coronavirus and work: an open thread

Have questions about coronavirus and work? The comment section below is open for questions and information-sharing on all things COVID-19.

We’ll do this every Thursday for at least the next several weeks (and I ask that you post coronavirus-related questions here rather than in the regular Friday open threads, so that those don’t get overtaken by the flood of interest in this topic).

{ 1,313 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Please remember this is a work-focused thread. Stuff about the virus in general should be held for the weekend non-work open thread. Thank you!

  2. LeahS*

    Still here… We are taking temperatures every day now but still shut down. I talked before about having a chronic condition that makes me very nervous and my company telling me no to remote work unless we shut-down. How are you guys coping with anxiety and uncertainty in the workplace right now? I’m having a rough time.

      1. Sally*

        It somehow helps me to know that a LOT of us are struggling to keep anxiety at bay. Everyone at my company has been working from home for two weeks, so I’m trying to stay motivated and not get too lonely – so, opposite anxiety from yours, but still anxiety about COVID-19 stuff. Like, Amber Rose (below), I’m eating stuff that tends to make me sick and eating more than I should, but I’m trying to cut myself some slack: do my best to keep the crap food to a minimum as much as I can and do my best to take at least a couple of walks per day for exercise. Once I get a few good habits going, I figure I can add to them with other good habits. It’s a work in progress for all of us, even if it might look different for each person.

      2. Electron Whisperer*

        Not shut down but lots of working from home, probably including me once I get this STUPID VPN setup.
        IT are playing silly fuckers because the OS on my home PC is not on their approved list for the VPN, and sorry, but that is MY PC at home, not yours, I am an electronics engineer, Linux should be the expected norm. I have workarounds (SSH tunnel) but the whining when they figure it out would be annoying.
        Git for the win however, the ability to clone the entire documents repo from the office onto a (Encrypted) USB key, carry it home and then push the changes later is uber cool.

        TBH, I am sort of hoping that I HAVE picked it up somewhere, a week of feeling really rough (seems to be the common case for the under 60’s) and then get to just get on with life, Vs trying not to catch the little shit for months? I will take that bargain.

        For those having trouble sourcing soap or hand sanitiser, get thee to the DIY shed, paint isle, and find the cleaning chemicals for cleaning gloss paintbrushes, what you want is Isopropanol (Sometimes called Propan-2-ol or ‘rubbing alcohol’), avoid using denatured alcohol, you do NOT want bitrex in even trace amounts on your hands. Look at the back of the tins for what is really in them, brand names are meaningless. One warning, isoproanol evaporates quickly and has a rather low lower explosive limit, use in a ventilated space.
        For soap, sodium hydroxide and just about any fat or glycerine, react slowly then adjust to neutral PH using acid of choice (Red cabbage juice makes a workable PH indicator).

        1. Silly Fucker*

          I’m one of those “silly fuckers” in IT. The last 2 weeks have been an absolute nightmare for those of us working to get everyone set up to work from home.

          I’ve dealt with someone else just like you, last week. Seriously, if you’re so advanced that you’re not using an OS on the approved list, you do not need my help setting things up for you to work remotely.

          A co-worker was helping another employee with their personal laptop last week. The other employee’s manager walked in and thanked my co-worker for all the help. The other employee replied, “Well, it is his job”. No, this is not his job. He was going above and beyond to help this person.

          But, what would I know, I’m just a silly fucker in IT.

        2. Maryann M.*

          Everyone, I mean EVERYONE, specifically IT, is working their ass off right now to try and adapt to this new model of working from home. Please have some empathy and respect for the people that are trying to set up systems to accommodate this situation. Your tone about wishing “you had picked it up somewhere” concerns and scares me.. I’m also under 60, and while this week has been rough as hell (my pay got cut by 50%, I worked 46 hours, and yes, my internet has been lagging), I’m not going out and saying that I wish I had got it, or resenting my IT people for being behind. Everyone is affected by this and it sucks, no way around it. But it’s not IT’s fault that your system is having issues. Likelihood is that they’re working around the clock trying to target bigger issues with connecting everyone, and will get back to you shortly to get your personal PC updated.

        3. Maryann M.*

          Everyone, I mean EVERYONE, specifically IT, is working their ass off right now to try and adapt to this new model of working from home. Please have some empathy and respect for the people that are trying to set up systems to accommodate this situation. Your tone about wishing “you had picked it up somewhere” concerns and scares me.. I’m also under 60, and while this week has been rough as hell (my pay got cut by 50%, I worked 46 hours, and yes, my internet has been lagging), I’m not going out and saying that I wish I had got it, or resenting my IT people for being behind. Everyone is affected by this and it sucks, no way around it. But it’s not IT’s fault that your system is having issues. Likelihood is that they’re working around the clock trying to target bigger issues with connecting everyone, and will get back to you shortly to get your personal PC updated.

        4. yet another librarian*

          yeah, sorry dude, but i am also running linux on my personal device while WFH (since we didn’t have enough laptops to go around and i prefer it) and that’s the basic agreement: we support X and Y programs for A and B OSs, if you want to use something else, you’re on your own. our IT is stretched thinner than ever at this point and they are working to support the vast majority of our workforce, with the products they’ve approved. i’m an academic librarian and i tell our students that we formally support (for example) two citation managers, i will try to help them if they prefer something else and get stuck, but we don’t have the depth of staff to have expertise in every single tool they might consider using. same deal. don’t be a snobby jerk to your IT, especially now.

    1. Amber Rose*

      Same here. We are sending people home, but I’m on the front lines as essential staff apparently and will not be allowed to head home. I am extremely tense and my stomach hurts all the time now. I’m gonna end up with an ulcer at this rate.

      Unlike others, reading the news calms me down. I need to KNOW. It’s the uncertainty about the future that’s killing me right now, and so I am constantly checking the news because any information is better than this hollow feeling of ignorance and helplessness.

      What I’m not doing well with is not eating everything in sight. My diet is wrecked, I keep eating donuts. I’m hungry ALL THE TIME. Which is not helping my stomach pain.

      1. LeahS*

        I’m sorry :(. Anxiety is rough! I was just talking to someone else today about the uncertainty. It is hanging over all of our heads. I am the same way as you are – I do better with more information. When my mom was going through cancer, researching her condition kept me sane. Uncertainty is so hard.

        1. Amber Rose*

          Yeah, it’s tough. On the plus side, husband has committed to rocking post-apocalyptic leathers and driving an unnecessarily spiky armored car around the desert with me.

          1. AliceUlf*

            If the world burns down, I’m totally putting in an application to join your Mad Max gang.

            1. Amber Rose*

              Pre-emptively approved. Members have to provide their own leathers, but I imagine we’ll work as a team to acquire spiky vehicles, and I am more than willing to share my sword collection.

              1. Seeking Second Childhood*

                I have a weird variety of medieval & Ren Fair gear & garb to contribute if I can join in. Sit me in the background playing discomforting tunes on a stringed instrument.

                1. Amber Rose*

                  Excellent. You’re in. We will be well ahead of the game on awesome post-apocalyptic gangs.

            2. #idatherbequilting*

              I called in every day this week as I have asthma and diabetes. Boss lobbied grandboss for a VPN which was approved. Soon as that happens I’ll go in to work set everything up and haul my pc and monitors home and work. Otherwise I would call in for the next three weeks. THIS is why you save up those leave credits. I have no concerns about getting paid because I have sufficient leave credits to cover my absence.

              1. Leah S*

                Unfortunately I only get 5 days vacation and no paid sick days. Def would have been saving up if I could!

              2. Dream Jobbed*

                I just started a new job, and left about 400 hours of sick leave at my old one. :( But I rarely get sick, so hopefully that will continue until I build some up here as I age.

      2. shadowette*

        I’m sorry about your anxiety. I received an email today that said our agency is offering a webinar tomorrow through our employee assistance program (EAP) to provide coping mechanisms for dealing with the stress and uncertainty of the current situation and to provide tips for teleworking.

        1. Amber Rose*

          We don’t have an EAP. There’s government phone lines and stuff but I’m too exhausted to be calling those and be put on hold by the end of the day.

      3. Wombats and Tequila*

        Me too with the eating! Fortunately, there’s nothing wrong with going outside and taking a long, brisk walk as long as you can refrain from French kissing passersby.

        1. Amber Rose*

          It’s effing cold. I’m not going outside for any amount of time that could be described as long.

          If this was June, I think I’d be a lot less anxious. But the bad stuff on top of the icy cold, endless snow and grey skies is just so much salt in the wound.

          1. Tau*

            I keep wondering what would be better. The weather here has been wonderful, which on the one hand is great for keeping your spirits up and heading out to get fresh air once or twice a day… but on the other has led to people deciding to enjoy the weather by meeting up in the park! When you see the large crowds sunbathing and _not_ keeping their 6 foot distance, you wonder if grey and raining wouldn’t be safer. (And become tempted to shout SOCIAL DISTANCING at them until they leave.)

          2. ellex42*

            The weather has been a yo-yo of cold, warm, cold, warm, rain, snow in my area (although today and tomorrow are supposed to be nice…but also wet).

            I have a little indoor greenhouse made of a metal shelving unit with plexiglass panels zip-tied to it. Last year I bought some grow lights (LEDs have made grow lights so much more affordable) and attached them to the shelves. Not only do my seedlings grow faster and hardier, and my houseplants are thriving, but I’ve noticed that the cats like to snooze under the greenhouse now, especially on chilly, grey days. I’ve moved a chair closer as well, and have noticed that my mood tends to be a bit better if I regularly spend time there.

            Even if you don’t think you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, don’t discount the benefit of light and green growing things.

        2. Frenchie*

          Pffft. Forget it. What’s the point of taking a long walk if I cant French kiss passersby. Just kidding. No, I don’t really do that.

      4. Sparrow*

        I’m generally a need-to-know type, but the abundance of misinformation and unhelpful speculation (and people refusing to take this seriously) were massively upping my anxiety. So now I’m trying to avoid any discussion of it on social media and just going straight to WHO, CDC, etc. for any actual information. One of my friends is avoiding social media entirely for similar reasons.

        I have spikes of anxiety related to this, but long-term I’m more concerned about depression. I’m an introvert and can do fine without human interaction, but there’s always a point where being alone and in my own head starts feeding my depression. It’s long been a balancing act between getting enough me time and forcing myself to go out and do things and talk to people. Without casual hangouts, the gym, etc. I’m worried things will get pretty bleak. I need to be proactive about arranging video chats and phone calls, which I normally don’t have the people energy for.

        1. Skeeder Jones*

          Hi Sparrow, I can definitely relate to how introversion can become a balancing act. I can easily go quite a while without interacting with other humans in person (live alone, work remote) and while I generally crave that time with myself, I know it does have long-term effects if I do too much of it. I have worked pretty hard to try to create those social interactions with friends and make it a regular part of my life and I’m afraid I will regress too far back to spending too much time in isolation. I worry about my long-term mental health too. But one of my friend groups agreed to switch our monthly meet up to a monthly webex for now so that will help. It’s a new world we have to navigate.

        2. allathian*

          I hear you. Although to be fair, my husband and son are providing me with most of the human interaction I need.

      5. Product Person*

        It may also help to thing that for you, it’s great that others are staying home. You’re better off at a place of work with as few people around as possible. The WFH rule benefits everybody, not only the folks who are sent home.

    2. Holy Moley*

      I work for the Fed Govt which while allowing telelwork, my branch is 24/7. There is no chance for a complete shutdown. Im allowed to remote for now but was told to expect to come in at the end of the month. I also have chronic illnesses. One thing Im doing is trying to stop watching or reading the news so much. Im also only looking at social media once a day. I think just try to do what coping mechanisms that you can to help.

    3. HoHumDrum*

      Uhhhh not well to be honest.

      I work in a museum, and the news from the Met has me pretty certain my job is unlikely to survive this. I just graduated from graduate school with a buttload of debt (my plan was to join the program that forgives your loans after 10 years if you work in nonprofits, so if non-profits are laying people off and not hiring I am pretty well forked, can’t afford to pay those off on my own) and I *just* moved into a new apartment in my dream city, with my dream job. Now it’s crumbling in front of me, I’m terrified that I’m going to have to give up all those dreams and move back in with my mom in my home state. I spent 10 years making this dream a reality, and after two months it’s been gutted. When I graduated college I had to live at home because of lack of jobs and it put me into a depressive episode I’m still untangling myself from, I’m afraid if I have to move home I’ll be stuck there forever, and will be unlikely to be able to try this again.

      And at the same time I know I’m being an entitled whiner because there are people out there who are afraid they’re literally going to die, and I’m over here crying because of cancelled dreams. The fact that I even have a place to move back to makes me so lucky, and I know I should be more appreciative of that.

      So anyway, that’s basically swirling around my head every time I try to focus. I tried to shame myself into focusing on work because I’m also aware that if I’m not producing anything because I’m too busy feeling sorry for myself that definitely doesn’t show my value or keep my job more secure, but that just turned into another anxiety voice distracting me from productivity so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      Today I’m going to try to skype with the friend from school I did all my studying with, we’re just going to set up the computer so we can see each other and chat a bit, but both just try to work. I like to be around people when I work, so maybe that’ll be a way to feel less alone.

      I’m sorry for the blast of anxiety, I wish I could be more positive. I’m know a lot of you are in much worse straights, I hope for the best for all of you.

      1. Bye Academia*

        I’m so sorry. I really hope that, if you are laid off, you can collect unemployment in the meantime to get you through. It seems like almost all states are expanding unemployment benefits in some way during this time. And I hope that after this passes, your job will be there waiting for you.

        We will all be starved for cultural connection when this is over. I have faith that the arts community will thrive again.

      2. art adjacent*

        Not sure which city your institution is in, but the museums and galleries will re-open and they will need to staff once open again with the same experienced people. Also keep in mind that the arts is a really big world and after the markets pick up again there will be a lot of opportunities beyond museums. I have a MA in museum studies – and I have not worked in a museum for years. My job is reliant on museums, galleries, auction houses and art fairs open and running business as usual – so this is a scary time for us. But we know that the art market will return (it has after every crisis in the past including global pandemics) and we just need to ride it out. I plan to use this time to focus on all the small house keeping tasks I never have time to complete and to build my skills through online learning.

      3. Amy Sly*

        Cancelled dreams are worth crying over. When I lost my house in foreclosure, it wasn’t the house I mourned so much as all the dreams I’d had of remodeling and improving it. (By the time we left, the roof was leaking and several other “fun” disasters loomed.)

        Yes, talk to your friends and get some social interaction. I’d also suggest trying to get some exercise, even if it’s just walking up and down the fire stairs in your apartment building. and getting the sleep you need, even if you have to take benedryl to do it.

      4. M. Albertine*

        Just because other people might have it worse doesn’t mean your own anxieties aren’t valid. What has helped me, and sounds like it might help you, is to designate certain worry times to indulge yourself. Give yourself 20 minutes, half an hour, at a designated time to think about it and explore scenarios and what you might do. Then at the end of the time you have given yourself, engage in something pleasant to recover. Then, when you find your mind worrying when you want to be focused on something else, you can tell your brain that you have a certain time that it is allowed to do that, and it’s not allowed to do it now. It really helped me compartmentalize to both allow me to feel my feelings, but not let them take over my life.

        Good luck to you!

      5. Lynnerd*

        That sounds so stressful and difficult!! You have every right and reason to feel at a loss-this is a hard time for everyone. We are all in this together. Please give yourself permission to see that you’re riding the exact same struggle bus as all of us and that you’re allowed to join in these feelings of uncertainty!

        I love your idea of just hanging with a friend. I’ve been doing video chats with a couple to get a semblance of face time. Best of luck to you!

      6. Quill*

        Hey, from experience: shaming yourself into productivity doesn’t work!

        I wrote a novel that “doesn’t pass the turing test” that way, and booted through multiple jobs.

        I’m also pretty damn worried right now because even though I work in pharma… I’m a contractor.

        And they laid people off RIGHT before this mess.

      7. Diahann Carroll*

        And at the same time I know I’m being an entitled whiner because there are people out there who are afraid they’re literally going to die, and I’m over here crying because of cancelled dreams.

        If you’re an entitled whiner, then so am I because I too am concerned about my job stability and livelihood right now. My new, more expensive lease just kicked in on the first of this month – I can’t afford to lose my job. Plus, it would seriously derail the career I’ve been working so hard to create the last two years after doing a major career change. I’m finally working in a field that requires the degree I went into serious debt to attain, and I’m making more money than I ever believed I could. This was the dream, and this damn virus could bring it all crashing down, and I’m stressed the fuck out to the point where I’m having difficulty focusing.

        Can we just go back to 2019?

      8. Aquawoman*

        Your problems are your problems, even if they’re smaller than others’ problems. That said, I don’t think most people would slot your concerns into “entitled whiner” territory–major change in life plans/job loss/big debt do generally make the top 5 list. I commiserate with anyone who’s facing this kind of uncertainty right now.

      9. Gypsy, Acid Queen*

        I haven’t looked deep, but please check out the national associations and what they are doing. The Society for American Archivists is trying to establish a fund for displaced archivists, I have to imagine museum associations might start doing the same if they haven’t already.

        1. ellex42*

          Just the fact that there is such a thing as the Society for American Archivists is super cool.

      10. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Hey, please don’t beat yourself up. Facing an ongoing emergency that jeopardizes your sense of economic and professional security is a lot to handle. It’s not whiny to experience anxiety or apprehension around it.

        All I can say is that you are resilient, and you will be able to rebound. I had a semi-similar experience—I got extremely sick while pursuing my dream job, had to move back in with my parents (who I did not have a good relationship with), racked up $120K in medical debt, there was no clear window for when I’d be able to return to any kind of work, and of course, I lost my dream job. Just as I began to recover, the foreclosure crisis hit. Everything felt like a waking hellscape of a neverending nightmare. Having lived through it, all I can say is just that: you’ll get through it. Even if it sucks, you’ll get back on track. Be kind to yourself, and try to stay focused on the present.

      11. Name (Required)*

        Never be ashamed of your own worries and issues and never let anyone tell you that they are not as important because someone else has it worse.

      12. Dream Jobbed*

        You are not an entitled whiner. You worked so hard for something and now it all seems to be going up in flames.

        Seems is the operative word though. There will be unemployment insurance, there may be bailouts for individuals, not just mega corporations, students loans will hopefully face reality and just halt loans for awhile without putting more interest on them, and your job, if lost, is likely to return.

        Do everything you can to prepare right now, and just hold on. Bad times do not last forever. We will all be pulling for you, and everyone who is in tough times right now.

    4. CheeseGirl*

      I came here for the same reason, LeahS. I work AT A HOSPITAL so I think we should be the standard in how to react to this. But alas, we certainly are not. Today, finally, the company sent out new policies for PTO, sick leave, and work from home policies. Everyone who is able can now work from home at the discretion of their managers. I work in IT and can do my job 100% the same way at home that I can at work. All of us already have company laptops and access to the system at home. My boss, however, has said we are not allowed to work from home. No exceptions. I don’t know how to come to work everyday without looking like I want to punch someone in the face. I was about to have a nervous breakdown so I called my mother, who works in the same industry in another state, who IS coincidentally, working from home, and she asked if I was so upset because I think it isn’t fair that I don’t get to work from home. What? No. I’m upset because my manager is blatantly disregarding the CDC, the situation in Italy (because we are on track for the same thing), and all common sense. We are in the middle of implementing a new electronic medical record for the health system and all they can talk about is how the coronavirus is going to delay our project timeline. My mother told me that it seems like younger people are the group most concerned about this and she doesn’t understand why. I feel like I’m losing my mind. I can’t focus on anything because I am so stressed and anxious. I didn’t even realize until yesterday how stressed I am. I am so thankful for this community to help reinforce that I am not alone and that I’m not crazy.

      1. Vancouver*

        I’m sorry that you’ve been put in this position.

        Do you think there would be anything to be gained by either asking your boss directly about the inconsistency between the directives for your department versus the organization, or by asking a similar question of HR or your bosses boss or whoever is taking the lead on the response in your organization?

        I think Alison has suggested wording for something similar in the past – approaching it as wanting clarification rather than confrontation. “I was hoping you could help clear up some confusion I have about policy X…”

        Good luck. You’re not crazy. You are having a completely normal response to a stressful situation.

      2. Diahann Carroll*

        My mother told me that it seems like younger people are the group most concerned about this and she doesn’t understand why.

        I don’t mean to be disrespectful of your mom, but she doesn’t understand why people are concerned about catching a deadly virus? And she’s in the medical field? Uhhh…maybe it’s time for a career change.

        1. doreen*

          I don’t understand why younger people are the most concerned either – but by that, I mean my peers ( in our 40s and 50s ) are much more concerned that our parents who are in their 70s and 80s. I haven’t left my house except to go to work in almost two weeks but my mother and her friends are probably still socializing at each other’s homes. And they were going to the the churches, senior centers, restaurants, bars and casinos until they were shut down and the choice was taken away from them

          1. Diahann Carroll*

            I actually think I get this – if you’re 70 or 80, you’ve lived a long and, hopefully, good life. You’ve seen and done just about everything, so your mortality is less of an issue for you than your kids who are 40 and 50, who may themselves have younger kids still relying on them. My mom tells me all the time that once she hits 70-80s, she’s done. She won’t care about anything anymore, lol.

            1. Pennalynn Lott*

              My mom, who is 74 and has COPD, lives with me. Not only is she not yet ready to die (she has an active social and volunteer life) but *I* am not ready for her to die. And I’m certainly not ready for her to suffer through an illness that shuts down breathing. It sounds horrific and painful.

              So, yeah, while I don’t want to get sick, I’m not as worried about me as I am about my mom. I’ve told her she’s grounded for the foreseeable future. I am doing all of her grocery shopping and errand running, then wiping down her items with 71% alcohol before letting her touch them. (I, also, am washing the heck out of my hands and sanitizing every surface in my house). And she’s not allowed to visit friends or volunteer, either. She’s not happy about that, but I’m like, “That’s what FB and phones are for, Mom.”

              1. Diahann Carroll*

                I am right there with you about not being ready for mom to die – I feel the same way about mine (she’s 53 and diabetic), and she’s not nearly as worried about this as I am. Hell, someone just sneezed in my apartment building’s mailroom without covering his damn mouth (ugh), and I flipped out, and I know that’s not even a symptom!

                Anyway – why are parents so hardheaded? Lol

                1. The Sound of Silence*

                  Pretty sure it is revenge for the teenage years, somehow. Though teenage years were only a decade…

                  I have the same problems with convincing my in their 60s parents to follow even some of the same advice they are giving my in their 90s grandparents!

        2. All monkeys are French*

          The info I’m seeing says the divide between those taking it seriously vs. those that aren’t runs more along political lines than generational ones.

      3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        It’s interesting your mom is saying the younger gen is mostly concerned.

        The radio dude just said us “younger gen/millennials” are being flippant about it and are gonna kill us all.

        Just what we need, this extra generation vs generation stuff floating around :(

      4. Nines*

        I felt the exact same way all week last week! Arguing we should be sent home and my boss responding like I’m trying to get out of doing my work. Completely infuriating

    5. SQL Coder Cat*

      Not so great. I work for a medical university with a large hospital, and we are getting a minimum of two updates a day on the changing plans. We had our first patient die yesterday, and everyone’s stuck at home. My mother lives with me and has an immunodeficiency condition plus chronic asthma, so the household is hunkered down and not going anywhere unless it’s a life-sustaining activity (medicine, food). The idea of months of this has me constantly on edge. I’m trying to take a lot of quick walks outside, which help temporarily. I’m just trying to remember that *everyone* is stressed by this, and we all need to be kind to get through this.

      1. MatKnifeNinja*

        I gotta go into work because my boss has somehow believed this is “no big deal”, and we are on track for a one world government. (I got no words for that).

        What bothers me is my niece is out until April 16th. There are rumors the rest of the school year will be trashed. We end in June.

        She’s a good kid, and has tons of online homework. My neighbor has three boys 5, 8 and 12. She was on her porch crying yesterday. Texted me her kids and husband were being horrible, and she can’t take it anymore.

        I left some cars/coloring books/crayons by her door for the kids.

        Be kind should be PSA-ed everywhere.

      2. Em*

        Late to this thread but I also work for a medical University with a large hospital. My department–involved in animal biomedical research–is considered essential and instead of changing our schedules to help us out, their pandemic response made it worse. I suggested rolling longer shifts with less contact with each other, and even got the provost to reply to my emails. But nothing changed. I would have been willing to be quarantined at work and take on extra responsibilities like we do during a hurricane, if it meant less interacting.

        I developed shortness of breath last week, a mild fever, and mild dry cough. So I had to call off, and I qualified for testing. I don’t think they considered that anyone who gets sick will be out at least a week because it’s hard to get tested and results take 7 days. I don’t even feel that sick but I couldn’t risk it.

        I feel a huge amount of stress about being the first person in my department to call off, and the fact I’m still 5 days out from getting test results. But I think it highlights for them their plan won’t work through this and we have to try to change our work loads.

    6. Stackson*

      I am also still here, though my company is shut down next week due to “lack of demand”. I’m in the manufacturing sector and it’s very frustrating to see our customer also shutting down for lack of demand, but at least they’re PAYING their employees for their time off and facilitating a deep clean of their facility over the break.

      My company gathered 200 people in our break room yesterday (super smart) and handed out packets that contained instructions for how to apply for unemployment–BEFORE anyone even started speaking. So it just feels like they’re not taking this seriously, they’re not communicating well (if at all), and they don’t have any concern for the health and well-being of their employees.

      Also, someone who works in the same office as me came by my boss’ desk this morning and said “I have a family member who just tested positive and I’ve had lots of recent contact with him.” My boss said “are you feeling ok?” and she said yes and he said “ok.” Like no concern whatsoever.

      I was already looking to leave for a variety of reasons (and have a Skype interview today!) but in the meantime I’m just super anxious and stressed out constantly, and I’m trying to decide if I even need to be looking at switching jobs with all of the uncertainty. Everything sucks.

      Thanks for being a solid community and making me feel like I’m not crazy or alone.

      1. Name (Required)*

        You are not alone. We had our company update today and… it could have TECHNICALLY gone worse…?

        It did not help to ease the anxiety of the staff.

        1. Stackson*

          Thanks. Even if things suck, it’s honestly so helpful to know that I’m not the only one feeling this way and going through it.

    7. Prismatic Professional*

      I’m not handling it well. Anxiety feels exactly like hunger to me, so I’m consuming far too many calories in the form of mini Reeces cups.

      I’m also taking breaks and reading AAM for the feeling of solidarity and I’m not the only person feeling this way.

    8. Jules the 3rd*

      Not well. I’m really distracted. Usually when I wfh it’s just a normal day in a different place. This week – I’ve barely managed 4 hrs of work / day, because I’m so focused on what’s going on.

