Coronavirus: working from home & lock-down, thoughts after week three

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live, and how we interact as a society.

Coronavirus: working from home & lock-down, thoughts after week three

Not long after Coronavirus arrived in England my boss asked me to "seriously consider" working from home.  Since the UK's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, instructed (on Monday 23rd March 2020) everyone to work from home if their job allows them to I've not had a choice.  Readers will recall I blogged about working from home before, although the Coronavirus situation has changed things a bit.  As I publish this I've been working from home since the 13th March, so I'm in my fourth week.

The government said it would review the "stay at home, save lives, protect the NHS" position in three weeks (so around 13th April) but the reality is we have no idea how long we'll all be socially distancing.  There could be a few Coronavirus themed posts coming...


The idea of a daily diary came from my wife, partly to give our daughter something to do.  As this scenario has never happened in my lifetime I thought it'd be interesting to join in and keep a journal of how things progress over this undetermined period.

Hand written journal entry for 17th March 2020.
My first Coronavirus journal entry (page 1 for that day).

So far I've managed an entry every day, of varying lengths.  Sometimes my entries are short because there's nothing of interest to report.  Other times I spend three pages.  I'm trying to focus on the social elements of this period rather than just writing about my day.  It won't be the next diary to be mass printed, but it might be of interest to my grandchildren one day.

Changes to the work desk

As shown in an earlier post, my work desk was set up very much for ad-hoc use rather than regular sessions.  The monitor was connected via VGA (analogue, and not as good a picture as a digital connection) and the laptop screen was at the wrong height.  Looking down was gradually causing me problems and the keyboard was also too close to me, so my arms were at the wrong angle, which was hurting.

I'm not a great DIYer but I did determine I could raise the height of my screen with a shelf board, baton on the wall and an upright support (an old bit of banister rail).  I'm pleased to say the shelf board was the straightest I'd ever cut[1], and the setup worked OK.  The only downside was that I couldn't get the keyboard far enough back to use the desk for journaling (or anything else).

My wife purchased a "floating shelf" (a shelf with concealed fixings) and that's now in place of my DIY shelf and doing a better job, as I can push the keyboard away when I want the space.  My original shelf / banister rail contraption has now become a footstool to elevate my thighs (a common issue with office chairs).

Tag-team parenting

It wasn't long before the schools closed meaning our daughter is at home with us.  As my wife also works from home, teaching maths and chemistry over the Internet, this led to tag-team parenting.  We worked out it was possible to cover our respective hours and lessons by working to an odd timetable.  As you can see from my time sheet below, my working pattern is a bit odd at the moment.

My time sheet while tag-team parenting.  My working hours are split across the day.
I'm working in all the grey slots.

This does mean I've had more time to spend with my youngest, with is great.  So far we've spent some time on the trampoline (which was damaging my back, so I've had to stop), building dens and playing games.  My daughter has also had a lot of fun drawing, inspired by the Art for Kids Hub channel on YouTube.  This then inspired my wife to draw too, so now the house has many interesting pictures about the place.  Very colourful, I didn't realise they could both draw so well (I'm the odd one out!).


I've been aiming to exercise every day, either going for a walk or a bike ride (prior to this I would ride twice a day for my commute to work).  A walk up to the fort the other week showed some unexpected guests (goats):

Two goats (one white, one black) eating from a hay bale.  Other goats in the background.
I wasn't expecting to find goats near the fort when I went for my walk!

I and my daughter went for a walk into the next village over on Monday.  She was reluctant to go initially but we found a play park for future exploration which made her happier :).  We didn't stop to play, as that's not currently permitted.

A bike ride earlier in the week had me a little concerned.  I managed to get my heart rate into the "peak zone", which is good from an exercise point of view.  What bothered me was that it took quite some time for my heart rate to drop back down below 100 (I'd been home and had time to shower, make a cuppa, and do some chores).  That was a literal shock to the system, and certainly shows I'm not as fit as I was three weeks ago.  

Graph showing heart rate during a 25 minute ride.  Total distance was 4.97 miles with an average of 138 beats per minute.
My heart rate graph for my short ride.


To try and maintain some semblance of routine and, dare I say it, sanity, I've set myself some goals for this period:

  • Write a journal entry every day
  • Aim to get at least 250 steps per hour between 08:00 and 17:00 - the goal my FitBit sets
  • Get outside for daily exercise
  • Keep up with learning Welsh (at least ten minutes every day), unless I decide to stop

It'll be interesting to see if I can keep on top of those things.

Banner image: my work desk setup

[1] Note that I didn't say it was actually straight!  I could also have used shelf brackets, but I forgot about those...