out of the oven loaf. You always wanted to learn to make your own bread ... here's your chance.

    Pick a bread recipe. Any recipe, although I suggest a simple water/flour/yeast/salt version. If you mix it between your breakfast and "going to work" in your home office, you can call that your commute time. After it proofs for a bit, you punch it down for the first time during your morning break. Form it into a loaf during your lunch break, and pop it into the oven during your afternoon break.By the time you've finished work for the day, it'll be cool enough to cut into and eat.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Bread

      Or if you're lazy just buy a bread machine. I did that several years ago and have been using it a couple of times a week ever since. Not bought shop bread in a long time. My favourite recipe is 200g each of white and wholemeal flour, olive oil, salt, water and chia seeds. Stick all the ingredients in and set the timer before going to work in the morning. Return home to smell of baking bread :)

      If I was buying a bread machine again (current one was bought in 2012 and still going strong) I'd go for the version that has a nut/fruit dispenser but I've done fine without.

      1. Maty

        Re: Bread

        I'll offer my 2 bits worth here, since I've been working at home these past 20 years.

        First of all, if you stick to a schedule and work 9-5 you'll be more productive than you have ever been because you are not attending useless meetings, discussing whatever TV show has the office hooked, helping some gormless colleague with work that's technically nothing to do with you, generally goofing off. (As a friend remarked - the problem with being self-employed is that the boss is always watching.)

        Second, I like to bake and make cheese while working. You can do that with a proper kitchen 10 seconds away. Mindlessly stirring curds is a great mental time out, and pounding dough is great stress relief. You need to get up from the keyboard every 45 min or so anyway, and checking what stage your bread products are at is a good reason for doing this. Oh, and when we all had to suddenly self-isolate, I already had 30kg of flour at home as future bread, tortillas, pasta, cookies etc, and around 17kg of cheese in different stages of maturity.

        Final rule - apart from those 10min keyboard breaks, don't do home stuff in working hours or work stuff in home hours. (Except shopping. Shopping at 11am once a week is great.)

        Overall, working from home can be just as productive as office work, but you have to do it very differently.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Bread

          if you stick to a schedule and work 9-5 you'll be more productive than you have ever been


          Perhaps this works for you. Not everyone is you.

          I've been working from home for over 20 years. I don't stick to a 9-5 schedule. I work when I know I'm going to get something done; when I have to interact with other people in real time; when there's something that needs to be done soon. I get plenty done. Sometimes some of it gets done on Sunday afternoon or in the wee hours of a weekday, and that's the way I like it.

        2. veti Silver badge

          Re: Bread

          I just spent ten minutes on Teams trying to persuade a colleague to shut the F*** up about whether dogs could transmit COVID-19, and was it safe for dog walkers to let their dogs interact.

          I wouldn't mind, but she doesn't even have a frickin' dog.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Bread

            There is no inter-species transmission (as far as I know), so no, you can not get this version of the virus from your dog, cat, bird, lizard, etc.

            HOWEVER, if someone with the virus sneezes on their dog, and that dog rubs their snot/spit on your dog, you can transmit active virus to yourself after petting your dog. I have no idea how long the virus stays viable in this chain. I rather suspect nobody else does, either. Probably best to not allow your dogs to play with other dogs for the duration.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Bread

        Agree on the bread machine. I especially agree on just using it for the mix/proof/kneed/rise portion of the cycle, then form the loaf by hand and bake in a conventional oven. I use mine for pizza dough, other flat breads, crackers, and small runs of things like bread sticks and rolls. They make excellent bread for toast and sandwiches.

        One thing nobody mentions: If you have one with a "delayed start', it makes for a wonderful olfactory alarm clock ... Not as good as an automatic bacon fryer, perhaps, but a close second.

        You can often find them in thrift stores for a couple quid ... the original owner tries the "sample" packet that comes with the machine, which makes 'orrible bread because it's been sitting on a shelf for a couple years and is well past it's sell-by date. They assume the machine itself is useless, and it winds up in the thrift shop. Look for a model that makes a two pound loaf ... and always use fresh ingredients! Throw away the free packet if you buy a new machine. GIGO applies to baking just as much as it does to databases.

        One other thing ... I bought a machine missing it's mixing paddle once. I figured I'd just machine one, guessing on it's size/shape based on the several machines I've worn out in the past. But first, I decided to call the manufacturer (toll-free number found online). The gal I spoke with shipped me not one paddle, but two ("just in case") ... and didn't charge me for them, not even postage. I've since repeated this a couple times, with different manufacturers. Remembering the person at the other end is human, and using PleaseAndThankYou as Grandpa always told me, seems to work wonders even in this modern era.