      I’m just prioritizing so the critical stuff’s getting done, and forgiving myself on the rest.

    9. DecorativeCacti*

      My best friend is paying for an extra meeting with my therapist for my birthday (it was Tuesday).

      I flail wildly between “this is fine” to “I just want to sleep for the next six months” to *unintelligible screaming*

    10. Skeeder Jones*

      I’m dealing with a ton of anxiety too! My car caught on fire on the freeway at the end of January and that had already spiked up my anxiety. With this “pandemic” and the uncertainty about everything, the world feels very unsafe and scary. I work in healthcare but not patient care so I am not worried about losing my job and my team is already 100% remote, so I’m not having to make adjustments in my daily routine. But, big but, I worry about the long term impact to the world economy that can eventually trickle into every area of life, including my fairly recession-proof industry. Also, all the “prepping” insanity brings another layer of anxiety. I can safely say I have enough food and all the non-food consumable items (medications, toilet paper, etc) that I need but there’s still that voice in my head worrying about what happens if this insanity continues. I’m doing a lot of self-talk to get through the rough moments, taking CBD oil at night and praying that my next therapy session in a week doesn’t get cancelled.

      1. SofiaDeo*

        Teletherapy, it doesn’t Have to be in person. Phone call, Skype, etc. is better than zero!

    11. Mahkara*

      I’m in about as great a position as I can be. I’m healthy, I’m young, I work in a very safe job that I can do easily from home. Work is also willing to give as much paid time off as needed for health reasons. I’m blessed.

      I am still anxious and going crazy. I have no idea how anyone else is managing. Virtual hugs.

    12. Kate H*

      I’m not handling it well. I’m having panic attacks daily at work as well as a constant urge to quit. My department works 100% online and we’re still not allowed to work from home, even if we DO shut down. We are allowed to take time off, unpaid of course.

      Mostly, I’m just trying to take things one day, and even one hour, at a time. I also have a new policy of unplugging an hour before bed and reading in an attempt to destress.

    13. Cw06*

      Get documentation from your doctor saying that you’re high-risk, and file an ADA accomodation request. Lay out how all of your job duties can be done remotely. My organization was twitchy about remote work, but I made a solid case to HR that would be difficult to rebut if they tried to deny it. A few days later they made remote working preferred organization-wide.

      1. LeahS*

        I’m surprised we still are! I am in Ohio and we thought for sure when PA shut down Dewine was going to follow suit.

        1. Pretzelgirl*

          I am in Ohio too. I work in Cuyahoga county but live in Summit. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get shut down or at least Cuyahoga county does.

        2. Smarched*

          I’m in PA and a shocking number of what I would consider non essential businesses here are still open and having workers come in.

          1. LeahS*

            That’s really interesting – do you know what has been happening in the manufacturing sector in PA?

            1. Smarched*

              Don’t know much about the manufacturing sector’s response over here. The big shell factory site just agreed to shut down but only for a week, so that’s… about the size of things.

          2. ellex42*

            I went out to get a takeout dinner last night and also saw a surprising number of non-essential businesses open.

            Like the mattress store. There was one car in the parking lot and it probably belonged to whoever works there. I hope they don’t work on commission.

            On the other hand, the big golf store was closed. And I’ve never in my life seen an Olive Garden parking lot that empty.

          1. Diahann Carroll*

            I believe all non-essential businesses are now shut down. My mom’s company tried to be slick and keep them working under the guise of them being essential (their agents work on full commission, and her department has to process their work in order for them to get paid), but now they’ve been told to WFH indefinitely (though my mom still goes in two days a week to do one task she absolutely can’t do from home).

            1. Old and Don’t Care*

              That’s not at all true. There’s been no discussion of non-essential businesses as a category as in PA and NY, only specific industries such as hair/nail salons yesterday. Companies may be having discussions about whether they would be considered essential as preparation, though.

          2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            My friend in Cuyahoga County is still required to come into work. Her job is absolutely non-essential. It’s ridiculous and infuriating.

          3. Pretzel girl*

            schools, restaurants, most churches, barbershops, hair salons, tattoo shops, water parks, trampoline parks, gyms, DMVs, etc. (might be missing some)
            Many, many stores (not grocery) have closed of their own volition. I saw a TON of non-essential businesses (like in business parks), with packed parking lots. It was maddening.

            Downtown Cleveland, by the Clinic had to be shut down by police. Their drive thru testing was getting out of control. At this point they reported only 3% of people tested were getting positives. So doctors being to quick to say “go get tested”.

            I work in health care and have to go in. (admin)

            1. Teddyduchampssleepingbag*

              Restaurants in Ohio are not shut down. Just no dining in. Carry out and delivery is still on. So we are forced to come in and work.

          4. Eleaner*

            I don’t know about other manufacturers, but we are WFH office and manufacturing is still going in. Some of our customers are expecting us to run business as usual, and others have pulled all their orders ahead in case we get shut down. Its a nightmare with the number of orders we’re missing, because we want our people safe, but also have to deal with the owners.

            Also, anyone else ever heard of electrostatic disinfecting?

        3. Mean Girl*

          I am in Ohio too, and we are an entirely non-essential business, but my company is still giving us the line that “it’s not fair to those who cant work from home if we let those who can do so do it.” They’re being ridiculous. I am in HR and can effectively do my job from home. Yet, I am still forced to come into the office every day and risk the health of myself and my family. Not enough *eye rolls* in the world for this…

          1. Diahann Carroll*

            Report them anonymously to the health department. They should not be open right now.

    1. Construction Safety*

      Still running. It’s shutdown season, many clients are only accepting “critical visitors”. Clients won’t lock the gate, b/c then they’ll have to pay us for costs while we’re out (prework, rental equipment, etc.) and rescheduling is truly a nightmare. We won’t call it a day b/c clients won’t willingly pay us for prework, rentals, etc. One project wants all the subs’ action plans, but won’t supply one of their own.

    2. Quarantini*

      Same. My company has said repeatedly that it’s “business as usual,” even though there’s a general sense of unease and chaos across the whole business group. I also have the joyous task (not!) of helping disseminate business continuity plans. Given our line of work, these continuity plans basically boil down to: we have enough employees that if a large number of our workforce dies due to COVID-19, we can still operate. The morbidity of it all is putting me into a grumpy funk.

    3. first time commenter*

      Our company has not shut down either. We are mostly WFH this week except for a few members of our team, and our county just rescinded a shutdown that was going to support me (a younger person with current respiratory issues) to continue to WFH until this is over. My boss is considering having people rotate in/out of office starting next week because it’s a very ‘butts in seats, we’re watching you’ kind of space and it seems WFH is really unpopular amongst the execs. Extremely nervous about passing this to my roommates and/or family, or getting it myself.

    4. Amy*

      We’re finally WFH as of 2 days ago (large University in the UK.) I’m on a 1 year contract which previously was looking like it might be extended… now it looks like it almost certainly won’t be, largely because hiring and contract extensions are so far from anyone’s priority right now.

      Tips on finding a job in a pandemic when your entire sector is on hiring freeze, anyone?

      I’m also ramping up my freelance writing business in the hope that I can fall back on that if I have to.

      I’m scared.

  3. Sharkie*

    Has anyone else lost respect for management over the way they are handling this? My CEO has banned work from home and told us we are working in the office until the government shuts us down. 75% of the company can easily work from home

    1. LeahS*

      In close to the same situation- at least people who are sick and can remotely work are expected to but no work from home for anyone else. It is frustrating. I feel like everyone who can should be allowed to.

      1. Amanda*

        WHAT? People who are sick are still supposed to work from home? That’s extra extra messed up!

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          I think they mean just generally sick, not sick with the virus (dear lord, please mean that, lol).

    2. Dave*

      Yes! I am higher up and see more then others but the owner has been all over the map. Sometimes they are fine and calm and other times it is like what the heck. We have gone from everyone being laid off in one conversation and to prepare accordingly to we are staying open lets get some work.

    3. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

      I believe that when this crisis is over many people will be taking a long hard look at their company’s reaction. Some will discard their loyalty and others will look for another job. I’m disappointed with my workplace’s lack of urgency. And we have confirmed cases in our region. We finally started more stringent cleaning yesterday and I still have to remind people to wash their freaking hands with soap.

      1. Mama Bear*

        I’m annoyed that we are not more liberal with the WFH option but I am seeing an emptier parking lot so I think a number of people are actually remote. Some people cannot be, so we have extra PTO now to help them out. The CEO is walking a fine line and I get it, but I’d rather be home.

      2. Hello*

        I’d like a list of these companies to ensure that I never apply to work with them. I promise you that I’m an interview I will ask what steps they took to handle employees during three Coronavirus

        1. Captain Raymond Holt*

          That’s my plan too! I also do vendor management for my job and I plan to review vendors based on how they’ve handled the Coronavirus with their employees. I will push us to cancel vendors who are not being good to their employees and I’ll happily tell them why.

      3. periwinkle*

        Absolutely this. My employer has been decent about the whole situation and my functional leadership has been excellent about supporting WFH and social distancing.

        Meanwhile, let’s just say that my husband’s employer has starred in some recent news articles because someone leaked internal emails in which the CEO mandated that all corporate employers were required to keep coming into the office – located in King County, Washington, aka COVID-19 Central – because it wouldn’t be fair to the non-office employees who couldn’t work remotely. When my husband showed me the emails, one of my few printable responses was “what, is he waiting for someone to die first before he gives in?” Unfortunately, I called it. It would be interesting to see their retention rate over the next year. My husband wants out. This was the last straw, and honestly, the corporate response was a whole wagon load of straw (or possibly the stuff that falls into straw out of the cows).

        1. Detective Right-All-The-Time*

          This was super surprising to me to read (I saw the articles) because that company has such a reputation for being good to its employees. Is that reputation hogwash, or does it only apply to the warehouses, or is this really out of character?

      4. Name (Required)*

        I agree. Depending on the state of the economy at the end if this I think there will be a fascinating study regarding reactions and retention.

        Except I fear due to the economy many places will get away with it if their staff is still employed in the face of the job loss we’re beginning to see.

    4. Alianora*

      Yeah. My director didn’t address it until my coworker sent out an email asking about it, and then her reply was very defensive. She only reluctantly implemented a wfh policy once an organization-wide order came down and the president personally told her that our department’s jobs (all office work) can be done remotely.

      I really feel like she doesn’t trust her employees to do their jobs when not in the office, which is ironic because she herself is not in the office most of the time. And she did not seem at all concerned for anyone who was in a high risk group or has high risk family members.

      1. Alianora*

        For context, we’re in the sf bay area, which has many confirmed cases and just put a shelter in place order into effect this week. If we were in an area that hasn’t been as affected, I would understand her reaction.

      2. Feline*

        Your president gets a a big elbow bump for having your back like that.

        Management at my job has turned all wishy-washy. The pendulum has been swinging away from allowing remote work for the past year, and I think middle management has been afraid to go against the momentum on it for this crisis. “I don’t want to put that in email” type stuff. Word came down from the corporate level that our location was on an “everyone work remote” basis except critical, hands-on people like facilities, and suddenly, middle management’s fear of putting anything in writing evaporated.

        1. Alianora*

          Ugh that’s so cowardly of the management team. I’m glad you guys are able to work at home now.

      3. anycat*

        whoa, i’m so sorry. i’m in the same location as you (SF) and in an industry that never stops and is essential to keep the city moving. our CEO sent out a company wide email stating all the things that they are doing to lessen the chance that employees out on the front line can be exposed to this, along with measures to protect those working at desks. i’ve been wfh for the last two weeks and i miss my coworkers. but i’m so grateful for our CEO and his leadership in this.

      4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        How is she getting away with this when SF is under a shelter-in-place order!? Seriously, contact the health department, your organization president, and create a cross-department pact to WFH effective immediately. What can she do—fire all of you?

        I’m in a much less impacted County (i.e., not in the Bay), and we were all ordered remote/WFH last Thursday. On Monday the County ordered places of public accommodation closed, and on Tuesday issued a shelter-in-place order.

        Although guidance has been changing rapidly, my (huge institutional) employer has done the following: made EAP and other wellness services available remotely; mandated WFH for nearly all employees; provided paid leave for at least 2 weeks to non-essential employees who cannot WFH (e.g., custodial staff); provided a number of trainings on how to use remote work platforms and tools; significantly increased IT support at this time; made free COVID testing available; increased paid sick leave for those with COVID or caretaking responsibilities to four weeks.

        1. Alianora*

          To be clear, we are doing full-time work from home starting Monday. I was talking about her reaction last week, before the order was in place. But yeah, I would definitely be escalating this if she was still balking.

        2. Anax*

          I’m in the Bay, and there are a lot of loopholes in the “essential business” exception.

          For instance, I work for a bank – and while it’s essential for people to be able to access their funds so they can buy necessities (food, medicine, rent, etc.)… there’s a lot of back-office folks (me included!) who have absolutely no need to be in the office. IT, HR, and so on – and it would probably also make sense to close down non-essential parts of the business like mortgage lending for the time being. I also haven’t seen too many essential businesses reducing staffing so the minimum number of people are exposed.

          Those loopholes may end up closed or tightened later on, but for now, there’s a lot.

          (My workplace is doing….. ehhh. Ok-ish? Company-wide communications are mostly focused on the branch staff, and there’s no explicit order for back-office and non-essential staff to stay home, and we’re expected to use our saved PTO for any necessary leave. People who can’t work from home, are ill, and don’t have enough PTO can apply for up to five days of emergency PTO… but that’s clearly not enough. I’ve been working while ill for weeks because I don’t have enough saved PTO due to chronic illness, and got sick right before I could apply for intermittent FMLA.

          On the other hand, we’re well set up for WFH, and I haven’t had any problems working from home for the last month while sick. Either a really nasty seasonal flu, or COVID-19 – getting swabbed tomorrow, now that tests are available. And man, I’m glad that I’ve been careful to self-isolate if it really is COVID-19.)

      5. Tabby Baltimore*

        Having read AAM for several years now, I’m convinced your director is the type of employee who isn’t doing any part of her job when out of the office, and is assuming everyone else in the office is exactly like her, which is why she was dragging her feet so badly on this. She has no integrity, so she assumes no one else does, either. I am insulted on your behalf.

    5. ThatGirl*

      My husband didn’t have much respect for the president of his university before, and definitely not now — she is being extremely short-sighted, took forever to move classes online, is trying to Catholic-guilt staff into coming in even though faculty are not. (It’s a Catholic university.) His boss told him to handle everything by phone but he’s still sitting there in his office, miserable and anxious.

      1. JelloStapler*

        That’s awful, ThatGirl. I work for a Jesuit University and they are not guilt-tripping anyone! Your VP seems to have a martyr complex!

      2. Angry Professor*

        I am absolutely infuriated with my university. There was initially a vague directive to “try” to get online by today. Then on Sunday evening, we got an email saying “jk students need to be out of the dorms by Tuesday, and classes are canceled entirely this week.” If they’d given that instruction last Friday, students would have had the weekend to arrange transportation (and/or for their parents to drive to campus to get them), instead of the 36 hours they were given. We might not have even needed to cancel classes.

        Now we’re being told that we are *required* to cover all the remaining material, despite losing a full week of classes, and despite knowing that it will probably take another full week to get all faculty and students up to speed on the required software for virtual classes. Our ONE education technology specialist (we’re a small school, but not THAT small!) is *very* bad at her job, and a pretty unpleasant person to interact with in addition to that. She has given me demonstrably incorrect answers about basic functionalities of our learning management system, and got very prickly when I asked her if she could please execute a (very simple) step which only she has the admin power to do. I am so over it. I’m covering whatever material I’m able to cover, learning outcomes be damned.

        1. AD*

          You can try reaching out to your textbook publisher. I don’t know if they’re all on the ball about this kind of thing, but I know of at least one that’s trying, and meanwhile it would give you someone other than that one terrible person to contact.

          1. Prof. Kat*

            It’s unfortunately not the publisher’s software – it’s Blackboard. Their proprietary help is confusing at times and useless at others. I’ve tried contacting the larger university support system (I’m part of a huge state university system), and they always forward my messages to her, because she’s the person I’m “supposed” to contact, and she’s he only person who is allowed to do the admin-y steps I need approved. There’s no way around her, sadly.

            Apparently she also ran a Zoom training on Tuesday that was a hot mess. Argh. I don’t envy her job in this situation, but she’s terrible at it on a good day, and this is really bringing that into even sharper relief.

            1. Prof. Kat*

              (Whoops…I’m Angry Professor, I swear! Replying from a different device now and forgot I used a custom display name to express my frustration. Haha.)

        2. Majnoona*

          Do we work at the same place? We had roughly the same timetable – try a class online the week after spring break to (Friday of spring break) – online til April 10 (but really I think the whole term). Fortunately our IT is great. I did find the assigned book online through redshelf maybe. The problem I’m having is I work at home *a lot* and suddenly my husband is here and my daughter came home and they’re all in my space!

          1. Prof. Kat*

            Haha no, we don’t…our IT is decidedly not great, and our spring break was early March. But I do feel your pain!

      3. Jenny F. Scientist*

        Yikes! My spouse and I both work at a small private school and it’s closed for 2 weeks and everyone has been told they can WFH, no penalty, and everyone gets 2 weeks paid leave too, if they need/want it. Also everyone who doesn’t have work or is hourly gets paid through June 1. The initial messaging/timeline was messed up but this is at least… not terrible?

    6. Alston*

      I have seen some luck with people getting their companies shamed into shutting down. Mostly it’s been retail jobs, but once a reporter asks for comments on why they are risking their employees lives instead of letting them work from home/shutting down, it makes them reevaluate.

      It might be worth reaching out to some reporters (both local papers and online places like BuzzFeed). If you can get someone interested it might call your boss to act.

      Also maybe call your city council members/mayor, let them know you are scared, your boss is blocking work from home, and you want a shit down.

      1. What’s with Today, today*

        I’m a News Director. Our city closed all facilities except the city golf course. A city councilman questioned this and was blown off by the city manager. The councilman reached out to me, and about 45 minutes after I asked the city manager about it, the golf course also got shut down.

      2. WellRed*

        A large law firm here sent out a tone deaf memo about how support staff needed to be in the office, while attys were WFH. The memo mysteriously made its way to a very well known columnist for the state’s largest newspaper; )

      3. Penny Parker*

        My partner’s job is at a casino, and they were refusing to shut down (midwest, not vegas). I called the public relations office as a public citizen and raised a fuss. I told them I live two miles from the casino and am high risk. I said if they did not shut down I would be sending a letter to our local newspaper and start contacting politicians. He replied that they were “working on it” (they had shut down other casinos they owned just that day) and I told him to “work harder; all you have to do is just put up a sign and make it closed!” Within TWO MINUTES of that phone call the casino announced the place closed.

        If they refuse to shut down, notify the press!

    7. Rozefly*

      How obscene – can you all push back as a group? I am not sure where abouts you are, but surely by now almost everywhere is mandating WFH? But surely there is a way to ask him why he is being so cavalier with the health of, not only his employees, but their extended families. I would say you should all kick up a huge fuss. Every day. Until he relents. What a garbage person.

      1. Sharkie*

        Our governor is strongly encouraging working from home, but nothing official yet. Upper management is based in another country so I doubt they will respect a state government.

    8. Sharkie*

      Some examples: My coworker is a single dad to a 9 year old and a 10 year old. Schools closed yesterday. Coworker tried to work from home but he was told no you have to use pto…

      All meetings are canceled because they all “too dangerous” but working all day in a cube farm open concept area is safe. LOL Ok

      1. Smarched*

        I feel this so much! Our office is also refusing work from home even though we already have the capability and option on rare occasions such as inclement weather. The latest solution has been to let people move cubes to empty rows, which we have admittedly a ton of due to restructuring last year. We have to space out by at least 2 cubes but remain in office.

      2. OhBehave*

        I wish y’all could share your company name! I would call as a reporter seeking a quote. Ugh – this is horrible.

      3. Turquoisecow*

        My company did the same – large meetings were cancelled and vendors were told not to come in but have meetings via phone, but…everyone was still expected to be in the office?

    9. merp*

      Oh, for sure. We’re state government and not considered essential – our salaries were budgeted ages ago. We’ve implemented a partial work from home and have closed to the public, which I know is better than a lot of places, but since my work is hard to transfer to remote, I’m still here 3 days a week. Feels reckless and absurd for me to risk my health and the health of my coworkers and their families when we could close and pay everyone with no problem.

      1. Kelly*

        I get your frustration. I also work for state government, public university in my case, and there was a complete 180 in a matter of days when it came to working from home. It went from only some people can do it to everyone can. Problem is that our division is following the lead of campus HR and that most of the supervisors have no experience or training for managing remote workers.

        It honestly would be easier and cause fewer issues if our HR people would eliminate the requirement that we work from home to get paid without using extra leave provided by campus and/or personal leave time. They could direct us to fill out our regular time sheets regardless of if we did any work or not and direct our supervisors to automatically approve them. Our salaries are already budgeted and that line of funding is automatically renewed at the start of each fiscal year. Our HR people are aware enough to know that most of us aren’t going to be very productive due because of various factors including having to deal with kids home from school indefinitely, people dealing with stress, anxiety and uncertainty over what’s going on. The situation is changing daily and I’m hoping by the end of next week, we get paid no matter if what amount of remote work we do. It’s only fair to do it for everyone.

        I know I’m not the only one of my colleagues who has been experiencing stress and anxiety as a result of how our staffing situation has been handled both at the campus level and our division level. As of now, we are open at one service point to the public for a couple hours a day and it’s being staffed by volunteers. Luckily people are volunteering, including myself, because honestly we know that some services need to be provided to our patrons. However, it’s a very small pool of volunteers.

    10. MonteCristo85*

      Overall, it hasn’t been bad. All non-essential and admin got put on WFH on Monday.

      However, a member of management posted an asinine comment on LinkedIn about how this was overblown and ridiculous and that more people die falling out of bed each year or chocking and threatening that China needed to pay. I have lost every single iota of respect I ever had for him, that’s for sure.

      1. Dave*

        In some ways these comments are the worst part for me. I am learning how many people are really racists and how many people are just idiots. Just because more people die from X in a year doesn’t mean we should create and environment to see if we can top it! My other favorites are about how we have been through this before with the swine flue and N1H1. The most mind boggling when someone complained about how badly Hillary Clinton handled the outbreaks when she was in office.

      2. Rebecca1*

        Ugh— I saw that “China needs to pay” thing on a Fox News chyron, as I flipped past it the other day.

    11. Confused*

      I’m having a hard time understanding why companies are refusing to let people work from home, especially when they don’t need to be in the office. Maybe I am just used to managing people remotely, so this hasn’t been a big shift for me, but I don’t understand the cavalier attitude in putting people at risk.

      1. NaoNao*

        I think the (flawed) line of thinking is around a couple things:

        Very rigid old ways of doing things: face time and butts in seats = productivity

        Lack of trust in front line or junior employees

        That type of personality that finds most or all of their meaning in/at work and “work” is something of a performance—and if no one sees them rushing to and fro and taking calls, does it count and then do they even EXIST?

        Jerky control freaks

        Not taking this seriously because they can’t see it/it’s primarily affecting people (in terms of deaths/hospitalizations) that are out of the workforce due to age/feedback loop of employees not taking it seriously so they don’t

        1. OhBehave*

          Also add that these managers/CEO’s don’t know how to allow WFH for some whose work is easy to transfer to WFH, and not others (who need to be on site).

    12. Alex*

      Very much. All but maybe 2-3 people out of 200 can work remotely, but we’re being required to come into the office every other day and there are no exceptions for anyone.

      My company has a question on our twice-a-year self evaluations about how our companies differ from our peers’. I’m planning to say my peers’ companies didn’t endanger the lives of their employees, families, and communities by forcing them to come into an office during a once-in-a-century pandemic. Except I’ll say it nice.

    13. Peaches*

      Same situation here. As I’ve mentioned in previous threads, I work for a jan-san company that manufactures and sells many COVID-19 approved disinfectants, sanitizers, wipes, toilet paper, etc. so obviously we are “essential” right now. However, EVERY person here with the exclusion of our two warehouse employees could work from home, yet our corporate office has not allowed it. I sent my manager a (what I thought), was a well thought-out email indicating why I felt it was important for us to work from home at this time, and offered several sound solutions on how we could continue working at the same capacity from home. She forwarded it to HR, who basically came back and told me “no” (in a long winded, canned email, that indicated they didn’t actually read my email closesly). In their email, they indicated that if I “personally felt in was necessary”, I would use vacation time (uh, no, I only get two weeks as it is). It made me a bit angry that they acted like it was “my personal opinion” that we should work from home, instead of acknowledging the fact that their blantantly going against CDC recommendations.

      1. orangskye*

        That’s terrible!! My company is also in the healthcare industry, and we’ve been on voluntary work from home since last week, and are almost definitely going mandatory work from home next week. Our CEO explained it as we can then concentrate our resources on our most essential workers in our warehouses and with less people in our locations, we can do more social distancing for those who must be in person. They are buying hand sanitizer for our warehouse workers and front-line healthcare staff. We have even extended our health benefits to cover all coronavirus testing costs. I’m SO grateful right now to be working for a company that takes this seriously, and actually cares about it’s employees!

      2. NW Mossy*

        I can’t decide which meme here – “screaming internally” or “WTAF.”

        You’re doing some hero’s work, Peaches, even if your leadership is utterly ridiculous.

        1. Peaches*

          Thank you, I appreciate your kind words.

          Funny you should mention the “screaming internally” meme – I just tweeted that a couple of days ago in reference to my current work situation. :)

          1. Nola*

            I also work in the cleaning/disinfectant upstream manufacturing industry. I have to say, I’m actually really proud of how my company has handled things so far. Anyone with an office job at HQ is working from home. Lab based jobs are working from home rotationally. Our manufacturing sites obviously have essentially personnel that can’t work from home, but for the most part those that can work off site some of the time are (through rotating schedules, etc). All that to say what you already know- which is that your company is being a bit backwards about this! Best wishes and hope your company sees the light soon.

    14. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

      We have almost the exact opposite problem (but still a loss of managerial respect as a result). Our CEO said anyone who could work from home should – but without waiting for IT to finish their impact assessment (which, without this announcement, would have been done on Monday, with the necessary steps in place for COB Tuesday). End result? Mass exodus, including of people taking their *desktop* computers home, IT overwhelmed by remote requests (most common one being “my home broadband isn’t working, can you fix it?”), VPN access boxes crashing, utter chaos! Only about 40% of people who were already set up to work from home – who were apparently the people the CEO was actually referring to – are actually able to connect and be productive.


      1. Diahann Carroll*

        Welp, now your CEO knows that he needs to watch himself before making company-wide announcements like this until he gets the thumbs up from all stakeholders who would be involved in implementing this plan.

        1. Batty Twerp*

          I do sort of wonder though, if, behind the scenes, this is why some of y’all companies aren’t immediately instigating WFH. If your IT infrastructure isn’t set up to immediately handle it, they can’t just let you all remote work?
          Not every boss is a jerk in this case – they are stakeholders in a larger problem too.

      2. Kat in VA*

        We did the exact opposite. The company rolled out an initiative for mandatory rolling WFH days of two days at a time in different offices to test the capabilities, which then segued into a “We strongly encourage you to work from home through 03/31” and that railed right into “No one come into the office until 03/31 and possibly after that without permission from X, Y, Z” – one of those authorizations being the CEO of the entire company.

        The understanding is that if you need to go to the office, you’re actually going to be petitioning the CEO to do so. I don’t think anyone is doing that.

        I’m not sure if the rollout was intended to ease people into working from home or if circumstances just wound up that way, as things are changing fast on the day-to-day. Overall, it’s worked very well and at this point, all of our offices are closed, except to people who have to go in every couple of days to pick up deliveries, etc.

        1. Rebecca in Dallas*

          That’s exactly what happened with my company! I was actually impressed that they were able to get so many of us set up to work from home within just a couple of days, especially since before all of this there was basically no remote work allowed. In our case, things really did just change that quickly for our city.

    15. VT*

      I have. I’m working from home, as is most of my department, but there are about 5-6 guys who are still in the office because they can’t work from home. No big deal, you would think, because they can move their desks and easily avoid each other now that the building is a ghost town. Even the big big boss (who sent us all home) said that departments should stagger-shift people who have to come in still to limit exposure, which is easy to do for their job tasks.

      But no, nothing has changed for these guys. They still all come in at once, their desks are right next to each other and there is no mandate to do anything else. One of them was potentially exposed when they met someone off site (part of their job duties and why they can’t work from home) and they came in the next day. Came right in and sat 3 feet away from their coworkers and told them that they were potentially exposed. One guy, who is older and higher risk, just got up and left. It turned out the person tested negative and the worker should not have come in but that should have been a scenario planned for and mitigated prior to it ever happening. And in the days since, nothing has happened from management. We are currently working with our union rep to see if we can force action but golly, I am worried one of them is going to get very sick soon.

    16. Go ask a lawyer*

      I hope your company, and all others where direct contact with infected people is not a workplace necessity, has a really well-funded liability policy, because when the second employee tests positive after a confirmed first case in the company, there will be lawyers on daytime TV advertising to take their case for free to sue your company for negligence.

      And it will be an open ended check, because the overwhelming evidence to the highest level of government official notices is NOT to make your employees come to work.

    17. The Original K.*

      Yes, and for companies that I read about that aren’t allowing WFH options where possible, or that are laying off people & blocking their unemployment benefits. My boss seems to think this will all have blown over by next week.

    18. sometimes the world sucks.*

      Yup, we were holdouts until the govt forced us to go WFH (higher ed here) and in the last email before we all deployed, upper management felt the need to remind us via email that this isn’t a vacation.

      Who thinks this is a vacation, seriously. Who’s having fun? Not us.

      Really brought to light how little they must think of us and trust us. I’m in a “passion work” part of higher ed too, we’re all here because we believe in the cause. I don’t want the professors I support to flounder, why would you act like I do? I feel pretty disrespected.

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        My institution *finally* told everyone in the office to WFH, because there wasn’t much voluntary uptake. Nevermind that the winter quarter has had all its final put to online, as well as remaining instruction. They only told everyone in the office that they had to WFH after multiple counties in the SF Bay Area went to shelter in place. On the bright side, my boss’s boss said flat out that everyone had to WFH, not the mealy-mounthed stuff we were getting from top management. By that time, I’d already been WFH for a week.

    19. Herding Butterflies*

      Losing respect, yes. Our C-suite has definitely made me raise eyebrows over how they are handling things. Our offices – except in states where they are mandated to be closed – are still open with the expectation that you are at your desk. We now have extended sick time to comply with the bill passed in Congress, but if you use it, you have to make up the time later (or you can use your PTO).

      Basically, my once generous, great-place-to-work, company has turned into a bunch of curmudgeons.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        We now have extended sick time to comply with the bill passed in Congress, but if you use it, you have to make up the time later (or you can use your PTO)

        That…was not the point of that law.

    20. CheeseGirl*

      Completely. We are not allowed to work from home when we have the complete capability to, we are still having meetings in small rooms. I work IN A HOSPITAL. There has also not been any increased frequency of cleaning or sanitizing common surfaces. I honestly 100% want to look for a new job, but I am literally moving next week into a house that is closer to work…

    21. AnonAnon*

      My significant other is in this boat too. It makes me worried because he comes home to me every night. Someone in his office could have been exposed. Their “plan” is for those that share an office, come in on alternate days! No.
      They were also told if they needed to tend to family matters, they had to use PTO! Like his children are home alone most of the week now because of this. The oldest is old enough to take care of the younger one, but still.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        My corporate overlord worked out a complicated system of alternate weeks that lasted about 6 hours before someone got the concepts of transmission & quarantine through to them and WFH if you’re able was authotized.
        I’m worried about how many positions are without coverage BEFORE people start getting sick.

    22. Media Monkey*

      yes. i reckon we will lose several people to new jobs when things open back up (assuming the UK economy doesn’t entirely tank). a lot of people feeling like the company (who claim to be super caring and friendly) didn’t give a monkeys about them. we were allowed to work from home when the govt said we should and not a second before.

      1. Name (Required)*

        I agree, if the economy allows for it, I expect after this has calmed to see big personnel changes to companies based on how they react to this.

    23. Salty*

      Our C-suite loathes telework and never approves it, but they finally approved my department to work from home. Last week my supervisor told me that I had to stay in the area (instead of driving out to bunker in with my family) “because they might need to talk to us in person, and you need to be here if we have a meeting.”

      At this point I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt because last week was a bit different than everything that’s happened this week, but there’s no way in hell I’m going into the office for a meeting at this point. I was admittedly disappointed that she didn’t seem willing to push back on this at all.

    24. BRR*

      I have. We didn’t have a WFH policy before and I felt like they were dragged kicking and screaming. My manager and his manager clearly don’t trust people to get work done at home and both have professed that they don’t like working from home themselves. I feel like we’re a hop, skip, and a jump to needing our webcams on all day or having to send three reports daily.

    25. Stackson*

      Yeah, the head of my company said that we’ll follow the government’s directions on this (which means we’re only now limiting meeting size, and we’re not really encouraging social distancing).
      Our head of HR has both claimed that you can already get vaccines AND that he could make a test kit at home, if that tells you what kind of news he’s reading.

        1. Stackson*

          It is the WORST. And it means that I don’t trust him at all to provide valid information, which is not a good look for HR.

      1. A Poster Has No Name*

        Please tell me you’re making (for once) good use of the reply-all with links correcting the misinformation?

      2. Jenny F. Scientist*

        *I* could make a test kit… at work. I am a PhD biochemist. Your head of HR, I have some doubts

    26. JelloStapler*

      It’s so sad how some businesses in this country cannot seem to be flexible enough to think outside of the box. This is why the government will have to step in to force it. (Then of course people will be up in arms about that!). i am hoping after all this more companies can see WFH as a viable option and not just a “everyone will goof off” assumption.

      Our Divisional VP got push back and actually thanked us for letting him know as he changed to policy to encourage working from home instead of coming in.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        As a former insurance person, it’s mind-boggling to me how many companies around the globe clearly don’t have risk management divisions with sound business continuity plans (BCP) in place. A BCP generally covers disaster planning, and I can’t think of a bigger disaster than a global pandemic. Companies should not be scrambling to figure out remote options or cash flow problems – all of this stuff should have been written out and tested several times before shit hit the fan.

        1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

          I think a lot of regional/local companies probably have a BCP focused on the most common disasters in their area, with everything else a distant second. So, here in the PNW, I’d say that 75%-90% of the disaster planning I’ve been privy to is focused on “big earthquake” rather than “generic plan for any disaster”, with additional less catastrophic plans for “that snowstorm we get every 5 years that shuts the city down for a week”.

          This disaster is very unlike an earthquake, so everyone is trying to use their “snowstorm” plans.

          This disaster is also not a snowstorm.

          1. Diahann Carroll*

            Lordy, this just doesn’t sound all that thorough. Again, maybe this is my insurance background (specifically in property and casualty claims) coming into play here, but my old company had a BCP that covered every conceivable disaster you could think of, including pandemics (possibly because we dealt with a ton of bodily injury claims and lawsuits, so sickness was always front of mind). I guess everybody knows now….

            1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

              Well, I also work in a job pretty disconnected from disaster planning, so the level of trainings I’m used to are more the “you, personally, are on the SAR team if there’s an earthquake or, I suppose, if the building falls down for some other reason, also here’s where and how to shut off the gas” kind, rather than a meeting where you’re actually planning business-level responses for a variety of things.

        2. tortilla soup*

          We had our periodic BCP drill back in January. As the news was just starting to come out around that time, we chose to drill on how we would handle a pandemic. It was then pretty easy to switch into what was ultimately a lower-urgency version of what we had just drilled.

          1. Diahann Carroll*

            Yeah, the insurance company I used to work for did periodic drills as well. Going forward, I anticipate this will be happening at other places as standard procedure.

        3. old curmudgeon*

          That’s a lovely idea. My employer has a plan like that (they call it a COOP – Continuation Of Operations Plan), and they even did a pandemic drill. Once. A quarter-century ago. You know how useful that was for this little episode? Abso-freaking-lutely worthless.

          We are required to use secure fobs to access my employer’s networks and software. They had secure fobs on hand. About a hundred of them. For an employer with 1,600 employees. They’ve since scrounged up several hundred more (at a cost of about $45,000) but over half the workers are still required to show up in person every day. The funny thing is that this same employer experienced a major fire in the headquarters building six years ago that led to the realization that they needed enough fobs for everyone in the building to use. Mmm-hmm, still only had a hundred of them when this thing started.

          Incident Command helpfully sent out a mass email telling everyone that the highly coveted underground parking spots would be made available to those required to work onsite. Funny thing, though, they neglected to confirm with the parking manager that such a thing was even possible – which, as it happens, it is not, because all those spots are leased to people who are paying a pretty penny for them and who did not agree to have them given away to others.

          It is just such a cluster. It’s like watching a slow-motion train wreck. I’ve gone beyond anxiety and am well into fatalism and cynicism. I may survive this thing. I may not. And I have essentially zero control over which of those will happen. The one bright point is that I updated my will last year, so at least if the worst happens, that’s in place.

          1. Diahann Carroll*

            Oh dear lord, your company really fumbled the ball here. What’s the point of having a BCP if you don’t keep it up-to-date or run periodic drills?! *sigh* My little risk management loving heart dies a bit reading stuff like this – it’s so negligent.

            1. old curmudgeon*

              It’s a state government agency. Such entities are not known for their foresight. We’re just lucky they didn’t try to haul out that 25-year-old pandemic drill and try to implement it, which I hear was under discussion at one point.

    27. Amy*

      My office is at least doing moderately well. But I’ll be encouraging my fiance to find another employer when this is over – they had an employee travel to Washington, work with a known victim at their client location, fly back, and refuse to self-quarantine because they didn’t want to lose their leave. His employer was totally cool with this, and now that the employee is sick, they still refuse to even clean his cubical and everyone is still required in the office. I’m high-risk. I’m pissed.

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        *gulp* Eeeeeek! *gulp*

        That is just nasty. It will be “fun” when the coworkers or their next of kin sue that company for endangering everyone else in the office.

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          Yup – it’s time for these companies to be hit with lawsuits. Maybe then their dumbasses will follow simple instructions.

    28. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      OldJob’s owners had this position. Now that the government put local transport restrictions in place they had to gave in. They couldn’t have done it much sooner, since they’re a small IT consultant shop.

    29. Oxford Comma*

      That would be a really big yes. They knew this was coming and they did not start planning till it was too late and now we’re all scrambling.

      The communication is really lacking and continues to be lacking.

    30. Elenna*

      I’ve actually gained respect for my company’s management (especially as compared to all the stories other people are telling here). They’ve been really open and transparent the whole time (especially in the first week of March, when someone in my office complex was infected) and on Monday they recommended work from home for anyone who can do it and set up plans to increase the amount of social distancing for employees who can’t work from home. (We’re a bank, so there are definitely a lot of people who really can’t work from home). They also shut down some branches a couple days ago.
      Just to reassure y’all that there are companies taking it seriously out there!

    31. Lizzy May*

      I absolutely have. Work From Home is not possible for many, many people where I work (a national bank) but for the people who can, they should be working from home. Problem is my company never did any prep to make that possible so it’s a scramble now to try to get it set up. More importantly though, my direct manager has only communicated on this if one of us prompts him. A laptop arrived for me earlier in the week. My manager had never talked to me about wfm. A coworker doesn’t have internet access at home; manager didn’t ask and was surprised on Tuesday to find that out. People are stressed and confused. Just talk to us. It’s okay not to know everything or for things to change but at least talk to us.

    32. Chris*

      My boss is not the most decisive of individuals, so in our case it was basically staff members declaring that we would be working from home for the duration of the emegency (he agreed). We also managed to persuade him that our board and committee meetings needed to be moved online for the forseeable future.

      Honestly, while his response was not great, a lot of this was already “priced in” my assessment already. Nice fellow, but not necessarily a great fit for a leadership position.

    33. Jules the 3rd*

      I am again reminded that I really want to keep working for my employer. They did a US national ‘wfh if you can’ last Tuesday for us and our suppliers, and they mean it. I know a lot of my coworkers in MX are still going in to the office, but they usually have bad wifi connections at home. I haven’t check the European team, but that’s because I’m assuming they’re wfh already.

      1. BookishMiss*

        Yep, mine did a mandatory wfh stress test day Tuesday and mandated wfh by that afternoon. Prior to that it was if you can wfh, go to. They’re also activating benefits for new hires early, and otherwise doing what they should.

        Then again, health insurance company. They would be the ones to have plans in place.

          1. Jules the 3rd*

            oh yeah. with you there. My company’s cash-poor at the moment due to a big acquisition last year, and my area’s not core competency. I’m worried.

    34. Nina*

      This has been my biggest hurdle. I am front desk at a nonessential business and had to have 2 very frank discussions with management about why we should close down. And they said it was just personal opinion, and whoever felt unsafe could stay home (which I decided to do). For context we are in LA, in a boutique health facility and interact with the elderly and immunocompromised. I strongly object morally and ethically to them being open, even though I am able to stay home. I am going to find a new job as soon as I can but obviously that’s not my first priority right now.
      I’ve lost complete respect for them as people and leaders. They are putting the public at risk. We are supposed to help people get healthy and are still risking their lives. It’s profoundly disappointing tbh.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        God, I wish ours were. We were told that “for security reasons” they are not, so they all get to lose their jobs.

    35. Certified Scorpion Trainer*

      i’m pretty butthurt that for some reason i can’t WFH like every single other person in my department can and has been doing! apparently working front desk for a place that is pretty much closed down is so essential that i can’t not stay home like my colleagues.
      not only that, but they’ve instructed me to call people to COME IN next week to do consults with our dietitian. this is definitely stuff that can wait, it’s nothing life-threatening, it’s really just…consults that tell you to reconsider eating that Twinkie.

    36. Ariana Grande's Ponytail*

      Absolutely. We went from being told condescendingly that if we were anxious, then we would need to take PTO or sick time to deal with that, but otherwise we needed to be in, to finally closing when the university closed down and my bosses sending out an email making it clear that they wanted to close our office “despite the university not saying so” — they’re taking credit for something that wasn’t even up to them! The lack of caring about employees really shows, and the failure to respect people who have reasonable concerns about riding public transit or infecting family members has been really shocking for me, although it probably shouldn’t. I also felt my supervisors really showed themselves for who they are when they told me I couldn’t work from home because nobody else could work from home (due to the nature of their jobs), and they wouldn’t want to deal with explaining that to people. This whole situation has been astonishing.

    37. CODevMgr*

      I have a lot of respect for my management chain because they are acting like human beings with souls and consciences.

      My spouse’s work may not even close if someone there gets sick – their HQ is in LA and very much eff the employees.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        I have a lot of respect for my management chain because they are acting like human beings with souls and consciences.

        Same. My manager told me to let him know if I need anything, he’ll even send me boxes of food if I need it. I told him I may take him up on that in a week or two (I’m pretty set for groceries, thankfully, and can ration the rest of what I have to make it stretch for approx. a month)!

    38. Pobody’s Nerfect*

      Completely and totally. If and when we limp out of this crisis on the other side, I’m starting the new job search in earnest. I cannot fathom sticking around to work for bosses who have such blatant disregard and disrespect for human lives.

    39. Caligirl*

      Defense contractor here. Not my company management, thankfully, but our client. 80% of the other offices here are at 100% telework and my office has been doing half staff this week (some of us at work on odd number days, some on even number days). Finally today (Thursday), we got word that starting next week we can go to ‘maximum’ telework. For the first time in my career, I’m happy to be considered non-essential!

      1. GeneralK*

        I work for a provincial government in Canada. Some of us are working from home; others are not. We’re non-essential and fully remote capable. There are even articles in the paper shaming our employer, but still no clear direction. And we have confirmed community transmission here and are in a state of emergency . Nobody who doesn’t need to be at work should be out right now.

    40. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Yes. My management has caught on, very slowly, but the way they did it made it pretty clear they didn’t care about their employees. Not really. Also, my immediate mgmt made it EXTREMELY clear that they didn’t trust people to actually work while working from home. Never mind that we’re all experienced professionals, have done occasional work from home, and have shown that we can get our work done.

      I’m job searching. It’ll take a while I’m sure, but I was unhappy before and I really can’t work long term for people who don’t trust me.

    41. tamarack and fireweed*

      Maybe for some positive examples!

      My employer is a US public university in a financially precarious situation. Unlike with the team in place when I first joined as a staff member a few years ago, I’m very happy with out chancellor and provost’s handling of this. As a researcher (now) of course I already enjoy a fair amount of autonomy over how to arrange my workday. (Though don’t envy us too much – there’s peer pressure, which can be quite toxic if you depend on peer evaluations. I still think most people should be given a lot more autonomy than they are.) I also received email about our business office, HR, institute director’s office, libraries, building operations, grants administration and pre-award proposal offices all largely switching to WFH, with point persons, sometimes rotating single-employees in the office / a system of appointments for inevitable in-person tasks (involving objects like access cards, keys, books, mail). Instructional faculty and some students are currently hardest hit, of course, but at least management doesn’t seem to be creating extra hardships.

      My partner works for a software company that has a large remote contingent (including my partner) as they always were into “we hire the right person independently of their location”. But they also have a bunch of offices and data centers. They closed their offices and switched to 100% remote work back a month ago. The hourly employees are keeping their salary. Their CEO keeps urging people to take time off (they have one of those “unlimited” arrangements for engineers, which often means people aren’t taking enough vacations – my partner hardly took 2 weeks last year, and I’ve been pushing for change) and also gave everyone who needs to make arrangements for being able to hunker down for a month Monday off – asking the others to take up the slack, and then take their own extra day off within the next two weeks. They’re certainly trying to do it all right, which is facilitated by the fact that their business is good (they aren’t Zoom, but they are a company whose services are going to be in greater demand because of the crisis).

    42. Fleezy*

      I work in a healthcare related field (one location of several for a corporation), and we’ve shut down for at least 2 weeks.. except for office managers. We’re the only ones classified as salaried exempt, and they’re requiring us to come in every day even though there’s really nothing for us to do. Corporate has sent out emails implying, but not stating, that we’ll only get paid for how many hours we work. I’ve been privately messaging other managers about the legality of that, but not on the big group chats because I’m concerned about retaliation. I’d look for another job, but my commute is less than 10 mins in an area known for crazy traffic, and that alone is making it worth dealing with the shadiness.

    43. Annie Nymous*

      Came here to ask this very question and yes.
      Our current boss is total head-in-the-sand/It’s-just-the-flu… and we are less than five miles from the retirement home that kicked off this whole dumpster fire.

      1. Annie Nymous*

        Oh, to add: I’d already started looking a few months back, but I am kicking it into high gear once this settles down a little more.

    44. Kate H*

      10,000%. I didn’t have much respect for management to begin with but how they’ve been handling this is a whole new level of incompetence. There’s been ZERO communication from upper management. If we have questions, we can email or go to our GM’s office, but the answers are private. If you include anyone else in the email chain, he’ll remove them and respond directly. My entire department (our work is conducted 100% online) has been told we’re not allowed to work from home, even though every employee who works remotely for corporate is now working from home–including one guy my boss watched move his entire desk set-up into his car.

    45. Jake*

      I’ve actually gained respect. My company today just went to mandatory work from home for a bunch of us even though it is going to significantly impact our productivity, as working from home is not something most of us can effectively do.

      We have a daily meeting with a group of us from the company where we plan for what is coming and react to the latest news. It’s much better than my wife’s boss who is a surgeon. The hospital cancelled all of his non-life essential surgeries, and his reaction was to scream about how a common cold shouldn’t cost him money.

    46. MatKnifeNinja*

      I will be looking for a new job. It’s been confirmed by my boss’s actions, he’s stone cold crazy with a veneer of normal.

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Take a walk before or after your usual lunch time – and no electronics. Look for new growth sprouting up, listen to the birds, etc.

      1. Mel_05*

        Yes, I’m taking my dog on long walks when I can (it’s rainy and cold here most of the time)

      2. Just J.*

        Seconding this. I am in the Northeast. It’s gradually warming up. The goldfinches are migrating and I saw my first robin last week. I walk around my yard and look at and look for all the new stuff budding up. It is very restorative.

      3. Laney Boggs*

        I’m working from home for the first time ever and I went for a long walk after my shift yesterday. And I’m as-I-type taking a short one on my lunch break. I think itll help get out of work mode. And my gym is closed right now anyway…

      4. many bells down*

        I did this yesterday and the park was PACKED with people so I got anxious and went home. Really, Karen, do your kids NEED to be in soccer practice right now?

    2. Anon-mama*

      We’re about to do *optional* yoga together! And have been great about playing good tunes while we work.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      – I walk. I have a dog, so that helps, but I am staying out as long as he wants in the mornings and making sure I take a good 20-minute afternoon stroll with him.
      – Now that my partner is also WFH, we walk together in the afternoon. It’s tempting to say I want to go alone, but honestly it’s better for us to have that time to talk.
      – Sleep stories at night. I have a sleep disorder that I thought I had conquered, but it’s anxiety-driven and back in full force. Trying to get enough sleep is a big issue for me right now.
      – I’m starting to make time to talk to people, even if I text them 1000 times/day.
      – I stretch every morning.
      – I get up at the end of my workday, shut down my computer and don’t touch it again until the next morning.

    4. Veronica Mars*

      One thing that proved NOT to work for me was to do “stress reduction activities” like yoga, coloring, etc. Because the entire time I’m thinking “oh, I’m doing this thing because the world is stressful right now” and then my mind wanders down the path.

      What HAS worked for me is listening to (not health related) podcasts and educational books while coloring, cooking, going on walks. The podcasts consume my brain energy and channel it into positive things.

      Also, doing YouTube workout videos outside, even though that’s meant bundling up a bit, is a nice way to escape the house.

      1. Holy Moley*

        I second podcasts. They have helped take my mind off of things. Also Ive enjoyed the youtube workout videos especially the walking inside ones. Sounds dumb but they are fun :)

      2. 404UsernameNotFound*

        Podcasts are the greatest, especially if they’re funny. I’m currently addicted to the Avid Indoorsmen podcast, especially their latest episode (it’s about films, and that one was a discussion on Monty Python guest starring a couple of Rob’s band members).

      3. Eleaner*

        I highly recommend The Good Place The Podcast hosted by Marc Evan Jackson. It is one of the most joyful things to listen to coworkers be genuinely interested in the skill and creativity of each other’s work. Its just really nice to see 3 or 4 people from different departments learn about the work that went into their shared project and appreciate how much skill it took.

    5. Christine*

      My weighted blanket has become invaluable for dealing with anxiety! I’m also watching a lot of chill videos on YouTube. Baumgartner Restoration is a particular favorite–they’re videos of an art conservator talking through the process of restoring old paintings. He’s got a great voice, the process is fascinating, and it’s incredibly satisfying to see the before and after comparison at the end. (There’s one video where he restores a centuries-old painting that came to him in four separate pieces. It’s amazing.)

      1. noahwynn*

        His videos are seriously the best. Something I never thought I would have an interest in, but it is fascinating to watch him work and see how he restores the paintings with such care.

      2. Prismatic Professional*

        OMG thank you so much for this! I love it! He has a great voice and and the process is fascinating just as you said.

      3. Jaid*

        It’s always nice to watch competent people be competent…with a classical music background.

    6. merp*

      Spotify all day when I don’t have to be answering phones. Today’s it’s James Taylor :)

      Also, everyone, take your breaks!

    7. JR_JR*

      I’ve been doing a daily stretch-a-long with a dancer I follow on Instagram. He’s Conor McKenzie if anyone else is interested.

    8. Detective Right-All-The-Time*

      Check out the social media of some of your favorite bands – odds are good they’ve done some free live performances from their living rooms!

      Schedule a “coffee date” with a friend, and facetime each other to chat and catch up

      Select one or two news sources and be really intentional about when you check them. My friend chose 3 – 2 local and 1 national, and only checks in the mid-morning and immediately after work. No other news throughout the day.

      Know that it’s okay to not be okay. This is all very scary and unprecedented, and it’s okay to not “make the most of this” and start a new hobby or be super productive or start a side-gig. Give yourself permission to just be freaked out sometimes.

      As everyone else said – go outside! Keep your distance from people, but enjoy the outdoors, find pretty flowers and new growth to revel in.

      1. Silly Janet*

        Yes, things like that are great! Yesterday evening I heard one of my favorite authors, Rebecca Solnit, tell a fairytale live on Facebook. It was so nice.

        1. NW Mossy*

          Speaking of favorite authors, kids might get a kick out of Mo Willems (the author of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, among others) livestreaming lessons on how to doodle! My local children’s museum was promoting it as a “we’re closed but check this out” activity.

    9. AndersonDarling*

      Steam has a lot of free game demos now. I’ve been downloading anything that looks pretty or relaxing.

      1. AndersonDarling*

        I will sometimes take bubble baths, or workout. An hour is a really long time when you are at home.

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          Yeah, I do my high intensity yoga workouts for about 30 minutes during lunch so I can keep my evenings free.

    10. EddieSherbert*

      My partner and I setup a “virtual game night” with our siblings! We bought some Jackbox games online (they have a great sale right now, haha) and will be using Zoom to share our screens/videochat.

    11. The Original K.*

      I’ve been keeping up my workouts as best I can (free ones online, runs, etc.). And honestly, watching funny animal videos helps calm me down. I watched that one of penguins wandering around the aquarium like 65 times.