    2. Gareth Holt

      Re: Bread

      Would all be fine and dandy if there was any flour in the supermarket!

      1. AndrueC Silver badge

        Re: Bread

        Good point. I only have one bag left. Luckily since I'm working at home I probably wouldn't make sarnies anyway but it's the one area where my grocery buying has let me down.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Bread

        Here in Sonoma, it would seem that the hoarders have bought their fill and the shelves are returning to normal as the supply chain catches up. Cows are still giving milk, chickens are still laying eggs, and the big paper companies are still making bog roll, napkins and paper towels. Shipments are coming in on schedule. The manager at a local grocery store expects everything to be back to normal by next week, with perhaps one last gasp of panic buying the following weekend.

  19. TimMaher Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Three fingered salute.

    Why has the woman in the picture only got three fingers?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Three fingered salute.


    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Three fingered salute.

      They badly photoshopped out the gun she's aiming at the guy?

  20. baud


    was this a typo or just the logical result of 'Giving your child an iPad (or similar)' ?

  21. wolfetone Silver badge

    I got to say that having a dedicated work space is probably the single most important thing to do get in terms of your mental health. It's too easy to work in front of the TV in the living room, but at the end of the work day where are you going to relax? Right now I'm in my dining room, and when it gets to 5:30pm I'm closing the laptop and walking to the living room until tomorrow where I go to work in the dining room. Then, on Friday, I pack it up and put the equipment in the corner so that the dining room can be used for non-work things for the weekend.

  22. Flywheel

    Exercise bikes

    Also probably not a good time to be jumping on your Pelot0n exercise bike - yes especially you, Tarquin from Leeds - especially if you're living in a multi-storey apartment block with trendy wooden floors. Your neighbours above and below probably "loved" you before, and now they might even come around and visit.

    Do the right thing.

  23. Pen-y-gors

    Household jobs?

    I don't entirely agree about doing chores at start and end of working day.

    I've worked at home for nearly 20 years. I have a separate office 10 yards from the house. I find it's very good to fit the chores in with natural breaks - coffee, loo, meals, snacks. While the kettle is boiling you can pop a load of washing in the machine, or wash the cat-food dishes. Then the next break you put the washing out to dry or in the dryer. Surprising how much you can get done in bursts of a few minutes throughout the day, and it doesn't feel like housework.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Household jobs?

      I don't agree with most of the recommendations in the article, or in most of the comments that offer them, frankly. But that's the point I made in other comments. People are different, and telling other people what they have to do in order to work from home successfully is a load of crap. It's fine to make suggestions, but those proffering them should acknowledge that they aren't right for everyone.

  24. Tessier-Ashpool

    Watch out for gamers in the family

    If you have a lad who is a keen gamer, keep a keen eye on your router activity. When my boy came home from university I found out his PC was acting as a game server, absolutely clobbering internet bandwidth uploading dozens of gigabytes per day. I had to pull the plug on it - literally - in order to create any semblance of a work from home environment.

  25. Aussie Doc

    Good if you can get it.

    Here in Outback Oz ® I've been medically retired from IT for a long time and now make wooden toys for a living.

    I've worked from home for ~15 years from an outside, three car garage converted into a woodwork shop - my lathe, bandsaw, scrollsaws, drill presses, timber stock and the like. I have a separate metalwork shop with a minilathe, MIG and stick welders because why not. Finally, a separate finishing shed that's reasonably clean enough to finish my toys.

    Reasonably fast broadband connection and wifi extenders and ethernet as able allows me to have PCs in each location for music du jour (as loud as I want - nobody for mile/kms) and quick access to my farcebook page (my demographics is young mums with kids - they all do facey) and web page for orders.

    I keep my own hours - may work from 4.00 am until 11.00pm for a couple of days or have a day off, depending on <insert excuse here>

    My critters don't care about my company as long as they're fed and I have a great partner who is a serious gardener - Permaculturalist so we have plenty of food.

    At the moment, we have discovered that our lifestyle is actually called 'quarantine' and our government is going to pay me to stay at home more???

    Yeah, we're older and fit(ish) folk and the kids visit when their lifestyles get too much but like any stay at home business, it's not for everybody.

    Meanwhile, folks, you be you, and be the best you that you can be under the circumstances.

    Stay safe, no matter where you are and who you are with.

  26. Mridul

    My son 8yrs old engaged in engineering machine.

    I support/encourage him by taking a video shoot of his new machine. Now, he has a you tube channel - Mridul T. I have uploaded five Videos. He is very happy. He plays games on iPad, engineer machine and lastly Chess - his favorite board game. Its a mix of everything. Ciao! stay safe folks!

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like