      1. AndersonDarling*

        I’ve been watching Capybara videos. I wish capybaras were wild in my neighborhood, like rabbits or squirrels.

    12. Josephine Beth NotAmy*

      My family and I are scheduling virtual cocktail hour, using Netflix Group, and just trying to stay connected. We are all very close and used to being together for family dinners, etc., so this is hard :(

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        I like the virtual cocktail hour idea! So stealing this to do with my own family.

    13. fposte*

      I have a daily phone call with a colleague that will soon expand to a daily Zoom, I think. FaceTime lunch, like a regular lunch but you’re FaceTiming. I like going for a walk and doing some yoga but also exercise like treadmill or a workout program that burns the adrenaline a bit (the You Are Your Own Gym exercises can be helpful there).

      Today is finally less preparation and more regular work, which is less stressful than the previous days; hope that continues true.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        If you like doing yoga and high intensity exercises to get your adrenaline going, check out Julia Marie’s 30 Day Yoga for Weight Loss series on Amazon Prime (it’s free for subscribers). These videos kick my behind up and down my little apartment and it really works – I’m on my second go round with these videos, and I’m way stronger now than I was when I started (and I was in pretty decent shape before).

    14. Pretzelgirl*

      Have a virtual dinner party or game night with friends. Saturday we are face timing and playing some sort of game.

      My husband and I are going to come up with a list of household things we have been putting off, to keep us occupied.

    15. KayDeeAye*

      I’ve been taking the occasional break to cook. Even before now, I cooked dinners most nights (I love cooking and find it relaxing most days), but now that I’m working from home, I can do things like look at the clock, note that it’s 3:30 or 4, and say to myself, “I can get that chili started” or “Ooh, twice-baked potatoes will be nice with those chops – I’ll do the initial baking now.

      This gives us better (or more complete) meals served a little earlier in the evening, and gives me a nice little break.

      I’m looking forward to taking short walks at lunchtime, too. I haven’t done that because I was just too frakkin’ busy my first WFH day (Tuesday) and it’s been raining a lot since then. But I think it will be great once the weather clears.

    16. work life balance in my pjs*

      Watching gardening videos on youtube. I can’t go outside but at least I can look at it!

    17. Name*

      I’m trying to go easier on myself. I normally work afternoons from home after picking my middle-schooler up from school, and I typically feel paranoid about being hyper-responsive and productive, etc. My son is actually doing great at self-directed remote learning; he finishes his school work in about 3 hours each day. Him being home while I work is really no more distracting than normal office coworker interruptions. So that said, I’m trying to build in more breaks during the day. I took an hour for lunch and cooked a frozen pizza. Today I’ll make quesadillas for the two of us. I sat on my porch for about 10 mins yesterday to get some sunshine.

      I’ve decided to do a home workout daily. When it stops snowing (whyyyyy???) I plan to walk around a lake by my house each day. I’ve started doing Yoga with Adriene on YouTube.

    18. Amy Sly*

      I’m a big believer in craft therapy. My current project is a diamond painting of Van Gogh’s Iris. Diamond painting is similar to mosaics; you stick little plastic half beads onto a printed fabric covered with a layer of glue. Very dull, very repetitive, but requires you to focus on what you’re doing. I also crochet and use coloring books. Pair with an audiobook or a very dialog heavy show (e.g. 6 hour Pride and Prejudice or 6.5 hour Jane Eyre BBC miniseries) for way to escape. And when you’re done, or just take a break, you can see something you’ve accomplished.

      Along similar lines, housecleaning. It’s also monotonous, repetitive, gets you needed physical activity, and a tidy living space has actually been shown to reduce cortisol levels and other physical indicia of stress.

      And while this might not be broadly applicable, World of Warcraft. You get to kill things and work in groups with other people to get some needed socialization.

      1. Newbie Diamond Painter*

        Going to start diamond painting next week. Hope I like it, since it seems like it would pass the time.

    19. Jules the 3rd*

      Building a spreadsheet of resources – educational lists, local aid, reliable data sources

    20. Vancouver*

      Get a desk plant. Even just seeing plants can reduce stress levels, and caring for them has been shown to have an even greater impact.

      If you’re not a plant person, see if your grocery store has some cheap plants or seed packets on sale next time you go out to get food. Pretty much any small potted plants they sell will do fine on your desk for a few weeks at least, and the seed packets will have detailed instructions (I recommend alyssum, as it’s super resilient and hard to mess up)

        1. JustaTech*

          I’m debating between asking the folks who are still going in to change the water in my Japanese moss ball, or going in over the weekend to grab it.

    21. Stephanie*

      I’ve been baking, a lot. I made an English muffin toasting bread and some homemade hamburger buns yesterday. I panic stocked flour, butter and sugar so that I we wouldn’t run out of bread. I might make something sweet today.

      I’m also working on getting the house back in order. We had a bathroom added to our basement, and they finished in the nick of time Monday evening. Now I need to get everything cleaned up in the rest of the basement so that we can actually use the space. It’s nicely finished, and with the addition of the bathroom, it gives us another place to go. The house feels pretty small with two young adults (both college aged) suddenly here all day every day. We moved in September, from a much larger house, because both kids were away at college and we were tired of taking care of a big house. We picked an interesting time to downsize! My son wants to paint his room, and we’ve got the supplies, so that’s on my list.

      I’m also thinking about reorganizing my linen closet and tackling a couple of cabinets that need some help. I always find organizing to be relaxing and satisfying.

    22. Delta Delta*

      Exercise! I’m training for a half marathon that may or may not happen in May. But I have to be ready in case it still goes forth. I also discovered the Peloton app is free for a month and you don’t even need the bike. There are several workouts – stretching, strength, yoga, cross training, running, etc. Each is between 10-45 minutes. They’re really good and positive, and now every part of me hurts.

      1. Fake Eleanor*

        I’m now freaking out over the penguin cam so thank you for this recommendation! :)

        1. Misty*

          Oh yay! I was hoping someone would start watching with me! I’ve been watching the animals on and off all day while working on papers.

          1. Fake Eleanor*

            They’re in the background now while I work on my files! I might go crazy and switch to giraffes.

        2. Eleaner*

          The Cincinnati Zoo Instagram also has new animal walk pictures or video every morning. This morning the alpacas and a llama got to go around!!

          Also, since we seem to be the same person I recommend listening to the Good Place the Podcast hosted by Marc Evan Jackson. :)

    23. Punkrock Barbie*

      I have resolved to dress up for work and also for the times when I have to go out. Dressing up in my case means I can finally get more wear out of all my Rockabilly outfits and some of the more punk things I normally reserved for going to shows.

    24. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I started “biking to work” this morning. Half hour on the exercise bike before logging in.
      And I’m messing around with plants on my breaks.

    25. OlympiasEpiriot*

      (1) Before I start work every morning, I send out a bunch of texts to friends just saying good morning and something silly or relatively trivial about the day. Today was a note about the spring equinox. I just want to know that I’m reaching out to friends and acquaintences. I keep it on text so it waits politely for the person to want to deal…which a phone call wouldn’t necessarily.

      (2) I’m also making good food. Making a point of it. Kiddo calls it “stress cooking”, but, I think it is important to enjoy the food at this time. Tonight was sauerbraten with egg noodles, gravy, horseradish, and a red cabbage/carrot slaw on mustard greens.

      (3) Staying off Twitter and the web except for specific, limited periods.

      (4) A walk every day, even if it is short. I am a member of a community garden two blocks away and we do composting. So, I take my compost (even if there is hardly any) out every day. I get at least downstairs and a 4 block walk in even if nothing more. Daylight!!

  4. Forwhy*

    Patiently waiting for my office to do something besides put out a travel policy. We have incredibly limited PTO and I’m afraid that if the government shuts us down they’re going to force us to use that and then take unpaid time, and then ask for overtime (unpaid because most of us are exempt) to make up for the lost business. Armageddon is fun!

    1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      I’m mostly just worrying about the abandoned food items in offices that have shut down …

      1. WellRed*

        One of the last things I did was toss the food in the fridge. Most everyone was already gone.

    2. Caleb*


      Does your company has 500 employees or less? If it does, a bill that President Trump just signed (that will go into effect on April 2) may cover you. It allows for 2 weeks of paid leave for quarantine/self-isolation and even makes paid provisions for family leave that go longer than those 2 weeks.

      If that doesn’t apply to you, I know that state legislatures all over the country are expanding unemployment insurance–waiving requirements such as the 1 week waiting period, the looking for work requirement, changing the definition of being laid off–all to address this crisis. It would be worth checking to see what accommodations your state is making right now.

      Good Luck!

  5. Pregnantandworried*

    Any other pregnant readers? Is your anxiety heightened and are you having more difficulty focusing while working from home? Any tips to stop obsessively checking for updates?

      1. MsSolo*

        Also UK, 27 weeks. generally low risk, but annoyed I’ve currently got a cold (it’s all in the nose, so I’m pretty confident that’s what it is!) which may keep me from my next midwife appointment. Have you seen the advice around what to do if you think you have it while you go into labour? I’d rather be close now, before things get too overwhelmed, but it looks like I’m on target for the peak (if we do manage to flatten it).

        1. Teyra*

          As far as I’m aware having a nose-only cold (no cough, no temperature) doesn’t mean you can’t leave the house in the UK. Self-isolating in general, obviously important, but the cold itself shouldn’t stop you from visiting a midwife. Unless the rules are different for pregnant people/midwife appointments.

          1. MsSolo*

            I’m happy enough popping to the shops etc, but I got a text from one of my upcoming appointments (which helpfully didn’t identify which one! Therapy? Physio? Midwife? Eye clinic?), which specifically asked for people with colds to stay away, as well as coughs and flu. I suspect it might have been my therapy appointment, because their two other main clinics are babies and elderly people with diabetes, but I’m really hoping I’m not sniffling by monday so I don’t get looked at askance at the GP’s, in case it was them.

      2. Marzipan*

        Also UK, 37 weeks tomorrow. Tomorrow is also my last day of work before maternity leave, which I’m really rather pleased about at this point because I loathe working from home. I can’t say I’ve got much done in the last couple of days – the working from home was hastily imposed on me on Tuesday after the government announcements on Monday night, and I had to insist on going in anyway on Tuesday morning to clear my desk!

        I can’t really focus at all, to be honest, but it’s hard to say how much of that is coronavirus-procrastination (which is absolutely the sort of thing I’d be prone to at the best of times) and how much just pregnancy knackeredness.

    1. UKGal*

      The Royal College of Midwives are doing a Q&A on Twitter at 4.30pm GMT (about an hour and 20 minutes from now!). Follow them on @MidwivesRCM

    2. Copenhagen*

      My biggest concern have been that I would become sick and have to miss any pregnancy-related doctors visits. And then I became sick well in time to become well again before my next appointment, so I guess that went better than expected… I’ve started feeling the baby move since I became sick (it’s that time of the pregnancy, so it’s completely as it should be), and so far I have no cause to think anything than that it’s all well and good, and that all this does is give an immunity boost to the baby, which will hopefully keep it well and COVID-free the first couple of months after birth.

      It’s stressful, but personally it hasn’t been as bad as I feared, though, of course it differs a lot how sick people become.

    3. EBStarr*

      Hi!! I’m pregnant too, 18 weeks. You’re not alone — I’m highly anxious right now, it’s a very vulnerable position to be in. If it helps, from what I can tell there’s no solid evidence that the virus itself is extra dangerous for us and some evidence suggesting that it can’t be passed to the fetus. My anxieties are mainly about the baby’s future, and specifically about the birth. I was planning to show up at the hospital and let the epidural do the rest!

      I am more or less useless at work right now — luckily my employer is really understanding. The two tips I have are a) if you can afford it, a Talkspace membership or some other online therapy just to have somewhere to express these feelings; and b) set little goals for how long you will go without looking at the news, and increase them day by day. Yesterday I made it an hour and a half in the morning before giving up and going back to attempt a single-handed DDOSing of with my refresh button!! Whee.

      Oh, and one more tip: allow yourself to ask for and accept lots of support from your partner if you have one, your family and your friends. Even pregnant, I think many women are used to doing a lot of emotional labor for others. It’s time to let them do emotional labor for you!

      I hope you feel better soon. And I know this is fraught, but congratulations!

    4. Holy Moley*

      This may or may not be helpful but at the hospital today I noticed they were giving pregnant women priority everywhere. They got moved to the front of the line at the lab and pharmacy. And they made sure they were able to stay safe distances from other patients.

    5. Rey*

      I’m only 28 weeks right now, so I’m trying not to think about it too much because I think things could still change between now and when I actually go into labor.

      I used a local fertility clinic (IUI) and I’m still on their email list so I got their update yesterday that they are pausing all procedures at the moment unless its urgent. I’m sure they’re doing their best to make informed decisions, but it feels like an absolutely heartbreaking decision.

    6. Betty*

      Yes– I’m 37 weeks, and have been all over the place in anxiety levels. My doctor had already had me planning to start WFH Monday before all of this, so that’s good at least. I’m reassured that my hospital is cancelling anything elective to conserve PPE, so running out before I deliver is unlikely. They’ve also closed to all visitors, other than to a partner/support person for maternity– so our parents won’t be able to meet the baby in the hospital, and it’s not super clear what will make sense/be safe afterwards, which really really bums me out. I’m reassured that the evidence seems that it’s not passed via placenta or breastmilk, but concerned about the ACOG recommendation that if mom is sick, the baby may need to be separated– so I’ve been fairly paranoid about trying to avoid getting sick (made my husband bring his own pen to sign a receipt when he got takeout, e.g.) So, yeah. Pandemic Pregnancy is not awesome, and I think it’s more important than ever to focus on taking care of yourself. (Another site recommended free-with-Prime prenatal yoga videos:

      1. Ugh*

        38 weeks and 1 day with my induction scheduled next week. The no visitors thing was expected and while disappointing totally understandable.

        I’m nervous that my spouse won’t be able to be by my side. If she shows symptoms, she won’t be allowed in and I’ll be giving birth by myself. The thought terrifies me and I can’t breathe when I think about it. I can do anything if we’re together but I don’t want to have this baby by myself.

    7. LegallyRed*

      I’m 11 weeks, and not particularly worried. I’ve actually been on FMLA since the end of February because I have severe hyperemesis garvidarum, so I haven’t had contact with anyone except my husband, kids, and home health care nurses for a while. My main fear has been my husband contracting it and then neither one of us being able to take care of each other or the kids. I suppose I am also worried about getting a high fever while still in the first trimester, but in a couple of weeks that will be less of a concern.

      My job has gone to WFH so when I’m feeling better I can still social distance. My husband’s school and job have gone to WFH. My kids’ schools are closed through the end of the month (though I’m expecting that to be extended). We’re not doing any play dates or anything for the kids for the foreseeable future, and they aren’t going out in public. My husband is still running errands for us but he takes the proper precautions. That’s about all we can do.

    8. Little Beans*

      I’m 31 weeks with my first, and mostly anxious about possibly having to miss check-up appointments. I’m also in a shelter-in-place county, so treating this as a little preview of maternity leave when I probably won’t leave the house much anyway! I’m very much hoping those restrictions have eased up at least a little by end of May though, as I would be really sad if my family couldn’t visit us after the baby comes.

      Haven’t found it affecting work. If anything, I’m enjoying working from home, not having a commute and being able to stay in comfy pants all day!

    9. MsSolo*

      I’m 27 weeks, so if we do manage to flatten the curve here in the UK I’ll be going into labour around the peak anyway. Fingers crossed I don’t need anything drastic! Glad I didn’t have my heart set on anything like a water birth, but a bit concerned that anesthetists are all going to be busy, so no epidurals. It also means all the expectant parent stuff, like NCT and hospital tours and physio and so on, is getting cancelled or going online only, which is a shame.

      I know we’re still quite a way out from my due date, but my sister had to have hers at 32 weeks because of pre-eclampsia, so I would like to be as prepared as possible by then to avoid being caught by surprise and I’m a bit worried about getting everything prepped at home – we’ve got most of the stuff we need for getting on with DIY but there’s a lot of other bits that really need tradesmen, and we have very little by way of baby furniture. I panic-bought a cot last week, and got my fingers crossed that my sister will be able to come up from the other end of the country as planned to donate her old bits (including some reusable nappies, because it looks like we’re going to need those!)

      On a purely selfish level, I’m disappointed that so many of the things I was hoping to do before the baby came – plays I wanted to see, restaurants I wanted to go to, days out we wanted to take – are going to be off limits, and even if all of the businesses survive I won’t be able to do those things by the time things are back to normal, because we don’t have anyone locally to babysit (and we won’t meet anyone, because all of the expectant parent groups are shut!) and most of them aren’t child appropriate. I’d love to be buying gift vouchers and booking future showings to support local businesses, but we just won’t be able to use them, and we don’t have enough money to spare for that.

      1. KaciHall*

        I would say check to see if there’s a local Reddit or Facebook group you can join for local parents – and of there not, maybe start one! Lots of people will have plenty of screen time so you should be able to ‘meet’ new people even in quarantine.

    10. Jem One*

      I’m 21 weeks, and my partner and I both work in hospitality.

      I was let go yesterday due to COVID (marketing and comms, so not necessary to keep the restaurants running) and I think I’m going struggle to find another job before my maternity leave starts. My partner is being kept on (for now) but they’re asking all salaried staff to take a 25% pay cut. That, combined with not getting tips (which are really good where he works) means his overall pay will be 40-50% down. Combined with my job loss, our total household income is about a third of what it was this time last week. Very stressed and anxious about our finances right now and worried about how the healthcare system is going to cope during the next few months.

      1. TheLineIsADotToYou*

        Oh I’m sorry Jem. I went into my pregnancy without solid job prospects and it’s truly terrifying. The only bright spot I could see was that I might have childcare figured out, even though I’d never wanted to be a SAHM.
        I’m 16 weeks and hoping that most of the craziness has passed by our time to deliver.
        Where are you located? I’ll see if I have any connections for you!

        1. Jem One*

          Thank you! I’m in the UK, in the South West. We will be OK (I hope) mainly because if stuff really gets hard, his mum has a granny flat that we can live in rent-free – a lot of people won’t have that option. And we have a lot of friends in a similar, or worse, boat, so we’re all commiserating together.

          I was freelance before I got this job, so I’m going to see if I can pick up any work in the meantime, but it’s tricky because no one wants to spend any money right now, everyone is so uncertain what the next few months holds.

    11. Pontoon Pirate*

      I’m 30 weeks pregnant with a high-risk pregnancy, and was already dealing with some unexpected but hard-hitting prenatal anxiety and depression before all of this. I don’t want to let my team down so I’m struggling through, but I know my productivity isn’t where it needs to be. We’re in the midst of huge change at my place of work unrelated to this pandemic, so it is all hands on deck, all the time even in this strange state of affairs. My manager, who I usually really like working for, is always a super-on, super-productive person who does not have, or want, children, so I feel really hesitant to admit any of this to them. I’m taking it day by day and trying not to stress too much at any given moment. We’re all on enforced WFH so being able to “hide” has been a blessing and a curse.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        Please tell your manager how you’re feeling – she may be able to help in some way. Of course, if your manager isn’t a good person, disregard.

    12. The German Chick*

      I am 39 weeks pregnant and not particularly worried for myself, rather for the midwives. How will they protect themselves from the virus? When they will eventually get it, how will they ensure proper staffing? I am happy to report back after I’ve given birth on what they said about it.

    13. AnotherSarah*

      Yes! I’m 19 weeks. Feeling anxious, still going to my next midwife appointment. V anxious about money (partner and I are both still getting paid, though). This is my shortlist of how I’m coping and trying to focus:
      1) lots of walks, especially with my dog
      2) 1-2 news check-ins per day
      3) proceeding as if everything will be fine by my due date, but starting to think about what alternative options I might look in to (w guidance from my midwife and nurse)
      4) reading Emily Oster’s newsletter, which has a lot of good analysis of data

    14. sickathome*

      I’m 9 weeks, with a 17 month-old toddler in the house. He’s sick, possibly with COVID (but we don’t know for sure cause it’s so hard to get tested!) and I’m worried about picking up whatever he has. He’s had a fever for 5 days now and is very koala-clingy and sometimes coughs in my face! I think I’m at high risk because studies have shown that if a pregnant woman in her 1st trimester has a fever it could inhibit the growth/development of a fetus.

      It’s also just a very lonely time to be 1st trimester pregnant: We haven’t told a lot of people yet, I’m nauseous all day (which I guess is the best time to be WFH), and am pretty much stuck in the house with by husband and sick son. I’ve had to weigh the risks of sending him to grandparents’ houses (they are over 60) against getting some rest for myself. Both me and my husband are working from home but my son can be more clingy to me than his dad.

      Because of COVID I can’t bring my feverish son to a regular pediatrician’s clinic. My only option is to bring him to a COVID testing center and be evaluated there, but I am reluctant to bring him in and expose myself/my son/my husband to other people who are also getting tested for COVID.

      I live in Quebec, Canada and all schools and daycares are mandatorily closed for 2 weeks (and possibly indefinitely after that!) I’ve been asked to work from home, which my office job allows for, but have still needed to take Vacation and Sick time off to care for my son, who wold have been a handful even if he was fully well. I can only qualify to take Short Term Disability if I get a positive COVID diagnosis for my son.

      I’m supposed to have my first routine ultrasound in 2 weeks and have no idea if they’ll cancel on me. Overall it’s been a stressful and trying time.

      1. Natalie*

        Just to ease your mind a bit if you do get sick – fever or otherwise elevated body temperature in pregnancy is concerning mainly when it’s a high fever, 39C/102F. So if the worst happens and you do get sick, get in touch with your care providers right away and get whatever fever reducing meds and other treatments are needed/safe/effective. (Despite the tylenol obsession NSAIDs seem to be largely safe until the third trimester as well, if they work better for you than Tylenol.)

        1. circuit*

          NSAIDs have been linked to making COVID cases much more severe, btw, so stay off ibuprofen and similar things if you’re concerned about exposure. tylenol is ok!

      2. nonegiven*

        Check for drive through testing. I’ve heard a couple of mentions of that. You stay in the car for intake, nursing, testing, and even the doctor visit if they decide you need one.

    15. Hedgehug*

      Yes, I’m 18 weeks pregnant and I’m stressed. Not *super* stressed, but I definitely have anxiety over this and being forced to come to work everyday. My family continually checks in to “make sure I’m being safe” and it’s driving me up the wall. I don’t need to be reminded that I’m pregnant. My stomach does that for me! My right hand has broke out in a rash from the anxiety that I’m trying to suppress (or the constant hand-washing, or both!). A lot of the places in my city are shut down and it’s practically a ghost town when I’m out, but I still have to work everyday, and I am not NOT essential. I’m allowed to keep our office locked which at least makes me feel better because it gives me some feeling of control, but I would still rather be home with pay rather than sitting here being paid to babysit a phone and email and just “catch up on work”.

      1. Hedgehug*

        I didn’t mean to have a double negative. I am NOT essential. It’s not important for me to be here.

    16. Jberry*

      25 weeks. 42 yo, but pregnancy is routine and not high risk so far. Office just implemented mandatory telework. I haven’t accomplished much on the work front, though my job is more of an advisor, so I respond to complex questions that arrive with no regular schedule.

      I’ve taken to describing my state of mind by referencing the Terminator and my role as Sarah Conner. :)

      1. MsSolo*

        I had to fill in something today that asked me about my thoughts on the pregnancy, and I was very tempted to put “feel like I’m about to give birth to the heroine of a YA post-apocalyptic fantasy novel”. Maybe now’s a good time to brush up on skills to teach our future protagonist offspring!

        1. Jerm*

          Hmmm. What would be important skills yo have? Taking apart and putting back together weapons, time travel, crisis management and staying calm, effective management in ambiguous situations, comfort with technology…

    17. dealing with dragons*

      16 weeks and PROBABLY I have post-flu bronchitis. I called our county hospital’s covid hotline at the request of my OB and they said I could only get tested if I was being admitted to the hospital and also I can’t go to an urgent care since I’m symptomatic so presumed to have it. I have asthma so it blows. I also keep getting conflicting information – some places say being pregnant is fine and some are like it’s as high of a risk as being elderly.

      We are on voluntary wfh and I haven’t told many people at work, so I am somewhat looking forward to showing up with a big belly whenever it gets lifted. However, at this rate I might give birth first.

    18. Turquoisecow*

      14 weeks here. I’m a little bit anxious right now because the hospital where I’m due to deliver (in September) is basically at the center of the outbreak in my state, and one of my doctors is there. I think the maternal-fetal medicine doctor is pretty separate from the rest of the hospital where the infectious cases would be, so I’m okay with that. Hoping everything calms down a little before it’s time to give birth.

      Thankfully I work from home already and my husband has been staying home the last two weeks. We basically haven’t been going out at all and both of us feel okay. Sadly we have to not see family, so that’s a little upsetting, but we’ll manage.

    19. MOAS*

      Late here but 20w. Worried but mostly that I will not have a job in 1 month. Cuts happen every tax season but this one will be way more aggressive given how things are and how the company is being affected. I lose job I lose my insurance and that’s terrifying

  6. Lovely*

    So I had posed the question earlier….

    How are you managing your mental health? I live alone and I have been checking in with single friends but one of them got upset with me (a coworker told me this seems to be a thing too that she is witnessing).

    I go on walks, runs, watch Netflix, do adult coloring books, I even called a mental health hotline but nothing actually is helping with this deep sense of isolation.

    To make matters worse, I fall into a minority group of those who think this is all overkill. I am **NOT** interested in debating the merits of my viewpoint or others, I only bring this up because it further adds to my feeling of isolation. I found myself trying to find #s and statistics trying to prove myself wrong and it was just making me crazy but I was looking for one nugget of hope that I could use to say “okay this makes sense because of ____” but I had to stop.

    Please help. I am trying everything but this is ruining me.

    1. AJ*

      My girlfriend chat group had a breakout of lashing out and hurt feelings. We’ve been friends for a hundred years, so we got over it. Our friend who is under a lot of stress because her retail job is shutting down lashed out and then everyone else got hurt too. I’ve heard other people say team members are lashing out too.

    2. DashDash*

      I’ve noticed a huge uptick in people looking for online chat buddies/friends – there are a lot of subreddits like r/MakeFriendsHere where you can find people to talk with, or join their equivalent Discords for conversation – including channels that are explicitly COVID-talk-free.

      1. MistOrMister*

        I was going to suggest seeing if there’s a forum OP can find online of people who are also feeling the strain. I have people that i text with a good bit and do instant messaging with coworkers during the day as we’re most of us working remotely. I think it also helps to not focus completely on the Sars-Cov news. Definitely stay informed, but make an effort to find other things you enjoy. I send my friends random memes I tink they’ll enjoy (thank you Imgur) and the chuckles really help keep us sane. I can’t imagine having friends who don’t think this is a THING though. I feel like that one issue just makes everything else so much worse.

    3. Alston*

      My friends and I got on zoom and played Jackbox tv last night. Everyone playa from their phone, it was fun! We plan to do a Netflix party tonight.

      And my husband has a standing shoot the shit video call with his co-workers.

    4. Mel_05*

      A friend of mine is single and lives alone, so she and another friend in the same boat decided to be quarantine buddies. They figure as long as they stick to each’s others homes it’s really not a greater risk than those of us with families.

      1. Roja*

        I honestly think this is one of the best ways to handle it. This might go on months or longer; it’s simply not realistic to ask people to go months without seeing another human being.

      2. Middle Child*

        I live alone too and plan to still have dinner at my mom’s and stepdad’s house one to two times a week unless one of us gets sick. While I am introverted, I am not so extreme that I’m celebrating the isolation (like some on the Reddit introvert sub). It will only be three of us at the house and I’m going to limit my time out of the house otherwise. We only have one case in my county right now and one in the neighboring county, and I’m aware that could change and we could get stricter measures. But I’ve already been stressed and wouldn’t last if I had to go months without face to face time with my own family.

      3. Toothless*

        I’m kind of doing this with my climbing partner as well; climbing gym is closed but we can still hang out at each other’s houses and go on bike rides

      4. kt*

        This is called a ‘closed loop’ by some people and is a recognized way of dealing with these kinds of quarantines. Choose some people you trust (a small and contained group of people) and make a pledge to only hang out with each other in person.

        It has to be a closed loop, not a chain — don’t do it with people who are also hanging out with other people! — but it can be really helpful.

    5. JKJK*

      Honestly not great, as I’m having a rough day 1 week in to indefinite WFH. Helpful have been: Strict routines including getting dressed in full work clothes, meditation, walks/runs, lots of FaceTiming, donating and lending help where I can, and frankly being really busy with work. Not helpful has been: binging news, time-wasting games, and laying around without moving for too long.

      I’m trying really hard to use extra time productively – cleaning, getting started on some projects I’ve wanted to do for a long time, etc. The hardest thing for me has been separating work and life – I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of years trying to create good boundaries and work life balance but its all falling apart now that my “work” is literally in front of me all the time and so many things are falling behind.

      All I can really recommend is try to remember you really arent alone in this – so many are going through something similar. If you can find a group or community to connect with in some way – a facebook group or a forum or anything – that could help. Whatever your feelings are, they are valid, no matter the cause (and I think identity is always a factor in how we deal with life, so don’t feel like you have to justify that to anyone.)

      Good luck, and we hear you.

    6. TheophrastusBombastus*

      One thing that’s helping me so far (though who knows for how long) is working on a hobby project that I can see growing and that is for an actual productive purpose. For me, that’s knitting something big and complicated and repairing all my old clothes. In similar times of isolation it has helped me to know that I have something to show for my time, something useful and interesting. That way it doesn’t feel quite so pointless. It’s possible that adult colouring books just aren’t quite scratching that itch for you.

      Besides, with many craft hobbies, there are active online-based communities.

      1. Windchime*

        This is me. I’ve been trying to get up and get busy after my (WFH) day is over. So yesterday I threw in a load of clothes, vacuumed, cleaned the kitty box, and a few other little chores. After supper, I’ve been watching Great British Bake off (or whatever it’s called) while knitting a unicorn for my little grand-niece. I’m letting myself check online news twice a day or so, and trying to avoid all talk of the stock market or the virus (which is hard, because most of my work meetings are about exactly that).

        I’m a loner so the isolation isn’t too bad. I want to visit my parents but they are in their 80’s and the area I live in is Ground Zero. So I can’t visit them for awhile; maybe months.

    7. Adele*

      Hearing a coworker express the “overkill” point of view made me wonder: how can you actually know whether it is or not? If things don’t gt much worse, is it because it was never going to be that bad or is it because of the precautions we have taken? We can look to some places that were late to take precautions–Italy, Iran–to see how cases have exploded and others that proactive and things have been contained. But then there are the outlier countries, Japan, for example, where it hasn’t spread and they haven’t taken extreme measures, either.

      1. Alternative Person*

        I live in Japan. They are deliberately not testing. They are so focused on pulling off the Olympics that they are downplaying things as much as possible. There’s some telework, split teaming and whatnot going on, and the kids have been off school for a month but most businesses are being left to make their own decisions- some are adopting shorter opening hours. Where I work, we’ve actually seen a slight uptick in business as the company is a childcare provider of last resort and most parents are opting to keep sending their kids because the poor things are suffering from cabin fever. The only kids who have been off have been because their school ordered them to or they were ill (what with, I’m not sure). I’ve been taking all the precautions I can, but the country is likely sitting on a lot of untested cases.

        1. Ann O.*

          This is an old post, but if you happen to see it… are people masking in Japan? I know when I was in Taiwan about 5 years ago, masking was fairly common because of air pollution. When I did some reading, it seemed like this was common throughout East Asia. It’s made me wonder if the widespread simple masking may have helped slow transmission since so many people’s noses and mouths are covered for sneeze and cough.

          (I know the argument that masking isn’t effective, but that argument is always from the perspective of using a mask prevent catching an illness. I haven’t seen anyone address whether widespread simple masking can prevent transmission by blocking the droplets at the source.)

          1. SofiaDeo*

            Simple masking is what surgeons use. Its to stop the person from transmitting to someone else. Yes, they work, which is why everyone in an operating room wears one!

      2. Putting the "pro" in "procrastinate"*

        I think it is hard to know whether a disaster aversion measures are a big overreaction, or have simply been successful. It’s problematic because even when it’s the latter, it tends to make people more cavalier the next time measures are needed. The Y2K situation is an illustrative example — you STILL see people saying “well, the power grids didn’t fail, banks didn’t collapse, the air-traffic control infrastructure didn’t implode, it was a whole lot of fuss for nothing!” But the reason those things didn’t happen is because armies of IT and programming professional worked their tails off in the years leading up to 2000 to make sure that those systems would be robust for the changeover!

        Also, is it true that Japan hasn’t taken extreme measures? My friend who lives in Tokyo told me that her kid’s school closed a couple of weeks ago and will remain closed at least until the end of the month. Also, she works in the travel industry and business has been flatlined all month. People aren’t traveling to or within the country at all. Now maybe Tokyo isn’t representative of the nation as a whole, but it sounds like they have taken measures.

        1. Alternative Person*

          Japan has taken the measures you’ve mentioned, but they’ve left a lot of decisions to businesses. A lot of restaurants are still doing eat-in, non-school education services are still mostly operating. Quite a few retail places are cutting their hours. Other businesses are doing some telework, but there’s as much split teaming and time-shifting going on. Trains are less crowded, but they’re still busy. Most of all, they are not testing very much. There’s a chance a lot of mild or asymptomatic cases are not being diagnosed.

      3. Tau*

        Hmm. I think the thing that places like Italy and Iran show is that it is capable of getting very, very bad. And the numbers show fairly clearly that the spread in places like China and South Korea only stopped when they started taking drastic measures (accounting for the fact that there’s a 7-14 day lag in reported numbers because you don’t catch infected people on the day of infection). At the start, there’s definitely an element of luck in play – maybe you manage to isolate everyone and their infected contacts, maybe you have a superspreader who manages to kick-start the epidemic all by themselves – but once the ball gets rolling, you really don’t want to try to rely on luck.

        IDK, I just… don’t really understand how people can go “oh, maybe it was never going to be that bad” when you have the examples of Iran and Italy *right there*.

      4. Not So NewReader*

        Since we can’t run two scenarios at the same time we may never really know how this could have gone otherwise. I am sure science and others will spend years maybe decades analyzing this time.

        I see the panic as great a threat, if not more so, than the Covid itself. I am totally dismayed by the lack of cohesion building coming from leaders on all levels. Around me some people are screaming STFU at their tvs because of the endless flow of news about Covid-19. One friend was laughing, he said he flipped through the channels and there was nothing but Covid-19 on every station, “I guess they think we never heard of it.” He shut his tv off.

        I hope they look at how media/hysteria/other factors influenced this situation.

    8. Kim D.*

      People are indeed a bit testy and easily set off. I think we can reasonably assume it’s the constant news cycle and stress.
      However, I would at least not mention to any of your friends that you think all the safety measures are overblown, as that is a surefire way to start a fight.

      1. Lovely*

        I actually had a different friend reach out to me who expressed similar sentiment! I think it all goes towards your individual willing to take risk (and feelings on statistics). But at least I have someone to commiserate with in this way.

        But it’s hard to feel like a prisoner in your own home and to use any kind of restraint with it. I thought I would lose it after a week of constant WFH and no access to gyms/restaurants/etc., but just two days in I wasn’t doing great and yesterday I cried for 3 hours and I am not an emotional person.

    9. NPOQueen*

      Both my job and my friends are doing virtual happy hours on Zoom. My job started a humor thread on our Teams page and we all have been sharing pictures of our pets. I live in a big city and have a dog, so I still have to go outside and see people; my neighbors and I talk to each other from across the street. It’s not easy and when I feel especially bad, I have a nap. Try to keep a schedule as much as possible; my failing is that the workday triggers when I need to eat, so all this WFH is throwing my eating habits way off, and then I get testy because I’m hungry. Keep your head up, try to stay away from the doom & gloom of the news, and perhaps keep a journal of the small things that made you smile today?

      1. many bells down*

        Yesterday in our Zoom staff meeting I kept putting on different hats. Then the music director put a muppet hat on. It was great.

        1. Windchime*

          We are adding video to all of our work Zoom meetings and it has really helped. Some people are adding the funny backgrounds and it adds a little humor to the situation. I wasn’t crazy about being on video but then I realized that nobody really cares if I’m wearing makeup and it’s good to see my teammates’ faces.

          I’ve also been Facetiming with my sister more.

    10. Just Here For This*

      Dr. Drew does a podcast every day with Covid-19 updates. He is a medical doctor and addiction specialist. He gives daily, science based updates and also expresses concern that the media is panicking people instead of helping them understand science and what people can do. He also updates the drug trials going on. Perhaps his down to earth approach would help you?

      Joe Rogan did a two hour interview with a specialist named Mike Oster___________ (don’t remember the name accurately). It was terrific.

      Or stop watching the news entirely. I have been watching old shows, like the Boris Karloff show Thriller from the 60s, and old Twilight Zones, and Columbo, and The Rockford Files. Also have home improvement stuff to do. Might even make Tamales. You could go to You Tube and watch instructional videos. Maybe now is the time to learn to draw or paint, or make sourdough bread. I love classic horror (and not so classic).

      We have a fixed number of ventilators, and supplies for medical personnel. We really need to protect our elderly and sick, and keep our medical facilities from being overwhelmed. That is why we are being asked not to go into the emergency room unless we need an ICU. I have an aunt of died in December at 62 who had multiple underlying conditions. She was exposed to the regular flu (by a family member who should have known better) the day after Christmas, 2018. She fought for 11 months before passing.

      I watched the international news, and when the CDC put a recommendation to prepare for quarantine, I spent a painful (for me) amount of money preparing to be told to self-quarantine. That means I can shelter in place for a month – not 12 years. I spent years helping my aunt, and she was immunocompromised, and I used to work for a cancer specialist years ago. I understand what the CDC is trying to do. But it may be overkill. You may well be right.

      This doesn’t mean young people and children can’t become seriously ill or die. Try to think of it as you doing your part to protect the elderly and vulnerable, since we have no way to vaccinate them yet. H1N1 infected a billion people worldwide, and killed 500,000 worldwide in 2009. ICU and ventilator capacity was an issue then, and that may be the reason we are reacting the way we do now.

      As one doctor put it, in 2009 we were down to one ventilator before the cases dropped off and we were saved. If we have one ventilator and 3 people go into respiratory failure, you have to make choices.

      If we protect our elderly and our health care providers, then we never have to chose, we have an ICU bed for all who need it.

      Does that help? I am about to be locked in like you, and I get your frustration, this is maddening.

    11. EddieSherbert*

      If it’s an option, fostering a dog or cat for your local shelter might be a fun way to break things up and distract yourself :)

      I work for a local shelter part-time, and we’ve seen a (very very welcome!) surge in foster apps this week. Our fosters all are assigned a foster mentor who they can contact for any questions (or to send cute cat pics!) and are added to our Foster Facebook group (which has also spiked in activity this week). So besides having a furry friend to occupy your time, it adds another community for you to connect with right now.

      1. Wombats and Tequila*

        Blood banks are reporting severe shortages because people are afraid to come in and donate. However they are swabbing down everything that isn’t already sterile multiple times. Then you get free snacks afterwards, so win-win.

        1. Harriet*

          Yeah, I was in today to give blood. Not impressed by the precautions the look place took. Or should I say, didn’t take. Of course, I was told they were doing their best. And I’m sure they were. It just looked pretty lousy to me. I didn’t stay for the snacks. When I was done, I was out of there.

          And that’s the last place I want to go unless I absolutely must. I have a serious breathing condition that means I probably will die if I get this. And I live with someone else who also has other (multiple) medical conditions.

          On the good news front, my boss was “persuaded” to let me work from home, but he doesn’t like it, to say the least, and I know it is causing more work for the people in the office, since it isn’t a work from home job at all. So, if people give him too much grief, and/or the main person helping gets tired of it, and says it isn’t working, I’m out of work. Their business is in big trouble anyway with this. And as someone here said not that long ago, if you’re middle aged and lose your job in a recession, you’re probably not employable again. I just hit middle aged, wasn’t exactly in a great position to begin with (location, skills, job history, etc.) but thought I was going to get something better this year, finally.

          So, I have a lot of anxiety to say the least. I’m really going to do everything I can to make the working from home work, but I’m new to it, and it isn’t perfect right now. And my boss gets tired of things quickly.

      2. MsMaryMary*

        I was going to suggest a pet as well. If adopting or fostering a dog or cat isn’t possible, maybe a hamster or lizard or even a fish. Something else alive to fuss over and remember to feed.

        I also live alone and thank my lucky stars I have a dog. I feel much less isolated and have been making lots of jokes about my new coworker. He takes naps in the middle of the day. He cannot keep quiet while I’m on a conference call. Yesterday he licked his nether regions right in front of me!

      3. JBX*

        A friend that is really into pets mentioned he was aware of some local shelters scaling back, shutting down, or experiencing overflow and they desperately needed people to foster the animals right now. So this could help not only you but the shelter (more than usual). My adult daughter has fostered cats a few times. Last time was this quite small pregnant cat they expected to have 2-3 kittens. Mama cat had EIGHT. So many crazy stories as those kittens gained mobility. But it all worked out and (as planned) Daughter adopted two of the kittens permanently. Daughter and boyfriend are currently in home quarantine as a close friend was definitely exposed. So we’ve had some Zoom chats with video – featuring the cats, of course.

    12. OyHiOh*

      I’m . . . . . not handling this well. Yesterday was basically an all day anxiety attack. I’m a single parent of three, and currently freelance writing. I realized early yesterday that it had been four days since I’d had a conversation using my voice that was not related to kid management and my brain just melted. So far, today feels better. I don’t make personal phone calls but, I have to re learn doing that f I’m going to get through this intact.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        I started crying during the office Zoom meeting this morning. Thank god we were all told to mute our phones so nobody heard me doing it. I would have been in SUCH TROUBLE if they had known.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Tears do help. I used to put sad music on to make myself cry because I knew I would feel better the next day.
        And I did.

        I have a saying that I use on me to get myself moving. It goes like this, “The choices I make in crisis MIGHT eventually dictate how my life plays out for years to come.” This makes me think of the better days ahead and it motivates me to do things that I just don’t want to do right now because of I think of Future Me thanking Present Day Me for pushing through.

        Keep looking up and looking ahead. Picture the kiddos doing well in school. Picture them growing into happy adults. Picture yourself happy and enjoying them. In the long story, this is a moment. That is all it is.
        Cry when you need to. Call in new resources or use resources in new ways. Don’t force yourself to be alone.

        You can get creative here, you def have that going on. My older friend talks to her grandson almost every night around dinner time. It’s a video chat, she can see the parents cooking in the background while 3 y/o grandson is chatting away in the foreground. I am sure it’s a reprieve for the parents. I know it’s a delight for my friend. Look around, what do you have on-hand that you could use in a different way.

        You’re not wrong to want support for YOU. There’s nothing wrong with wanting that and there’s nothing wrong with doing things to get it.

    13. Veronica Mars*

      You’re definitely not alone. My husband graduated in 2008 (with a degree in finance) and the stress / PTSD over financial collapse has him really anxious right now, far more so than the illness (we are both young/healthy and don’t live with anyone at risk). He is so ANGRY at everyone for “choosing” financial stress and so invested in the decisions that the government makes – in a way you can’t be angry or invested at an illness that no one chooses to have.

      And part of me understands, but that risk is also even more out of our control, and as an outsider I can observe the things that are sending him into a tailspin (checking the stock market every few minutes) and see that they aren’t helping at all. The only thing that’s helped for me is to just make. myself. stop. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen regardless of whether or not my predictions/opinions are “right” or I stress about them or I don’t.

      When the calming things don’t work (because I’m acutely aware I’m doing them to calm myself) I try to distract myself. Podcasts and audio books work well because you have to actively work to keep up and it consumes all available brain space.

      1. Jules the 3rd*

        Yeah. There’s a point earlier this week where I didn’t sleep for a couple of nights. I had to sit down and look at what I *could* control (info in / out; supplies to some extent) and what I can’t, and focus on what I can do something about.

        Good time to clean house / yard, except I’ve got enough of some illness that I’m too tired for it. (US South; fever, cough, stuffy nose & tested negative for flu last week; no fever this week but still cough / congestion; same for Mr. Jules. The ‘act like you’ve already got it and are trying to keep from sharing’ advice is hitting home so hard…)

    14. Ewesername*

      The living alone part is the worst for me, so I’m making a point of trying to do things with others, albeit virtually. My knitting group met last night via zoom. I have a dinner “date” with a friend tonight via Facebook messenger. I’ve joined a few online workout groups (we can hear each other, but no visual, thankfully.)
      We’re all here for you. This group is wonderfully supportive.

    15. fposte*

      Human contact and deliberate decisions to view upbeat media. I find just seeing other humans when I’m out for a walk to be a real morale lift–we all wave like crazy.

    16. JelloStapler*

      I’m doing okay if I take it day by day and try not to think about if this lasts for months or when they inevitably tell us school is off for the rest of the year (as I WFH and teach my kids simultaneously). My husband is a dentist and is only taking emergency patients, so thank goodness for savings, just got a big tax refund and my mom said she can help if money gets tight. But – if I think too much I get panicky.

    17. LivingMyLife*

      I was self quarantined four years ago while I was fighting cancer. I did it for 9 months, so I learned to focus on things that were still positive in my life: there was always something that I was grateful for, I learned to be kind to my family members who couldn’t get too close to me, and I prayed a lot – God gave me comfort through that difficult time. Hang in there, everyone!

    18. Sunflower*

      – #1 recommendation – Make a daily schedule. I’m really slow at work right now but I’m still making myself sit at a computer desk for 3-4 hours a day. Even if I’m not doing ‘work’, it just feels better than lounging on the couch
      – Make calendar appointments to video chat with friends/vendors/coworkers. Even if it’s not work related.
      – Do you enjoy biking? I just purchased a bike. Totally worth the $80 online.
      – You can still interact with people in person. Some local eateries have placed X’s on their floor where people can stand. Especially if those places are empty, they would probably welcome you to come in and chat with them for a bit.
      – I’ve also found I need to take a break from certain friends/chat groups. I’ve asked some of our friend groups to set X time for talking about the virus and the rest of the time to talk about other things. I also am a member of Fishbowl(a professional app.) I’ve joined groups dedicated to positively during this time.
      – Before we started self isolating, I was thinking about picking up new hobbies/remembering the things I used to love doing as a kid. As I’ve grown older, I realized I only do things if I can find a direct reward from it(money, efficiency, etc). I LOVE writing- so what is stopping me from writing a book? I don’t have to publish it. I’ve always wanted to learn to sew, play an instrument. I love to paint. Now I have an excuse to do all of these things even if there isn’t a direct reward.
      – If you’re really struggling and have the space, I’d suggest finding a quarantine buddy Animal agencies are also looking for people to FOSTER(not adopt) animals for the time being.

      I think many people are feeling similar (not saying this to diminish your feelings, just to make you feel less alone). I think for weeks people have been joking about hoping to be quarantined and a lot of people are blindsided at how much they are not enjoying it a few days in. By realizing others are yearning for the same thing you are, it might make reaching our for what you need feel easier.

    19. Marcy*

      Is there something you would like to learn? A language, bookkeeping, programming, yoga, something else? Somewhere on the inter webs is a class on it, for free probably. Give your mind something to concentrate on.

      I am taking a community college course on Statistics this semester. Having something besides the virus for my brain to work on has been helpful for me.

      Hope this helps!

    20. Mbarr*

      I’m single and also going bonkers – it doesn’t help that I’m exhibiting cold symptoms so my Public Health unit told me to self-isolate for 14 days. (I’m pretty sure it’s “just” a sinus cold, but better safe than sorry.)
      Things I’ve done:
      – I’m arranging “virtual” lunch dates with people where we legit just eat lunch with a video chat between us
      – I set up my computer station in a room of the house I normally don’t use, so it’s like “going into the office” for me at least.
      – I’m also playing a lot of coffee shop background noise, just to feel like there are people around. I’m an extrovert and the silence has been killing me. I especially like this one:

    21. Humble Schoolmarm*

      Here’s some things that have been working for me

      1- Get out of the house once a day to take a walk around the block.
      2- Deal with things on the ‘get around to it’ list like deeper house cleaning or filing. It takes a certain level of concentration and feels productive, which is nice.
      3- One human (voice) contact per day. I’m also continuing to see my parents in person once every few days.
      4- Think of skills you’ve always wanted to learn and hit up youtube. I’m going to try crochet.
      5- I like the idea of doing hobbies that make something. I’ve been knitting and doing other needle crafts like a fiend and find that it’s more soothing than colouring books (which I also love).

    22. Kotow*

      I’m another one with the unpopular opinion which of course adds to the isolation. I’m also self-employed and really not sure how this is going to affect us. I’m taking a social media break for at least a few days because I found myself looking at things that were making me angry. When the news of churches closing for Holy Week and Easter broke out, all of my anger just came to a head and resulted in a lot of arguments over social media. A break is definitely going to be good.

    23. cleo*

      That sounds so hard Lovely,

      I’ve been doing OK managing my mental health. Things that have helped:

      Setting and keeping a morning schedule – including meditation and a short walk

      Volunteering – I signed up for my local community response team (through my city council member). Doing the Zoom training last night was great. Not because the ppt about the help line or volunteer drivers was so amazing but because 100+ people were on the call and I felt more connected and less overwhelmed.

      Regular calls with friends and family

      Good luck Lovely! It sounds like you’re doing a lot to take care of yourself.

    24. FloralsForever*

      I’m so sorry you’re feeling this! I am experiencing spirals of “what ifs” – it’s not the same, but living alone magnifies it.

      First, I had to realize that we are all doing the best we can. If I am feeling overwhelmed and just need to look at kitties on IG instead of cleaning out that drawer, that’s ok!

      Second, rather than taking the initiative to check on my friends (as you’ve mentioned), I ask them to check on me. It took me a long time to not feel weird about it, honestly, but it really helps. I usually say “hey I’m not doing well, can you check in with me via text, VM, skype, etc, one per day for the next 5 days” or something like that. I try to ask two or more friends at once so I don’t put too much pressure on one person. I know I’m lucky to have friends who do this for me, and I hope you have friends who can do that for you.There’s just something abt the unitiated ping that makes me feel less alone. You can also return the favor, if you feel funny asking. Heck, if I knew you, I’d do it!

    25. kamikasee*

      My work Slack has a life-during-quarantine channel that is doing “Because i didn’t do _____ in quarantine, I got to __________”. Like “Because I didn’t have a 2 hour commute, I got to sleep in” Seeing others’ responses has been helpful and positive. It’s been helpful to focus on the practical reality of our situation instead of the why is it this way/shoukd it be this way”.

  7. LizB*

    I work a split role. One half of my job was just authorized to work from home, the other half is officially still supposed to be onsite. I plan to ignore that and just WFH after I complete this one last hands-on task I have today.

  8. Eve's Husband's Mustache*

    I already worked from home for days per week, so mostly the only thing that has changed for me is I don’t have to worry about that one day per week commute (also now my colleagues are having to work from home and are being kinda aggravating about it). I feel weirdly guilty about how little I’ve personally been affected so far?

    Our corporate office is also in the midst of a renovation, from nice-size cubicles to a horrible open-office style that resembles nothing so much as a 1940s steno pool. The pandemic is really highlighting the backwardness of this approach, as we’ll now be less than two feet from our neighbors without so much as a sneeze guard in between. I have a feeling a lot of my coworkers will acclimate to working from home during this and then choose not to return to in-office work once it (fingers crossed!) blows over.

    1. Mel_05*

      I totally get the feeling guilty about not being affected much.

      I didn’t work from home much before, but it was not a big deal to switch to working from home. I already had the set-up, I don’t have kids, my dog loves that I’m home all day.

      I do feel a little anxious about my job, I’m the newest in my department, but so far it seems like things are ok.

      Meanwhile, I have friends who are being forced to use all their vacation time and then… unemployment benefits? Hopefully?

    2. Eve's Husband's Mustache*

      ugh lol for = four (days per week). I do feel my brain is much more frazzled than usual.

    3. Xerxes*

      Like you I lready worked from home, in my case 3 days a week, and I’m naturally a homebody so I’m joining you in the feelings of guilt that this isn’t affecting me more. I had been reading and watching the stories of the people who have lost their income and students who lost their place to live but I had to stop it was making me feel awful.

    4. EddieSherbert*

      I’ve got a weird mix of guilt about it too. My “day job” that is 90% of my income is already work from home. My very part-time job (at an animal shelter) is pretty much on hold with no pay right now, but it doesn’t really affect me like it affects most of my coworkers there.

    5. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      Same here. I’ve worked from home 2 days a week for the last 3 years and started full time in February. My husband works for the government, and the director split everyone into an A and B group to work 5 days on and then 5 days on administrative leave. It’s kind of stupid and makes no sense, but today he said they were probably going to go into a code red soon, meaning everyone would be on administrative leave/work from home as they are able.

      I wouldn’t say I feel guilty, but we do have a lot of food truck and business owner friends who are being severely affected by all of this, and I feel terrible for them and others in their situation. My solution is to try and support local businesses as much as we’re able. I just found out about a local butcher shop close to my house, so I went and bought a bunch of meat since the grocery stores seem to be close to bare. A local taco place got permission from the county to sell carry out alcohol, so the plan is to order from them Friday night with some mason jar margaritas!

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        The butcher! You just reminded me I have one a couple blocks from my apartment. I hope they still have meats when I run out in about three weeks or so – I’ll go down and avoid the crowded (and gross) grocery store and support a mom and pop shop instead of Kroger.

    6. Elenna*

      Same. I already worked from home occasionally, so it wasn’t a huge switch to doing it all the time, and I’m the kind of person who rarely leaves the house or sees crowds anyways. Plus I’m just… not all that anxious about it? Like, I understand it could be bad, I know what’s happening, I’m just not getting a feeling of anxiety. Probably a combination of my life not changing that much and me not checking the news much. I don’t even know anyone that’s particularly affected by self-isolation. (That might change if/when high school resumes after their extended break and my dad has to go in and teach. But literally everyone else I’m close to either can work from home, is a university student, or is living with parents who are happy to support them.)

    7. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      I feel you on the guilt because of lack of disruption. I work from home every day unless I have travel (usually 2-3 x/month) to one of our study sites. Only change for me has been that my travel is canceled for the time being. Mr. Gumption is allowed to work from home, but has chosen not to because: 1) he has an actual office and 2) all of his coworkers have decided to WFH so he has the building to himself. Only big difference is that we are now eating more restaurant meals via delivery/take-away to help out our local economy. Instead of 1x/week max, we’ll be doing 2-3x/week.

    8. Snow globe*

      I work from home almost 100% of the time, so no major changes. The biggest challenge is that so many other people at our company are now WFH that our network capability can’t handle the traffic. There is talk of rationing network access or asking people to work different shifts. That was something I really wouldn’t have thought would be an issue.

    9. Foreign Octopus*

      I work from home full-time as an online English teacher and I feel a little guilty too, particularly because since people all over Europe and parts of Asia are at home they’re finding time to have English lessons so I’ve actually been busier than normal. I’m glad I’m working but I have this odd guilt over how financially successful this month has been when I know that there are others suffering. A few years ago I would have been one of those people working retail and having to deal with this and now I’m not. I’m very grateful for my lifestyle at the moment but I sort of feel like I’m betraying my working class roots by being more or less unaffected by this.

    10. Windchime*

      We are moving to the “steno pool” desk model this fall. I’m hoping that this prolonged period of WFH will help my office to see that we can indeed be successful at our jobs from home, and maybe make it a permanent situation.

  9. Rosalita*

    My office hasn’t shut down but we’ve been told to prepare as if it will eventually happen. If anyone has so much as a sniffle they are told to go home and work remotely until all symptoms are gone. Everyone was give wipes and hand sanitizer. The office is being cleaned more and we aren’t allowed to meet with clients. Everything must be conference call.

  10. Anon-mama*

    There seems to be a discrepancy in what we were just told about exposure/quarantine and the CDC best practices. So A) if my coworker is symptomatic and at home isolating but is not allowed a test, should we in close contact quarantine? I don’t care what they day about PTO, if they’re confirmed, positive, I’m out the door. And related, B) if someone we live with is exposed to a confirmed positive and they’re quarantined, shouldn’t we also quarantine? Because it seems like my workplace won’t allow for emergency leave. Oh, and C), my town (we’re a public library with just staff reporting in) has so far only drawn up leave accommodations for 1 quarantine/childcare scenario. I could have up to four (myself, spouse, two children’s daycares). Anyone have a workplace with clear direction about leave? I cannot work from home. My spouse can, but couldn’t provide solo childcare.

    1. Dave*

      If there is a chance you came in contact with someone who might have it you should quarantine. The problem in our area they are still not testing people that would be community exposure as opposed to a known contact who had it (or traveled to a foreign country on a one of the lists). So people are being told by your doctor you might have it but depending on who they came in contact with is if they can quarantine without the official I have been exposed to someone who has it. If you think you have been exposed can’t 100% quarantine really strive to avoid public areas and non work spaces if they won’t let you WFH. Find a friend to grocery shop level of avoiding public places. Good Luck!

    2. FrenchCusser*

      A friend’s daughter just came back from Italy, and the whole family is self-quarantining.

      So yes, if someone you live with is in quarantine, you should be, too.

      My work has given me the option to WFH, but as there are no cases in our area yet, I’m waiting to take them up on that. Life’s gonna get un-normal soon enough.

    3. Detective Right-All-The-Time*

      My workplace is asking people who have quarantined household members to also quarantine for 14 days or until their presumed exposure is tested negative. So if you worked for us, then yes we would ask you to stay home.

      The leave situation is so dependent on what state you’re in. My state has determined that our state leave law will cover employees who cannot work due to childcare (gov’t mandated school closure). But that doesn’t require or guarantee pay. There is currently nothing at the federal or state level requiring an organization to allow leave for an employee who is not hospitalized by this, and I haven’t heard what the paid leave requirement of the Corona bill are going to be so who knows what it will cover.

      1. Elenna*

        My workplace had a case in early March, before everything really blew up, and our Chief Medical Officer’s advice was
        1) for people who worked closely with that person (your case A), they should self-quarantine and monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days. (At least one such person did end up getting it.)
        2) Other workers in that building complex (like me) could go about business as usual. I guess they decided that the possibility of catching it from touching elevator buttons, microwave doors, etc was small.
        3) people living with people who were self-quarantining (your case B) could go about business as usual, as long as the self-quarantined person was staying in a separate room, preferably with a separate washroom, not having meals with the rest of the household, and sanitizing things they touched.

        Granted, that was early March, they might be more cautious about cases 2 and 3 now. But that’s what was recommended then.

    4. Grearness*

      I have flu like symptoms and I told my boss, I was refused a test because I’m young and low risk, was recommended to stay home for two weeks. Corporate called me and asked me who I had interacted with in the office and everyone I mentioned is working from home now.

    5. tgirl*

      The public libraries were closed here when the schools were closed (I’m not sure if that’s the case with you, if you have just staff reporting in.).

  11. wfh manager*

    Any good advice on how to manage a remote team. I have a pretty good team, but even when we are in the office there are some issues mostly around prioritizing the wrong stuff, and not having a sense of urgency. I’m finding it hard to find ways to check in and make sure they are working on the right stuff without seeming like a mincomanager. When we are in the office I do a lot of strolling around and checking in, which seems more natural then sending a “what are you doing right now” IM. My boss is generally pretty opposed to WFH, so if this does not go well I can see us being dragged back into the office.

    1. many bells down*

      I know my husband schedules regular 1:1 check-ins with the team he manages, to see how their projects are going and what issues they need help with.

      1. MsMaryMary*

        I’d suggest doing the 1:1s via skype/zoom/webex/whatever. Not only is a little face to face time good for all of us right now, but you can see your reports’ body language and get a better sense if something is off.

    2. Jules the 3rd*

      1) Regular meetings – make sure you’re 1 – 1 with each team member once a week, and that the focus is on tasks and prioritization.
      2) Deadlines – if it makes sense, the output of the meeting could be a task list and deadlines, and ask them to cc you a completion list at a reasonable timeframe (daily, 3x/week, weekly – varies by kind of job)
      3) Clear direction – state what your prioritization criteria are – 1st come, 1st serve or by dollar value, or by something else?

    3. Sunflower*

      – We are doing some more check-ins. In office, I have a weekly check in with my boss and monthly with my global team. We’ve moved monthly global team to bi-weekly. My one-on-one weekly is ongoing and we’ve added a weekly local team. My boss has also encouraged us to do check-ins with teammates.
      – Consider how often you really ‘need’ to be checking in. If you are doing twice a week check-ins, is that enough time to redirect someone on the right path without wasting too much time/productivity?
      – Urge your team to reach out with questions and that you’re available during regular office hours.

      Many people work better remote than in the office.- esp depending on what the issues in the office are (interruptions, getting stuck in office chatter). I don’t know your team but they may see this as an opportunity to show how remote work can work. Some people feel the need to be more available and productive because of the negatively around remote work.

      But also understand you probably won’t get 100% productivity given the situations. People are home (some in very small spaces) with family members/kids. Tensions and stress are HIGH- even if you were in the office, there are so many other issues at the top of people’s minds. Your team is not set-up to work remote I’m sure. It wouldn’t hurt to acknowledge this and re-iterate a line of priorities to the team(kill 2 birds with one stone).

    4. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      Send out a team priority list each day and ask people to check in if they have questions. Also schedule a short, weekly team check in meeting, maybe on Mondays, just to make sure everything is on track.

    5. Sarah*

      I manage a small team remotely all the time. We use Trello to track projects and to keep a running list for check in topics. We also meet weekly over Zoom to do updates and to make sure we’re all on the same page. While I think 3x/day check ins are too much and would hate to do write ups of all the work I do in a day, I find that in the early stages you’ll want to check in more often than usual until they get up to speed.

      1. AVP*

        I’m on a team like this, and we work pretty similarly! We have a 30 minute call scheduled every day on Uberconference but we only use it 2-3 times a week, when people feel like they need it or there’s a hot topic. But we use that to set priorities and check in with any questions. Then we have slack channels set up for each project or client that we’re working on and make sure to check those a lot. It works for us because we’re often doing client calls or a lot of little projects so there’s rarely a needed long burst of concentration, but if someone says “hey I need to go work on something alone for a few hours!” that’s well understood. We have Trello and Airtable and Google, depending on which platforms our clients prefer. I find that bringing in these conversational tools and understanding what approval processes look like REALLY helps.

    6. MissDisplaced*

      I think in this case you should institute a morning team call to go over priorities and assignments.
      I’d try not to have more than that though, unless you find it really necessary.

    7. AccountingIsFun*

      SO many excellent suggestions here! I love it! I especially like the priority list idea. If there is any way to have a Slack channel or running g-chat with all of the team that your team can ask questions in, that might also be a great way to encouraging folks to focus on the high priority stuff.

    8. Curmudgeon in California*

      If you need to make sure that everyone knows what everyone is working on or needs help on, have a daily standup (ala agile) via Zoom. This lets you see each other (human contact) and find out where everyone else is. If this is too much, do it MWF. All time for chit-chat too.

      Also, maintain your weekly one on ones, and allow time to touch base on priorities. Your team is still getting used to this too, so if you start out with good habits, you can convince management this is a win.

    9. Windchime*

      We have scheduled twice-weekly team video huddles. We do talk about work stuff but there is also some time to just visit and joke around, admire each other’s pets, etc. All meetings are now conducted via Zoom, and we are encouraged to use video whenever possible. I’ve been also having a lot more phone calls with coworkers and customers. I have a customer that I speak with often and I am going to suggest to her that we FaceTime for some of our calls.

    10. NowWhat?456*

      Not a manager, but I love how my manger is handling this!

      He’s instituted a daily 15-20 minute Zoom call with the whole team just to give updates from our administration as well as get quick updates from all of us (which is great for all of us to hear as we work on events and can utilize each other if a cancellation is getting too difficult for one person to handle). A good chunk of the conversation does turn to water cooler talk, but it’s also nice as it’s been isolating. Additionally,

      We’re keeping our regular 1:1s, and our regular 1 hour team meeting each week which is where we get a lot of bulk work done. Other than that, we’re utilizing Slack more than we normally would and are checking in before calling each other’s cell phones when we would normally swing by their desk because they may have a four year old finger painting when they normally wouldn’t.

    11. Trixie*

      Before COVID, my position/area were moved to a new team formation. We were just starting to meet when we went remote. My new team leader is big on accountability and tracking data which, TBH, is a bit overwhelming for my style.
      Team lead created a project tracker of sorts (shared document) with a tab for each team. Each team member may have daily goals, weekly or longer projects. Stages range from on hold, not yet started, in progress, or completed, and I think also time/hours on each. The idea being if we are all WFW and being paid, management should be able to share what we’re doing within departments, teams, and the organization. Because my work ranges from short turnaround to longer, ongoing projects, my checkins or completed dates will vary wildly. Also, we discussed looking bigger picture items to start and a specific example for an employee’s work so we could see examples before sharing our own checkin.

  12. Ann Perkins*

    I’m going to throw it out there that I think asking how a company dealt with this crisis will be a great question for interviewees. It says a lot about a company how they’re dealing with this. I’m one of the few in my office maintaining business operations and we sent everyone else to WFH. Even for people who don’t have much to do at home, they were told to pick some learning projects they’d like to do or topics to study on. My boss got us gift cards for local restaurants still doing takeout (might not use it until after this is all done with anyway though). We have a massive main corporate office and they moved to nearly entirely remote very quickly, as many employees also did WFH one or two days per week anyway.

    1. Oryx*

      I agree that this is going to become a major point for interviewees in all fields. I work in a library-adjacent field and watching how various libraries are responding has been illuminating to say the least. I saw someone post on twitter that MLIS students should be paying very close attention to how various library systems are responding and consider which ones they want to apply for based on that.

    2. AndersonDarling*

      This is good! Rotten companies will spout how they made their employees work in the office because the product is so important. Insane companies will be proud of their bad decisions, because insane.

    3. Kes*

      Yes, although not as great companies may still fudge things about how well they responded. “We sent people home” (eventually, when mandated) “We had leave for those who were sick” (but what about those in isolation/quarantine), etc
      I do think it’s telling though, see the thread above about people losing respect for their companies due to their handling of the outbreak. I’m fortunate enough to be on the other side – aside from maybe telling people to WFH slightly earlier (and even then they were always allowing people who wanted to), I’ve been pretty impressed with my company’s reaction – they’ve clearly been making an effort to evaluate and communicate and overcommunicate the status and what measures are being taken at each step, and now they’ve closed our office they’re also really making an effort to sustain our culture and connections even when we can’t meet in person – slack chat, discord for random voice chat if you just want to hang out and talk to people like you normally would in our kitchen, virtual meetings, adding virtual events of the sort we would usually have in person (lunch and learns, trivia, etc)

    4. many bells down*

      I work for a church. 75% of our work is gathering people together, and we’ve managed to convince a bunch of people in their 70s and 80s to do them all remotely. I’ve spent the last 2 weeks “turning boomers into zoomers”. We’ve even moved our entire Sunday services online. We had 100 people last week.

      It can totally be done if your company is creative! Even if I do have to explain to the minister how Sharepoint works on a weekly basis lol

    5. Elizabeth West*

      I already added it to the questions form I prepare and print before every interview.

  13. Xx*

    I work in local government and while they set some of us up to work from home – my coworkers aren’t the most tech savvy – I’m the only one that can get the service to work properly. So I can’t work from home because it “wouldn’t be fair to everyone else.” We just got our first case in the town but there’s many more in the area and I truly don’t want to be here anymore.

    1. Database Developer Dude*

      I feel your pain on this. Despite clearance issues, there are aspects of my job that can be done remotely, but the justification for pulling me into the office was someone else (now gone) asking “well, if can telework, why can’t I?”

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        Whereas the question should be, “if a person could work remotely, why aren’t they already?”

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          + 1

          To that point, my manager and I spoke today about this. Most of our company WFH full-time (myself, grandboss, and one other coworker included) or works from remote offices; however, he said that he’s heard from higher ups in our company that allowing everyone to work from home may very well change how our company operates. He predicts some of those remote offices will be shut down and the people in them told to just work from home because we’re a software company, so we’re perfectly setup for everyone to do so with minimal interruption. Most of us don’t need to be in an office to do our jobs.

    2. many bells down*

      I have spent the last 2 weeks teaching people in their 70s and 80s to use Zoom. Your co-workers could learn and your boss is being a jerk :(

    3. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      This is ass-backwards.

      The way to flatten the curve is to isolate as many people as possible. “Not fair” is exposing your workforce to the risk of disease unnecessarily.

    4. aliascelli*

      I’m also in local government. I’m currently working from home because my family had an exposure (we’re all fine, currently!) but I know my boss will expect me back once the time is up, even if schools, etc are still expected to stay closed. I have a lot of anxiety about it but am trying to take it day by day.

  14. CatCat*

    Day 3 working from home. Haven’t been out AT ALL. Enormously productive with my work. Work, work, work, work, work.

    What I am struggling with is balancing working with taking any sort of breaks, and also feeling very isolated. I guess being able to occasionally chat with my coworkers really helped me break things up at the office. Now I’m working from my living room (like where do I even GO for a break?) in a location with shelter-in-place public health orders in effect.

    Any tips for addressing this are most welcome!

    1. ThatGirl*

      Get up and stretch, get water, take a short walk around your block (if this is doable). At least take 10 minutes or so every so often to look at something else and move around a little. IM your coworkers to check in – it’s not the same as a watercooler conversation, but at least it’s some connection.

      1. CatCat*

        Weather the past few days has been crappy, but it’s clearing up so an outside walk is doable and I think allowed in my county as long as we keep 6 feet from others.

        1. Laney Boggs*

          If you cant go outside, try taking a short break, going to another room, and try an exercise video on youtube? Theres all kinds of guided exercises at different levels. It will get you moving and give you a break!

          1. CatCat*

            I just scheduled to go for a walk with a friend later this morning. We’ll both go outside for a walk from our respective homes and talk to each other on the phone to be “together.”

            1. Sara(h)*

              Ooo…I love that idea! I am going to invite my walking buddy from work to do that together!

    2. An Amazing Detective-Slash-Genius*

      I’ve started a routine of a quick mid-morning workout, like a 10 minute ab routine, and then showering around noon. I find that the noon shower is a way to step away from work, is in a different environment (I don’t work in the bathroom, obviously) and makes me feel refreshed for the afternoon.

      1. Admin of sys*

        oh, a midday shower instead of a morning one may work really well, I’ll need to try that! I’ve been trying really hard to not just hit the computer in lounge clothes, but if I scheduled the shower for lunch, I could walk in the morning, then work, /then/ shower.

    3. Christine*

      If you can set up a designated Work Space that you can walk away from, that can help immensely. I have my work laptop set up on the dining room table, while my personal computer (which I’m typing this on!) is at my desk. There’s only about 10 feet of distance between the two, but it helps my brain to switch out of work mode when I can close the laptop and walk away at the end of the workday.

      If that isn’t an option, try to create some other breaks between Work Time and Relaxing Time. Change into real clothes instead of PJs–I’ve even seen some people recommend putting on shoes, even if you aren’t going outside–and then at the end of the work day, change into comfy clothes. Things like that to give your brain a clear designation between when you’re working and when you’re not are really important.

      1. Southern Living in TX*

        Me too. I set up my “office” on the dining room table so I can spread out and then kept my personal computer at my desk in the living room where I normally go after work.

        I like the shoe idea – I might do socks though, as I don’t wear shoes in my house (Asian…take off your shoes when you enter, please; and the pollen is out of control right now. The dog is tracking it everywhere. LOL)

      2. CatCat*

        Love this idea. I have my personal computer sitting here next to my work computer. I didn’t even think of creating that mental space by just having them apart from one another.

        I am someone who is very excellent at and prefers compartmentalizing work space/things/time from home space/things/time. So aside from the odd travel day or rare ad hoc telework day, I don’t haven’t had my work computer at home and haven’t otherwise had to direct work calls to home.

    4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      find a way to create a sort of “commute” to distinguish between work time and not work time – some of my remote team go walk around the block, come in, sit down to work, and then walk around the block again when they’re done to “commute” home. I read something recently from someone who had a special candle or lamp that they lit/turned on during work hours and blew out/turned off when they were done. Continue to dress for work the way you would’ve done otherwise, and change into comfy clothes when you “get home”? Maybe, if you’re in your living room, put some sort of like… abstract birds in nature video on the TV or something, or stream some coffee shop background noise.

      As far as breaks – I set a one hour timer on my watch, to go off about halfway through every hour, and when it goes off, I get up and move around my house enough to make sure that the “stand” notifier on my Apple Watch recognized it, then re-set the timer.

      I also keep a pretty standard routine – start working between 6:40-7am, puppy breakfast at 8, my snack at 11am, lunch at 1, done working at 3:30, and when I’m done working, I lock my work computer and don’t look at it again until the next morning. If it’s a laptop, literally put it in a closet or something where you can’t see it.

    5. DKMA*

      I’ve found it helps to:
      1) Actively plan to waste some time in meetings to just talk about life with people
      2) Keep a stream of sarcastic texts/IMs with the coworkers who I used to have sarcastic walks to the cafeteria to buy coffee with
      3) Get up and play with my kids for 10 minutes randomly between the endless conference calls
      4) Have a scheduled 8:30 meeting to “start” my day and treat and consciously “stop” my day at some point, even if I have more work to do. I used to go home and have dinner and play with kids and put them to bed and send a few emails after all of that if I needed it. I try to keep to that cadence.

    6. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      I’ve been working from home full time since February. If you’re able, you need your work space separated from your living space. And you need a routine. Get up, take a shower and get dressed. Take a walk around the block (if allowed), or do a lap around your house. Drink a lot of water so you’re forced to get up frequently to use the bathroom. Exercise. If you have any streaming services there are plenty of free exercise programs available – if not go online and print out exercises that you can do at home with no equipment. Setup times to call/video chat with friends and family.

    7. Sara*

      I had to set working hours for myself to prevent this exact thing. I decided to foster a puppy when we got the WFH mandate (which honestly I think has helped my sanity a bit) so I’m getting up way earlier than I’m used to. Day 1 and 2, I just was like “oh I’m up, I’ll get to work” but then I couldn’t clock out early. So now, I’m working 8 to 4:30 (my hours when everything is normal) and I log off completely. The puppy needing to go out every two hours has helped too, so it breaks up the day a bit.
      Maybe designate a ‘coffee break’ time? Say at like 10 and 2, you step away. Go for a walk, work on a crossword or puzzle for ten minutes, read a chapter of a book or watch a youtube video, then log back in.

    8. Elenna*

      This is kind of the opposite of my usual issues when working from home TBH, but a youtuber I watch (Stephen, from channels StephenVlog and StephenPlays) is also the kind of person who will work all day if allowed, and he’s been working for himself, from home for years. He suggested writing up a schedule with breaks written in (e.g. “15 minute break at 10 am”) and keeping your work stuff in a separate area which you can leave when you’re done working.

    9. cncx*

      my boss is full time wfh and when this started, he gave us his top tips
      first, have a schedule and don’t let people email you at seven pm and expect you to answer. if your in office hours were x to y, they are x to y at home too. same with reaction or acknowledgement times, don’t hop right on an email just because someone sent it, respond like you would in the office.
      take a lunch break or if you don’t eat lunch, a midday break where you’re off vpn, off your phone. read a paper book, do something else in another room.
      in our jurisdiction we’re a couple days from shelter in place, so i’ve tried to go on a walk every day because those days will soon be over. i have a yard so ive been in that.

      1. Sara(h)*

        FYI, I live somewhere with a very stringent shelter in place order in place as of a few days ago, and through early April. Exercising outdoors (walking, hiking, cycling) is considered essential! In fact, it is encouraged (esp since gyms are closed), with 6′ of social distancing at all times. In other words, you can still take walks!

    10. Kes*

      Regarding isolation, your coworkers may be feeling the same way – do you have any sort of messaging program where you can chat with them from time to time?

    11. Jane Marple*

      One of my coworkers set up a virtual “coffee break” time, a ~30 minute meeting every day when folks who miss the camaraderie of co-workers can hop on and briefly connect and chat on a personal basis. Fab idea!

  15. Amber*

    My boss wants me to host social video calls for the whole (35-person) staff that is now working remote. Does anyone have any thoughts about how to structure a call like this? Unstructured video calls with 30 plus people seem like a recipe for disaster to me.

    1. Ginger*

      Utilize the chat function to field questions and comments. Run check-ins or polls every 15 min or so to keep people engaged and definitely figure out how to “mute all” when the call starts so folks have to opt-in to talk.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I did a grounding session with my career coach and 25 other women the other day and she managed it really well. She used the chat feature heavily, so we didn’t have a lot of people talking over each other. Started with a quick ice breaker (type your name, location, favorite dessert) and included things like, share how you feel in one word (before and after a guided meditation), type questions you want to ask, etc. 30-plus people calls for moderation-type hosting. Like, have everyone mute themselves and either raise their hands if they want to speak (and you call on them) or you do some kind of directed round-robin. It sounds very classroom, but otherwise I think it can get really out of hand.

      Bottom line, have an agenda. You can have a question a day, like, what is everyone planning on watching this evening, what is a hobby they want to focus on more, what is everyone having for dinner, etc. You can also schedule a pets-on-camera session.

      1. Data Bear*

        Moderation is really important for large calls. I just got done with two full days of 20-40 person video chats (replacing a cancelled workshop), and the thing that made it functional was having a moderator guiding the process. Especially for round-robin type stuff like introductions, you need somebody who decides whose turn it is to talk now.

        Sidebar: Also, unless everyone knows everyone else intimately, have people use their full names to sign in. Then you don’t have people sitting there trying to puzzle out who “GCS” is or wondering which of three Joes was able to make the call instead of paying attention to what people are actually saying.

      2. Veronica Mars*

        On a thread this week I saw that someone asks the interview question “What’s one thing you’ve learned more about just because it interested you?” I think that’s my new favorite ice breaker question.

    3. Alston*

      Show and tell? Don’t make it mandatory, but hey here is something cool in my house.

      Like elementary school. My friends and I video shared baby photos last night. I would love to see my coworkers weird frog collection, someone else’s black light KISS poster, dogs, etc.

      Could do two truths and a lie, etc.

      1. hermit crab*

        My team just had a call where we each did a two-minute “book report” on a favorite childhood book! It was really fun.

    4. Nita*

      If possible, set everyone’s default setting to “mute” when they come onto the call. And as with a regular meeting, an agenda and someone leading the call would be helpful.

    5. lunettes*

      my office is playing with the idea of a “virtual lunch table” – one suggestion that came up yesterday is spending time in randomly assigned breakout groups of 4-5 people, to sort of replicate the experience of chatting with the people sitting near you at the table. you could try something like that for part of the time?

      1. Kes*

        We’re doing something like this as well – we have a normal event where you’re assigned a random, varied group of people to have lunch with. Normally this is more just to meet others from different teams that you may not have gotten a chance to work with or talk to as much, but they just announced a virtual version also to help foster connection while we’re all isolated

    6. WhoKnows*

      I had someone try to do this the other day. Most people did not want to video in (god-given right to look like crap when working from home!) but those who did, the biggest thing was that they did not mute themselves. If the person who is running the meeting says that everyone has to keep themselves on mute unless they’re speaking, that may help.

    7. Veronica Mars*

      Check out poll anywhere. The more limited version is free, and its really fun. You ask people questions, and they text in answers. You can also do polls and even “competitions”. The answers populate on the screen for everyone to see.

      We use it a lot during trainings and events. In the beginning as an ice breaker. In the end to solicit feedback because people are more willing to give that anonymously.

    8. Kes*

      Yeah, that’s a little difficult because normally you won’t have 35 people talking all together in a group – it would naturally break down into smaller conversations, unless there’s one topic everyone is aligned on discussing. I think having topics in mind to guide the discussion is important, and be ready to facilitate and either let the conversation flow and/or ask questions to engage people if needed (and ensure it’s not just a few people monopolizing with a conversation that isn’t really including the others)

    9. JustMyImagination*

      we’ve done a few different things for virtual happy hours: introduce your pet, tips for working from home, shout outs to thank people, etc. really just putting out a general topic and letting people run with it. It’s meant to be unstructured so moderating conversation is pretty light handed as long as people are taking turns.

    10. SweetestCin*

      So I just witnessed my oldest child (5th grader) participate in the first of likely many “meet up with the teacher” Zoom meetings. Imagine 30 ten/eleven year olds who have been isolated for since roughly Friday last week and are starving for interaction with their peer group.

      My suggestions:
      1. Figure the first one is going to be a bit chaotic. We witnessed that it was
      2. Lay down some ground rules – the teacher laid out that everyone needed to be out of bed, PJ’s were okay, the school rules about language use applied, nobody was allowed to interrupt each other, etc.
      3. Have a structure and agenda.

    11. Rachel*

      What if the call had some sort of agenda, but focused on social? For example, everyone could go around and talk about a high, low, and uh oh moment they have had. Everyone could ask for advice for a problem they are having related to work remotely. Everyone could share what they are doing for breaks to move their bodies, rest their minds, etc.

    12. JBX*

      We’ve had a couple informal “water cooler” chats that were quite fun. Definitely plan for interaction. Your tool likely has a “raise hand” or some indicator feature where you can call on people to respond verbally – or go down the list. Group activities where they can answer a poll and respond by keying chat are good.

      If you have a collaboration tool like Poll Anywhere or Mentimeter, you can incorporate other things like building a Word cloud are a big hit. People always like those.

      Be aware that video may bog things down, so encourage everyone to have a profile picture loaded. And if you have the option of the meeting via computer and/or audio via telephone – you may want to use phone for audio and computer for the visuals, at least for the key presenters. The phone transmission is often more reliable than the computer audio transmission.

    13. The Ginger Ginger*

      pets! If people are working at home with pets, have them introduce them. I’ve really enjoyed seeing my coworkers’ pets this week.

    14. Quandong*

      If you use Zoom, even in the free version, the person who establishes the session has the ability to control the settings of everyone else. So in the one example I have seen (with a bunch of teachers) everyone was automatically set to silent, and the ‘raise hand’ function in the Chat box was used a lot.

      Because it was practice the teachers were trying out everything they expected from children, so it had the potential to be chaotic. If you get the settings right for your particular group, and separately send them a list of processes you’re trying, I think it has potential to suit you. It’s also possible to start everyone off with audio only if you have any concerns about people inadvertently having the webcam on when they were expecting audio!

      You might consider checking out a Zoom tutorial to see if it meets your needs.

  16. Ginger*

    I’m keeping a running list of companies that I will be sure to support, and not support, once we are through all of this.

    For example, Sweetgreen, which is setting up outposts at hospitals to give healthcare workers healthy, FREE, meals. I will happily pay $$ for a salad from them in the future.

    There are number of large tech companies that are now 99.9% remote. Those CEOs are leading from the front.

    1. LeahS*

      Me too! Because I come from retail/food service before I had an office job, I am specifically reading my e-mails to see how large companies with low wage employees are handling this. I’d rather support those that are supporting their employees.

        1. Scared and fed up*

          I work for a major coffee company.
          They say we’re are an “essential” business. We are not.
          No social distance from customers.
          If people keep coming in to buy coffee rather than making some at home, we will continue to be exposed daily.

          1. Scared and fed up*

            I appreciate customers making note of which businesses are showing care for their low wage workers.
            If you think a retailer is not, you can voice that concern directly to them online or by phone. Often customer concerns are more important than employee concerns.
            Strength in numbers!

            1. Valancy Snaith*

              All Starbucks locations in the US and Canada transitioned to pickup or drive-thru only, depending on the region, but it’s still not incredibly helpful. It’s still putting baristas in the position of having to interact directly with customers who are coughing on them, having to constantly sanitize everything in the store, and still forcing them to choose between exposure or no paycheque. Honestly, the only ethical thing for Starbucks to do is close.

              1. Diahann Carroll*

                Yup. A lot of their baristas probably also have to take public transportation to work, especially in big cities. So even if no customers are congregating in their stores, they’re still being exposed to the virus having to commute back and forth.

        2. hummana hummana hummana*

          trader joe’s in my area had a COVID-19 case. they closed the store and are compensating the employees scheduled to work while the store is closed. already liked them but that was nice to read!

      1. desdemona*

        Hot Topic closed all stores with pay through March 30th! I do wonder about their warehouse workers, though I suppose they’re more focused on limiting contact with the public…

    2. Threeve*

      I might have to start rooting for the Mavericks and watching Shark Tank, because Mark Cuban is the only billionaire who seems like he is genuinely advocating for small businesses on a personal and political level.

    3. Valancy Snaith*

      In that case, stop going to Starbucks. Starbucks is giving its employees an incredibly hard time by staying open, exposing employees and their families to disease and giving them the choice between disease and getting paid. It’s utterly horrifying how they’re lobbying to be considered “essential services.”

      1. Elenna*

        ughhhh suddenly I’m very glad one of my friends quit working for Starbucks a few months ago

      2. Diahann Carroll*

        I’m one of the biggest Starbucks addicts you’ll ever meet, but they are NOT in any way, shape, or form “essential.” They need to stop.

    4. Sara*

      I’m trying hard to avoid big chains and support small businesses near me. Like if I want take out, I’ll go to the cafe down the street doing to-go orders and not order Dominos. I know the big chains will survive, the other places are less likely.

      1. londonedit*

        I’m doing the same. I’m lucky that I have a lot of really good independent shops near me, and it would be awful if they didn’t survive this, so instead of buying bread from the small local supermarket I’m actually bothering to go to the independent bakery a few doors down and I’m spending the extra on that artisan sourdough loaf. Some of our local restaurants have switched to take-away/delivery only, so I’m planning to support them by ordering food once a week or so. It’s a win-win, I get to have takeaway and they get some business!

      2. Nerdy Library Clerk*

        I’m worried about local business as well. By governor’s orders, restaurants are take out only and most places have worked out pretty good no-contact curbside or table-by-the-door pick up. Assuming they’re doing good hygiene in food prep, I’m not sure take out from local restaurants might not be *safer* than going to the grocery store for food. Certainly you’d be exposed to a lot fewer people. (Or expose a lot fewer people. I still find the idea that one can spread covid-19 without having symptoms to be the most terrifying thing about it. Especially as someone currently struggling with seasonal allergies. At least I *hope* they’re just seasonal allergies.)

        I’ve done take-out from a few local places just to support them in this. (Well, and they have tasty food.)

      3. periwinkle*

        I’ve been using DoorDash anyway and they (along with the other food delivery services) have been ramping up operations and featuring independent/local chain restaurants that are staying open. Our favorite Thai place is one of them so we’re going to order even more frequently from them and elsewhere. Heck, we might not even touch our freezer stash for a while!

    5. Eliza*

      If you are willing (and others as well), I’d love if you would share your list. I hadn’t really thought of this angle (I’ve been mostly focused on how to support local small businesses), but I would love to be able to direct my money towards those companies that are doing the right thing and away from those companies that aren’t.

    6. many bells down*

      I freaking LOVE Old Navy, but I was prepared to boycott them forever. They FINALLY closed their stores down yesterday.

    7. Sarah*

      A little PSA – If you can shop/stock up from a local farmer, please do so. In my area, farmers markets shut down, so we’re offering door-to-door touchless delivery. It’s a win for everyone. You don’t have to go to a grocery store, and we still make some money.

    8. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      A retired footballer in the UK now owns a hotel. He is paying all his staff in full for the duration even if they aren’t working, and offering the hotel rooms free to healthcare workers who can’t go home.

      Now that’s an employer.

      Similarly, a coffee/sandwich chain (Pret) is offering free hot drinks and 50% off everything else to healthcare workers until further notice.

    9. Diahann Carroll*

      There are number of large tech companies that are now 99.9% remote.

      This is my company. (Well, we’re large-ish.)

      1. bunniferous*

        My son works for a small tech start up and they have been working remote for awhile now. Thanks to them being proactive (in a lot of ways) and my son giving me a heads up, I have toilet paper and supplies. Meanwhile my boss shut down our office and we are all working from home, even the admins. I am in a business where we are required to take continuing ed and our commission is extending deadlines and approving online webinars to satisfy the requirements.

        1. Kat in VA*


          Curious why you said “…even the admins” when you mentioned your entire office working from home.

          Is there a reason the admins would need to be in the office?

          I’m an EA to four execs, and I can do 99% of my job remotely. The only thing I can’t do is package up stuff to be shipped out of the office, which happens rarely enough to not even mention.

      2. Kat in VA*

        Mine as well. We’re not huge as a company but our parent company is a huge defense contractor. They got out ahead of this and transitioned us early.

  17. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

    If anyone wants to help out domestic workers (e.g. nannies, housekeepers) who are unable to work with sick leave and insurance can I recommend the National Domestic Workers Alliance ? If you employ someone in such a role they have a platform to help you manager providing such coverage. For everyone else, we can donate.

  18. Lizzsoon*

    We’re meeting in an hour to find out what the plan is for our department. I suspect it is, “Come into work or take unpaid leave. Here are some Clorox wipes.”

      1. noahwynn*

        I work for an airline and we somehow keep finding them. It is funny to see all the different brands they keep coming up with though.

        1. many bells down*

          I found an unopened bottle of hand sanitizer in my house yesterday and I told my husband we’re buying a yacht! I never buy the stuff and I have no idea where it even came from.

          1. Curmudgeon in California*

            In February, I bought a case of 1 oz bottles as a giveaway to my vendors at a convention in May. I did the same thing last year, but I wanted to not sweat getting them in time. That case is now all the hand sanitizer in my house. I gave the convention organizers a link I had to order custom branded bottles. They waffled, and now the company is out of stock until July.

    1. Wannabe Disney Princess*

      Yup. We just got an email that my company is an essential business (it’s not) so we are required to come in (no reason, easily able to work from home) and that if there’s a shelter in place order we have to contact HR and they’ll send us a letter that we can use to go to and from.

  19. Anon + Drowning*

    2 Working Adults + Little Kids — How are You Making it Work?
    Our kids are little and very different ages, so we can’t really leave them unsupervised. They also don’t all nap. This means my husband and I are having to figure out a shift-system for us so that we can both get our work done. We don’t have a ton of flexibility/off time in our job to just take a ton of PTO (also dealing with a little job security concerns now). So we’re trying to keep as close to our 40-hour targets as possible. We’d love insights from what other similar families are doing during this time.

    Option 1: Does one of us work from 4am-Noon and the other 1pm-9pm every weekday? Giving us only really 1 hour together as a family during the week but then 2 full days together/free on the weekends…

    Option 2: Do we just give into a 7-day workweek and one of us do 6:30am-Noon and the other 1-6:30pm every single day? Thereby letting everyone be together for bedtime/parents have some more kid-free time together, but never a true break day…

    Option 3: Or some adjusted hybrid schedule of either a 5- or 7-day system where then we both push some of those work hours to late evenings after the kids go to bed? But then robbing us of adult/kid-free time and also wearing us both out by us both being up later (while the kids will still do their standard early rise)…

    There’s no good answer here, but would love any tips/tricks similar folks have figured out.

    1. Ann Perkins*

      We’re looking at probably having both of us WFH with a 3 year old and 1 year old but haven’t figured out times yet. I don’t think we’ll do solid 8 hour chunks though – I think we’re likely to do something like shifts of Parent 1 6 am – 9 am, Parent 2 9 am – noon, parent 1 noon – 3 pm, parent 2 3 pm – 6 pm, break for dinner and bedtime, then a couple hours in the evening. That way neither one of us are inaccessible for too long of chunks. My husband’s job is slower than mine these days so it might evolve but that’s what I’m envisioning so far. Ours still nap though so we might also both be able to squeeze in time during that. If you have some that nap and some don’t, I would let the older kid watch a movie or something during that time as “quiet time” to take advantage of it.

      We’re still pending on this though as our daycare is still open. I feel somewhat guilty for using it but a lot of parents have already pulled their kids so there’s not many people there anyway.

      1. Tableau Wizard*

        This is the boat I’m in. Still using daycare. They’re taking excellent precautions – parents aren’t walking kids inside anymore, temp checks everyday, they already used a hospital grade cleaner, etc.

        But if daycare closes, I’m also considering making a deal with a second family from our same daycare to “isolate together” – they have kids the same age and we could swap days / take shifts. I think it would be a feasible option for us.

    2. Mila*

      Same situation. Right now splitting the day and neither is getting enough done. I’m working more post kid bedtimes but I’m just not able to spend all my time working and taking care of kids with no down time with no end in sight.

    3. aelle*

      We stay flexible. My husband typically works the hours before the child is up, and I prefer to work until I go to bed, but between the 2, we don’t have a fixed schedule. It depends on who has calls when, who has the most urgent tasks, who the child needs or wants most at any given point. Also, all of our coworkers and staff know about our situation, so they expect noise on calls, etc. So far it’s going Ok

    4. WM*

      We put together a homeschooling schedule, which gives our kids a clear schedule to stick to – but gives plenty of breaks throughout the day. This way, my husband and I can each take turns working – but we’re constantly taking breaks to attend to the homeschooling, snacks, lunch, etc.

      It is working pretty well – for example morning is math and reading so I’m overseeing that while my husband is working. Then it’s snack time and art – so my husband oversees that while I get to work. So we basically are living hour by hour but hey, doing what we gotta do, right?

    5. JelloStapler*

      My boys are 6 and 9 and thankfully relatively self-sufficient. That has been a godsend, plus my boss and coworkers know I am home with them and give me grace. I had to let them have tablets for 2 hours yesterday to get work done, which I hated but – not much I could do!

    6. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      A colleague is taking shifts with her husband. One works in the morning, the other in the afternoon, and since they’re small and go to bed early, they both work at night. Not ideal, but if your kids are small and can’t be left unsupervised, it’s probably the only way to go. If companies are reasonable, they need to be flexible.

    7. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      I live with my parents, both over 6o y.o. Dad is super aggressive and refuses to stay put, we have at least one shouting match per day. He’s so loud he’s ruining my productivity, and when he’s not shouting he’s locked up in the toilet for hours.
      I don’t know what else I can do.

    8. JQWADDLE*

      We have four kiddos – two school agers and two little ones ages 4 and 1. We are doing option 1 with both working parents working from home. My spouse is working 5 AM until 1 PM and I am working 12-8 PM. The kids get their screen time in the overlap hour.

      We are in a state where schools are closed so we are also doing the hybrid homeschooling thing.

      One thing we are doing is eating meals together. I am sure we will be incorporating breaks together soon. We each take the kids outside during our “shift”. We could easily do something as a family for 15 minutes during outside time.

    9. Lucky*

      My company may be furloughing or cutting some people to part time. If your company would consider doing that, you might volunteer to temporarily go part time, or see if you can take vacation/sick time in hourly chucks in order to create a part time schedule. I know it’s an extreme option that will hit your budget, but at least you will be able to do most of your job without worrying that you are either failing to keep up with work (particularly when layoffs and closures could hit at any minute) or failing to find time for your family.

    10. Leah K.*

      My husband and I are both working from home with our 1 year old and a 5 year old. Both of our kids’ daycare facilities are actually still open, but I do not feel comfortable taking them to daycare with COVID-19 cases on the rise on my neighborhood. We are both lucky that our employers are pretty reasonable and have the mindset of “everyone needs to be flexible”. So, I’ve been on conference calls with my 1 year old jumping in my lap making occasional happy noises (I was on mute unless I was the one speaking). I’ve also relaxed my rules about screen time for my 5 year old. She’s also been skyping with her grandparents for hours at a time, which is fine with me. I am hoping the weather improves soon so that we can have the older one play in our back yard (right now it’s a mushy swamp from all the rain we’ve been having).

      1. Anon + Drowning*

        This was almost us exactly – except we have a third kid in-between our 1 and 6 year old. We also pulled our kids early from daycare as kids catch and carry everything (so even if they don’t get super sick/show symptoms, kids are absolutely spreading this thing).

        Up until today, my husband’s job was requiring them to actually go into the office (hence it being harder to juggle kid watching as literally there was only one person around to supervise). But thankfully when he came home for our “shift change,” he let me know that they’d all be remote from now on. So I think just being able to have two people around to switch off as needed will be so much more helpful and will let us be more flexible/let work be more “normal”…

    11. Cccc*

      We’re doing a version of your option 1, but with a family lunch break and sometimes a walk to the park in the middle of the day. Good luck!

    12. Sarra*

      it’s ok to use screens to give yourself some uninterrupted time. it’s OKAY. you and your spouse don’t have to suddenly turn into a magical work-from-home-and-parent-from-home-full-time wizard family. the kids will be ok.

      Signed, someone with a special needs 12-year-old who is getting a LOT more screen time than normal…

    13. anon_for_this*

      I came here looking exactly for this conversation. I have a 10 month old, both husband and I are working from home (even before this, I was a full-time remote employee). I talked to my boss last week about what to do if daycare shuts down and she gave me the spiel about remote work not being a substitute for childcare and that I am expected to do my eight hours. I cannot fathom how my husband and I are going to be expected to work full shifts each every day AND take care of a baby. But I really want to pull my kiddo out of daycare this week as my area now has community spread. I have no idea what to do and think my boss is crazy.

  20. Veronica Mars*

    I’m really frustrated that my work’s entire excuse not to shut down is that there have been no confirmed cases at my company yet.
    I strongly suspect that the reason there have been no confirmed cases is because doctors are NOT testing mild cases.

    My husband and I just finished up week 2 of quarantine, which we had to fight with our work to have honored because it’s not ‘official’. The doctor confirmed that what we had is a match for the symptoms, but that CDC guidelines did not allow her to test us. I’ll post the CDC guidelines below.

    1. Veronica Mars*

      “Mildly ill patients should be encouraged to stay home and contact their healthcare provider by phone for guidance about clinical management. Patients who have severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, should seek care immediately. Older patients and individuals who have underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised should contact their physician early in the course of even mild illness.”

    2. Grearness*

      Yep, my company has no confirmed cases either. But I’ve been having symptoms and I was refused a test because of the shortage. At least my company is taking this seriously and ordered everyone working closely with me to work from home immediately, many for the first time ever.

    3. MissMeghan*

      Ugh I feel your pain. My husband’s company is the same, but the thing is they’re not testing community spread here, so how can they wait for confirmed cases when cases aren’t being confirmed? They may as well write “you’re expendable to us” in big bold letters over the door with the way they’re treating employees.

      Thankfully I’m the one who gets to make the call at my little office, so we’re working from home with pop-ins here and there to grab papers, etc. since the employees haven’t worked form home before and are still working out the kinks.

      1. Veronica Mars*

        My favorite was the letter from the president “We certainly don’t want anything to do anything that makes them uncomfortable… but here’s a list of reasons you shouldn’t be uncomfortable… and since there’s so many logical reasons to be totally ok with coming to work, you are free to use your available paid leave (read: vacation time) for this.”

    4. designbot*

      Same. My company has no confirmed cases… but I suspect I have it. 7 days of headache, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and slightly raised temperature. My doctor told me, “presume you are infected and quarantine until you have been symptom-free for >24 hours” and to call her if it became difficult to breathe.
      I get the feeling that half my office things I’m being a big baby over a sore throat, and half thinks I am about to die. I’m trying really hard to just be matter of fact, because I’m being exactly the right level of cautious, specifically so that nobody else needs to worry.

  21. Compromised immunity family*

    I’m having such a hard time finding *actual* guidelines for what people who live with immunocompromised individuals should be doing (when possible) to minimize the risk of transmission. I live with 1 person over 70 with emphysema and 1 person (husband) with suppressed immunity due to arthritis meds, plus an infant for good measure. All I can find is what to do to reduce exposure once diagnosed. Should husband just ask his doctor for specific guidelines? How are others in this boat dealing with it?

    1. Veronica Mars*

      The CDC has good guidelines out. I’ll link below.

      But the biggest piece of advice is to perform in house quarantine.
      “Household members should stay in another room or be separated from the patient as much as possible. Household members should use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available.”

      My dad is an emergency responder, and their new protocol is to have the person who is sick wear a mask in the ambulance (if it doesn’t further compromise breathing). This is more effective than thenon-sick wearing masks, because they’re still at risk of touching a surface that has cough droplets on it.
      “The patient should wear a facemask when you are around other people. If the patient is not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), you, as the caregiver, should wear a mask when you are in the same room as the patient.”

      1. Veronica Mars*

        I noticed you said “All I can find is what to do to reduce exposure once diagnosed.” but I do believe that for now, the safest course of action is to act as though you are diagnosed. Especially since with this particular disease, you can spread it before you show symptoms.

        1. nuttysaladtree*

          Same question. I have an elderly relative at home and another relative who is a healthcare worker. It may be a pain trying to find a good place to hunker down and be on the phone, as well as set up cybersecurity on whatever device I’d use at home, but I prefer to reduce the risk of anyone getting it. Am a temp worker, if that matters. tl;dr also wondering if I should push harder to work remotely.

        2. Curmudgeon in California*


          It is really Schrodinger’s virus. You don’t know you have it until you have symptoms, but you can infect bunches of people for up to two weeks before you show symptoms and know you have it.

          IMO, the default is to assume that anyone you come in contact with is infected but not showing symptoms, and act accordingly.

    2. Compromised immunity family*

      Clarification: Sorry, I was not clear in my post. No one in the household is sick yet. I’m talking about reducing the risk of carrying it home from work on a daily basis. Should I be pressing for WFH more assertively?

      1. Tableau Wizard*

        Press WFH as well as you can, and then do the following:

        While in the community, keep your distance, wash your hands, use hand sanitizer and don’t forget to disinfect your high touch items like phones, keys, credit cards, etc.

        When you return from the community, have a “transition zone” where you remove your shoes and spray/wipe them down with disinfectant, remove your clothes and launder them ASAP, take a shower and wash yourself well. Wipe down keys, phone, purse/etc.

        1. Compromised immunity family*

          Thanks, I do some of those, but haven’t instituted a transition zone and that is an excellent idea.

      2. Josephine Beth NotAmy*

        If you can get specific guidance from the drs, that might help. My child is immunocompromised and her medical team just told us yesterday that my husband (who has a customer-facing job that can’t be done at home) should stop working for the time being. His job is being very supportive, thank goodness, but I’m nervous about how we’ll be without that income.

      3. Veronica Mars*

        I don’t think my advice changes. If you pick it up at work, you will carry it home and risk infecting people before symptoms show up. Its not just about whats on your clothes, its about whats in your body.

        What you can do to help is to do as much as humanly possible to avoid picking up the virus while out – frequent hand washing, not touching face, etc. And I do agree with the “transition” “decontamination” zone. But I just worry a little that those things will lull you into a false sense of security. If at all possible, I’d push for WFH. Especially since in this case, the companies who are the least willing to allow WFH are also the ones most likely to pressure sick people to come to work or hide their illness.

      4. SofiaDeo*

        I got a severe form of leukemia with a mortality rate of 50% in 3 years, early 2011. I have a medical background. The “transition zone” (remove shoes, outer clothing, leave purse/packages at door) is critical. I also wear a hat, and washable gloves/mask during flu & pollen season. (I have several pairs of inexpensive gloves for this: gas pump handles, public doors, signing things, etc.) Wash or sanitize hands then put on inside house clothes/shoes. A mild bleach solution (CDC website has the info) will disinfect anything you think is potentially COVID contaminated (you don’t need expensive disinfectants); otherwise clean everything with soap & water. Try for alcohol based spray on disinfectant & hand sanitizer that isn’t loaded with toxic chemicals. It took them 3 weeks to send my order, but stores are out anyway…When I worked in a microbiology lab, my boss stressed good cleaning techniques with soap & we only used disinfectants for known contamination (this was in the 80’s). If you can afford it, air purifiers are great. The best IMO are the positive/negative ion emitters developed for NASA. I use the Air Oasis brand. They recently came out with a model that installs in HVAC or furnace, in addition to portable units. These will kill viruses, mold, bacteria, dust mites, make pollen clump & fall to floor, destroy VOC’s. If finances are tight, look for brands that have a UV light and/or ionizer (like the Sharper Image Ionic) or those with a washable HEPA filter (Mammoth & Therapure are 2 I use) you can turn on intermittently (these often have lights & you can’t sleep with that function enabled). All you really need is 1 unit, sleep with it in bedroom & move to whichever room you are in during the day. Change pillowcases daily & air fluff comforters often if feeling sick. (Drying out viruses kills them quicker) I even cover my couch with a sheet that gets changed weekly; more often if I am ill. I have had roughly 1 viral or bacterial infection a year but haven’t yet been hospitalized. I slept in the same room as hubby when he had a cold by using the UV light all day in bedroom & changing pillowcases/air fluff blankets daily and did’t catch it(He got it on a trip home for Dad’s birthday;Dad got sick but wouldn’t cover his mouth when he coughed/sneezed. Hubby & his sister got it, hubby’s cleared up 2 weeks earlier than sis after they left). The room/bathroom sequestering is great but not everyone can do that. Learn to use knuckles to press buttons instead of fingertips. Get a nail brush & scrub fingertips & palms of hands. It’s a pain, but I learned to do it over the past decade and it enabled me to avoid really serious infections. And I am still alive & kicking!

    3. Stella*

      The thing is that the guidelines are trying to balance a lot of things. My suggestion would be to be at least as strict as the official guidance. Since asymptomatic transmission is possible and this thing can even live on surfaces for some period of time, I think if you live with someone who is high risk, you should do your best to make sure that everyone who is around the high risk person is behaving as though they are also at high risk. Ideally this means everyone stays inside as much as possible and for me, leaving the house and being around other people every day is not what I would do if I were high risk. If there is a way to either live separately from high risk relatives or else work from home, that would be my strong suggestion. If not, that is a harder call.

  22. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    Tip for people who are suddenly spending all their time at home and not going anywhere: Be mindful of your car batteries.

    I went out to do a curbside grocery pickup yesterday, which was the fourth time in almost a month that I’ve left my house (even when the world isn’t melting, I’m a pretty big homebody, especially during the winter), and none of my drives have been more than a few minutes. So there I was, sitting in the pickup line with my headlights and such running on battery power for ten minutes because I hadn’t thought about it, and then when I went to start my car — bupkis.

    LUCKILY, I keep a USB battery backup pack in my car that has a jumper cable attachment – because, even in the best of times, finding a non-skeezy stranger, who has an available car and the time to assist, and the space to get their car into a position where the cables (if anybody even has cables) can reach between the batteries, is a fraught proposition. But with the USB battery jumper, it took me thirty seconds to jump-start my own car, and most of that was remembering where the hood-pop button was. No need to get near anybody, I didn’t block the line for very long, I didn’t need to get AAA or roadside assistance involved, and I felt pretty darn proud of myself afters. (Well, aside from that part where I let my battery run down because I didn’t think about it. But.)

    1. Daniel*

      Was thinking about the same time–I’m under voluntary self-quarantine right now, but I’m thinking about ducking out late tonight to roll around my block a few times.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Just a couple hours before I went out to do the pickup, I had said something on Facebook about how intelligence is learning from your own experiences and wisdom is learning from other people’s experiences. So when I got home, I was like “You know that thing I said recently about wisdom is learning from other people’s experiences? Let’s practice that!” :)

    2. Stella70*

      For the feeble, can you give me a link as to what you are talking about? I’ve not heard of this before, but living in MN, I should already have one.

    3. Meghan*

      We have a solar panel hooked up in our backup car so it keeps it charged while it sits in our driveway, not being used. It’s not a custom thing, so if you search for “solar car batter charger” you can find something useful.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        oh handy!! my car is garaged, so less useful for me, but a good option for many. (I’ll pass it on to the housemate who doesn’t have garage privileges.)

    4. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Make sure you let your engine run for a while with radio, etc off so it can charge up the battery. Google for how long it’ll take.

    5. MsMaryMary*

      Unless you live in an area that is in full lockdown, driving around is technically still social isolation. Just be careful when getting gas! A long drive might be nice to break up your routine. Or go to a park that’s a bit further out for a walk or hike.

  23. Rebecca*

    Central PA office worker here – I’ve been working from home since Tuesday morning, had very little time Monday afternoon to get things around to do so, after our Governor issued orders for any non-essential workers to work from home if possible, honestly, I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. We were allowed to take our laptops, docking stations, large monitors, etc. I have everything set up now, VPN is working good, I do get disconnected 1 or 2x per day but I guess that’s to be expected. Glad I had a small laser printer at home, it’s coming in handy.

    Some things I’m doing because WFH is not encouraged or allowed except under extreme circumstances at my office, so I am not familiar with it at all:

    * Getting up, same morning routine, getting dressed, coffee, etc. except no commute
    * Clocking in and out at the same time (I’m non-exempt)
    * I set my computer stuff up just like I had it at my desk at work, so it’s familiar
    * I’m keeping the same schedule, lunch at noon, set break times to stretch my legs, radio on to classic rock
    * Even though there’s a TV in my basement bunker, it stays off, but I did listen to some episodes of an old Western I like yesterday afternoon while working on mundane tasks
    * Keeping connected with my coworkers on Skype

    So far, so good, I’m finding I get more work done because there are a lot fewer distractions.

    Hope everyone stays safe and well.

    1. MissDisplaced*

      Keeping the same work schedule is really important in WFH scenarios. Get up & get dressed just as though it’s work, sit at a desk or table, take lunch, etc.

  24. bassclefchick*

    My university has effectively cancelled the rest of the semester. Distance learning only. I am considered essential personnel because I work in facilities. Our call volume has dropped and I am BORED. Yesterday, we only entered 72 new orders. That’s usually accomplished in a few hours.

    Next week, my city’s buses are going to a modified Saturday schedule. Which means NONE of the commuter routes will run. UM, healthcare workers and other essential personnel still go to work!!!

    So – what are your universities or public transportation systems doing?

    1. Asenath*

      University essentially closed, although online courses are proceeding. Some are switching to online, but I have my doubts as to how that will go – courses designed for in-person teaching, teachers who are not used to online courses, IT people trying to troubleshoot all the problems, etc. Any course with a performance or lab component is of course cancelled, as is research. They seem to be still working through the issue of staff – very few are designated as essential in the union contract, but there are hints that in some cases some non-essential staff are, um, encouraged to stay at work, so that’s probably being dealt with through the usual channels. Our public transportation has cancelled some routes that are primarily for post-secondary institutions and offices that are now work from home, but there are alternate routes for these areas and so far no one seems to be thinking of putting the entire system on a weekend schedule!

      We recently went through the same sort of scenario with a shutdown of over a week due to bad weather, so we should be used to this by now.

    2. nm*

      My university is completely closed. A small number of buildings are still being kept open and the IT department is working in overdrive to make WFH feasible for so many people (not to mention all the students who still need to access university systems!)

    3. fposte*

      We’re largely a car town, but I know public transportation has waived all charges for use for the time being; I haven’t heard whether schedules are being cut down. University is online only (fortunately, my program has long had a huge online component, so our faculty, staff, and students are well equipped, but that’s not true of everybody). My department pushed remote work for everybody, so you had to argue if you *did* want to go into the building rather than if you didn’t. It’s been awkward and frustrating and imperfect, but overall given the explosiveness of the situation I think the handling has been okay.

      My work is pretty unusual in the university scheme so I’ve had special challenges, but those are mostly being dealt with in a flurry of emails with businesses and plans with colleagues.

    4. Dr. KMnO4*

      I teach in one of the STEM disciplines at a rural community college. We have transitioned completely to distance/remote learning for the remainder of the Spring semester. For now the college library will remain open (with reduced hours) because many of our students have limited (or no) access to the internet at home. If that changes I’m not sure how our students will be able to complete their coursework.

      All of the labs in my discipline are cancelled since our students had already done several experiments during the first half of the semester. Luckily 2 of my 3 classes were already hybrid classes, so it will not be too difficult for me or my students to transition to entirely online instruction. My third class, however, was never intended to be an online class so I am worried about how the transition will go.

    5. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      We were about to start this week, and last Friday night they decided to halt all activities indefinitely, disobeying Ministry of Education guidelines. Fortunately, the Government took the same decision on Sunday afternoon for all levels (Daycares, Kinder, Primary, High and Universities). Depending of how long this takes, the entire academic year may be lost.

    6. Doc in a Box*

      I work in a medical school. We were sent an email late Tuesday 3/10 that effective immediately all med school courses are online. Yesterday they shut down the clinical clerkships(trying to preserve protective equipment like masks and gloves) as well as all laboratory-based research. My colleague had to euthanize all her mice. :(

      Clinical outpatient visits for patients are moving to phone effective this week, and hopefully we will be able to add video shortly. Anyone requesting an in-person visit instead of telehealth needs to be approved by provider first, and only one other person may accompany the patient; on arrival at the clinic they are pre-screened for fever before entering the building.

      1. AnonoDoc*

        We shut down our clinical rotations as well. I believe all this was ACGME guidance.
        There are exceptions for research involving live animals, otherwise all on-campus research is shut down as well.

    7. Zephy*

      Private university here.

      They asked questions and checked temperatures on Monday, which was probably helpful, but haven’t done so since then, which isn’t. I got a wristband on Monday and was instructed to wear it the rest of the week. At this point, all it signifies is that I didn’t have a fever on Monday.

      Classes are being transitioned to online, but still meeting on-ground as of now; all of our classrooms are thankfully already set up to livestream a lecture, with cameras and microphones and such. IT is running around like gangbusters upgrading everyone’s computers, so theoretically we office folk who do literally 100% of our job tasks on a computer will be able to WFH. The current major roadblock is that we already remotely access the student database program from the office. Everything else is now in the cloud (thanks, Office365); I don’t think the license or the version for the database software we use allows us to access it through a browser or something, though.

      I’m not sure what our public transit is doing, but I commute by car and I still see at least some buses running for now. I have noticed a dramatic reduction in traffic, which has been rather nice; I left the house 5 minutes late this morning and got to work 10 minutes early.

      Both of my parents also work at other universities. My dad’s an adjunct professor at a state college, so he’s been transcribing his lecture content into an online course format, which is thankfully pretty easy to do with their software – I think they use Canvas. My mom and her husband work for a private college, are both high-risk, and they live in an area being hit harder at this moment in time, so they’ve been doing what they can from home for a couple of weeks now.

      My partner is a student at yet another state college. Their spring break was the first week of March, they went back last week business-as-usual, and then last Thursday they declared Spring Break Part II: Coronavirus Boogaloo, and suspended classes again until the 22nd while they transitioned them all to online. He’s taking a film photography class this term, and it’s not clear how that transition to online format is going to go; he needs a darkroom space and the accompanying equipment/chemicals to develop his film, which of course our house isn’t outfitted with.

    8. PrincessFlyingHedgehog*

      This is spring break week for the university I work at. All instructors are scrambling to switch to online instruction, and we’re going to be online till the end of the semester (if not longer). Spring break is extended through next Tuesday; classes resume on Wednesday. The university has directed everyone to work from home unless they perform essential functions that can’t be done remotely. What to do about research labs is still a big question. Commencement hasn’t been cancelled yet — I would guess they’re exploring a virtual option.
      I work with a specific student population, and I’m struggling to keep all our communications (email, social media) up-to-date with the most recent guidelines, as recommendations are rapidly changing.
      Overall, I think my university is handling things pretty well, and they are doing an excellent job of keeping faculty/staff informed as things change.

    9. LondonBridges*

      My university (I’m a student) was on spring break last week, and extended spring break to this week and extended the semester a week, while going to completely online learning, shutting down dorms (save some exceptional cases) and encouraging even students who live off-campus to go home completely. Moving out was not fun, with everyone else also scrambling to get out. I believe all of campus, save a single dorm and the caf at very limited hours, has been closed off to students and staff. Probably the best part of it all is the new Facebook group that some of the students started as a way for students, parents, alumni, and staff to ask for and offer help with pretty much anything around the shutdown.

  25. Goodbye Toby*

    I am taking this WFH as an opportunity to disconnect from my toxic workplace and try to get a fresh perspective. Alison has written a lot about how a dysfunctional job can warp your sense of what’s normal, and it is eye-opening to get a break from that now (the drama takes up even more time that I realized! I can work on things without weird nitpicking and the world doesn’t end!). We also have different levels of mgmt giving different instructions on WFH (big boss says mandatory, direct supervisor doesn’t really buy it), which is always fun and super aggravating in a situation as serious/widespread as this.

    1. Floor Food Critic*

      Hear hear! My work is on a rotating WFH schedule (we’re a women’s shelter and so we can’t shut down) with only two staff in shelter at a time. I’m in shelter this week, but without any nitpicking supervisors things have been a breeze! My anxiety is way down, I can get my work done quickly without distractions…all of the things that *should* be happening in a functional workplace environment finally *are* happening!

      1. many bells down*

        Our facilities staff can’t work from home, but they’re delighted to be able to get through the backlog of stuff they couldn’t do while our facilities were open. Without people constantly asking them for things they have time now.

    2. Aggretsuko*

      I really, really like how I am not being watched every second and judged. It’s so nice and quiet here!

  26. Bostonian*

    What are other people doing who are interviewing candidates, trying to fill positions? I imagine Skype will replace in-person interviews (my office is fully working remotely for the foreseeable future), but I’m concerned about the fact that we’ve already done in-person interviews for other previous candidates plus an in-person timed assessment. I’m hoping the answer is “it’s ok for some finalists to have a different interview process because we don’t have much of a choice here”, but thought I’d ask!

    1. JKJK*

      My team just interviewed someone over Skype who we had intended to have in person this week, can confirm that it’s being done. We’ve always offered Skype for people who are interviewing from a distance, and I got my current job on this team through Skype interviews when other candidates had been in person.

      I think being mindful of the potential added awkwardness of video when comparing against in-person candidates is wise, but other than that I assume everyone understands this isn’t a typical time!

    2. DAMitsDevon*

      Even before COVID-19 forced all of us to work from home, my company has always had a mix of Skype and in-person interviews because while our office is in a major city on the East Coast, over half of our staff work remotely in different parts of the country. For instance, my team was hiring for a few positions last fall. Every candidate that passed the initial phone screen with HR then either did a Skype or in person interview.

      For one position, my boss who normally works remotely was in the main office the week those interviews happened, so we did in person interviews with the candidates who lived in the city our office is located in. We then did Skype interviews with people who lived in a different part of the country. We ultimately gave an offer to one of the remote candidates.

      For the other position, most of the candidates lived too far away to come to the office and the one who lived nearby was interviewed when my boss was back home, so all of those interviews took place over Skype.

    3. DKMA*

      We’ve shifted to all WebEx videos. (I’m having the joy of hiring for my current role AND interviewing for another internal role). I’ve found that for the content aspects of interviews (evaluating experience, probing how someone thinks through problems, etc) the video interviews work fine. They don’t work as well for getting a feel for interpersonal skills because it’s hard to tell if issues are just due to awkwardness of set-up or not.

      I’m going to put extra emphasis on references. I usually use references more as a red flag detector, but I’ll be more proactive about trying to get input to address concerns around team work and communication.

    4. Eng*

      We are interviewing everyone using video calls instead of in person. It is what it is. I’ve only done one so far so no specific advice, but it wasn’t too different from the phone interviews we regularly do already.

    5. Aggretsuko*

      I’m told we’re just doing Skype interviews (I’m not in on the process). I have NO IDEA how we are going to onboard and train people now that we are all gone, though.

  27. Miss May*

    Due the industry I work in, I cannot work remotely. In our company of ~50 people, maybe two people could? But, thank goodness, management seems to finally be taking this seriously. We’ve implemented a 6 foot distance rule, max of five people in a room at a time, no more food to be brought in to be shared, and the truckers we deal with cannot come into the control room.

    Personally, I come in every day and wipe down all the shared keyboards, mice, door handles, cabinet handles, pens, and any other shared surfaces. If this virus makes its way into our workplace, we’d be doomed– we just are way too close together here.

    1. irene adler*

      Oh my gosh! I never even thought about shared food!
      Very small company here (less than 15 people). The CEO brought in a cake for all to share for St. Patrick’s Day on Tuesday. And share they did!

      There’s been no effort whatsoever on the part of management to prevent spread. CEO thinks everyone is overreacting to this virus. Hence, no WFH. However, folks are washing hands very frequently.

      1. Miss May*

        Yeah, outside deliveries for lunch are still allowed, but cake, cookies and anything else is banned. Which, I get, but still sucks because my method of coping is to bake and then foster the results on my coworkers.

        I’ll probably end up freezing a bunch of it.

        1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

          Glad you thought of freezing things, because that’s what I was going to suggest (I’m also a stress baker).

      2. many bells down*

        Yeah it was my birthday last week and my boss was bummed she couldn’t bring in a cake.

        1. Aggretsuko*

          I was going to share the Girl Scout cookies…

          A friend of mine decided to bring me birthday cake (too big for me to eat alone) and presents in February–my birthday’s in April. At the time this seemed excessively early, but she’s caregiving for relatives and doesn’t get out much. Now I’m just glad I’ve already got a birthday cake in the fridge and gifts to open because otherwise I won’t get that.

  28. NoDakmoment*

    I work with senior citizens in the community and as of this morning they have suspended all home visits and presentations. Just curious what others working with vulnerable populations are experiencing?

    1. Josephine Beth NotAmy*

      We’ve put all our in-home visits on hold, potentially moving to telepractice model in the next week or so. All our group meetings and trainings are also suspended.

      1. NoDakmoment*

        Wow I wish we could do that, unfortunately I work with older blind so it makes any training for clients impossible over telepractice.

  29. Tableau Wizard*

    So I’m in this weird spot where just before all of this stuff hit, my boss went on unexpected emergency medical leave. At first, we all thought it would be a couple of days, and now it’s looking like it’ll be months if she comes back at all.
    We’re reporting to her boss in the interim but we’ve been mostly working from home since. It’s a weird time overall, but this is adding another difficult layer to everything.

    I’m also trying to decide if I think I should just pull my kids from daycare (which will eliminate any chance of both my husband and I working from home in any meaningful way) or if I let them stay at daycare as long as it’s open. We’re already reducing their hours there, and have been completely socially distant other than their daycare. But a 1.5 and 3.5 year old running around while we both try to work simply isn’t going to happen.

    1. Tuckerman*

      I hear you on the daycare. I have a 13 month old and I’m trying to manage an illness flare up while working from home. We’re still sending her to daycare, and also cut back her hours. It’s a risk, but as long as I’m still feeling unwell, it’s less of a risk than me chasing after her while working.

      I think just assessing one day at a time is all we can do. Good luck!

    2. VT*

      I’ve got something similar with my supervisor, she started having medical issues right before all of this hit so I am going to my manager while she is out on leave. The worst part is I am comfortable and trust my supervisor and I don’t feel that same way about my manager. Our department is getting upended and I can’t ask about the deets with my manager.

    3. PermanentlyExhaustedPidgeon*

      Both of us are still working, 4.5 and 15 month old are still in daycare. Also physically distancing aside from work/daycare. Using technology for social connections with friends & grandparents. I *could* wfh but none of the other managers at my level are yet. I have my own office and can shutter myself in pretty well…Once SO is at home his wfh isn’t flexible, standard hours. I’ve already started talking with my team about establishing core hours and we have a daily check-in on our calendars for the next month as we’re working to get telehealth services up and running so I can have more flexible wfh hours because I expect daycare to be closed next week. People seem receptive so far. As more and more things are closed, I’m definitely struggling with still going into work, but we’ve been deemed essential and per HR our options are work or loa/unemployment until we get remote services outlined.

  30. Reality Check*

    Yes! They won’t allow WFH I am told, because they don’t trust us. They know if they allow it now they’ll lose control of the situation. So we are forced to keep the doors of our windowless offices closed. We’re penned up like prisoners. 15 women forced to share 1 toilet and we must eat lunch in our cars. No consistency in how rules apply, no word on anything from upper management. The anger in this office is palpable.

    1. I'm A Little Teapot*

      oh that really sucks. Your management really needs a lesson in basic humanity.

    2. Curmudgeon in California*

      I guess my viewpoint is: If they don’t trust you all, why did they hire you? Are they that bad a judge of character?

      Yes, I’m being snarky, but if they really can’t trust you, what does that say about them?

      After this is over I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t need to re-staff…

  31. cactus lady*

    I have a question for any lawyers (or if you have advice on who to talk to, I’d love that as well): I’m on mandatory WFH, which we just found out yesterday is indefinite (previously it had been until April 6). I live in a room in a house that my roommate owns, and WFH is NOTTTT going over well with her. She is upset that I am “occupying all the space” and makes it really hard for me to get anything done. I have a month-to-month rental agreement in which she put she requires 60 day notice to move out. I gave notice on March 1 (unrelated to COVID-19), with the intention to move in April, but in light of all the changes I’m now looking to move next weekend. I’m actually going to an Airbnb next week because I can’t get anything done here. Roommate trying to insist I pay April rent, even though I won’t be living here. Is this legal? I’m in CA, and I know the state law is 30 days’ notice, but would she be able to sue me for unpaid rent if I don’t pay April? Would it be legal for her to keep my deposit? Thanks!

    1. irene adler*

      In CA you can go on-line to your local Bar Association website. They will have a section on lawyer referrals. They can refer you to an attorney who will give you -up front- a free 30 minute consultation. You might get this referral and ask what your rights are, what you can do to protect same. The lawyer I got was very forthcoming with the advice.

      I did this referral for an unlawful detainer action. During the free consultation, the attorney told me how to draft and properly serve a 30 day notice. Told me if that didn’t work, to contact him after the 30 days.
      Well, the 30 day notice worked. She left.
      All for free. Worth it.

    2. Moose on skates*

      What does your lease say? If you gave her 60 days’ notice, she’s probably counting on your April payment to help pay the mortgage. I would be ticked and would legally pursue a tenant if they did this.

      1. WellRed*

        Agreed. You agreed to give 60 days notice so why are you surprised she actually wants 60 days?

      2. nonegiven*

        The landlord is actively keeping the OP from being able to get any work done. It isn’t sustainable.

  32. Natalie*

    Is there anything you can do to get your employer to let everyone work from home? My significant other works in a grocery store and is exposed to hundreds of people every day. I’m very worried that he could become infected, as could I, and I could spread to all my coworkers. I work in an office setting for a remodeling company. They haven’t said a word to us, about anything.

    1. Fiona*

      I imagine Alison would say that you should try to get as many people together who share your concern and push back as a group?

      A slight tangent – is there anything we, as regular people, can do to support the grocery store workers? I’m so grateful to all of them and other than making sure my hands are washed and sanitized, I wish there was a way to communicate my appreciation or help in some solid way. Would love to hear what your significant other would find practical and meaningful.

  33. Cruciatus*

    No question, just sharing what our workplace is doing. I work at an academic library and our director (of just our campus) has put us on a rotating schedule (only if you are willing), to come it about once every 9 days to work 12-2 for circulation transactions only. The rest of the time we will be working from home. It’s gonna be hard since so much of what I do requires being with the books! But I have projects and I guess it’s just gonna be OK if I focus on those things which are less important for a while. We all thought the university would come out and tell everyone to work from home but they haven’t. Students are online the rest of the semester. We do not currently have an end date to stop the WFH aspect.

    Other offices on campus are doing similar rotations if necessary/possible. I’m very lucky that while my work circumstances are changing I still get a paycheck, have something to do every day, and I can un-volunteer from coming in at all if I decide to.

  34. Tuckerman*

    My husband is a self-employed massage therapist (he rents a room in a spa). Just as he had built his clientele to a sustainable level, suddenly this hits. Business has slowed to a trickle and he’s concerned it won’t recover. He’s taking this really hard.

    Anyone know of resources for the self-employed?

    1. Kes*

      Resources probably depends on where you are to some extent.
      As far as his clientele, he may lose some if they have suffered from shutdown and recession but chances are a bunch of his clients just aren’t going anywhere right now and will come straight back once we get through this

    2. Jules the 3rd*

      I’ve been hunting, and it varies by state. Some states are extending their unemployment coverage to self-employed, and some are not. Your state’s unemployment web site probably has a ‘Covid 19 updates’ section, and a phone # if they don’t specifically address self-employed.

      I’ve recommended my self-employed husband join the Census for a few months.

    3. What the What*

      I suggest he reaches out and offers gift certificate packages at a discount. Like buy 2 get 1 free. See if his clients will bite. Gets some money in his pocket now and also hooks them for the future.

    4. I'm A Little Teapot*

      For me, once I find someone I like and they’re good, I’m staying with them.

    5. masters student of none*

      Call your reps to demand action for emergency relief or universal basic income for this time. Might not actually do something but helps me feel like I have some power

  35. Sydney Ellen Wade*

    Most of my department is working remotely, with the exception of me, my current manager, and my former manager. Since things are quieter without my co-workers, I’d like to meet with my former manager about the possibility of taking over for her when she retires (which she had mentioned to me back when she was my manager, before I got promoted to another position in the same department). Policies are kind of up in the air because we’ve never had most of the department work remotely for extended periods of time before. Any advice on language to use?

  36. Brownie*

    Because the head federal dept (US) won’t authorize a full shutdown of my site anyone who can is supposed to work from home. But they didn’t have enough computers to allow that (infrastructure reasons mean no personal computers), no policies in place for mass work-from-home, and all layers of management are scrambling with policies changing literally day to day regarding what we’re supposed to be doing. But the worst part is my boss, the 2-3 hours per day socializing and chatting boss, has decided that WFH means he needs to set up a whole team chat and find any excuse possible to use it. I am getting so tired of the constant flashing Skype notification. It’s all stuff he would have either done one-on-one or looked up himself if we were in the office, but now he’s pinging everyone in this group chat and AARGGGHHHH.

  37. A.Griz*

    I am having such a hard time focusing on work. I’m looking for a new job (I have a million questions on how to do THAT right now as well) so I know full well how over my current job I am, but I’m finding it harder than ever to care about the work we’re doing. It all seems so unimportant when people are dying out there, you know? I keep telling myself “I’m still getting a paycheck, in order to continue getting a paycheck I need to at least do the bare minimum” but it doesn’t always help.

    Anyone in a similar situation? Any tips?

    1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      Similar situation as you (i.e. job searching, burned out). Set daily (or even hourly goals) for yourself. Saying “I will get X and Y done today” feels more concrete and achievable for me versus “I must work hard and do good work!”

      1. LessNosy*

        Agree! Lists help me – a list of 2-3 “big” things that I know are doable for me each day, plus an ongoing list of littler things to check off as I go.

  38. Audrey Puffins*

    The nature of my job means we still have a skeleton staff coming into the office. We can sit pretty far apart from each other and we are all CONSTANTLY washing and sanitising our hands, so it’s not the perfect lockdown situation but we’re doing the best we can. That said, we do have one co-worker (Fergusina) who is high risk for multiple reasons, so she’s been working from home all week and isn’t planning on coming back any time soon.

    The thing is, another one of my co-workers (Tangerina) has been… less than charitable about Fergusina’s need to work from home. Fergusina is NOT shy about talking about her health, we all know that she’s high risk and for precisely what reasons, but I think it’s really inappropriate and mean for Tangerina to sit and chatter about how “extra” she thinks Fergusina is being about all this, to the point of even coming and talking to our line manager about it. I did speak up at the time that of COURSE Fergusina is doing the right thing and it’s not for any of us to judge or criticise her decision, and I later said to our line manager that I thought Tangerina was being extremely unkind in what she was saying. (I was extremely angry but we’re British, so “extremely unkind” is about as vulgar as the language is going to get apparently.)

    So the question is: Fergusina and Tangerina are really really friendly with each other in the office, probably each other’s best work friends, and I feel really uncomfortable knowing that Tangerina is being so callous and two-faced; if you were Fergusina, would you want to know?

    (Yeah, nice to know that even a global pandemic doesn’t shut down petty nonsense!)

    1. Destroyer of Worlds, Empress of Awesome*

      I think I’d like to know if someone I thought was my friend was mocking my attempts to stay healthy.

    2. fposte*

      I might raise this with Tangerina. Translate this to British: “Dude, aren’t you supposed to be her friend? Would you like it if your friends trashed you like this behind your back?”

  39. Matthew*

    One of my staff lied about being exposed to coronavirus in order to be sent home. Our work involves providing support for critical infrastructures (such as hydro and water service) so we can’t close during this and this support cannot be provided from anywhere outside of our workplace. (Even before coronavirus we ran 24/7/365 including all weekends and holidays. The shifts are fixed and everyone works the same hours every day and does 5 days on, 2 days off, but it is not a weekday 9-5 job). If someone gets sick or is exposed they are sent home with full pay. One of my employees said he was exposed. So he was sent home to self isolate. There have only been a handful of cases in our state and none anywhere near us, but we didn’t want to take any chances. We didn’t ask for any documentation. He was seen out and about around here and he went to an event that took place before everything was shut down. Multiple other staff have told me and their managers that he encouraged them to follow his lead and say they were exposed in order to get two weeks off. I am so disappointed in him. He admitted he lied about being exposed and there was no chance he was. I am stressed enough about making sure my staff are okay and feeling guilty I can’t send them to work from home and now this has just made everything so much worse. In 6 years he had a clean record and has never caused a problem. Thanks for letting me vent. As a manager I don’t feel comfortable venting to my staff and I live alone and can’t discuss personnel matters with anyone who doesn’t work here anyways. Hope you are taking care and being as well as possible under the circumstances.

    1. Ann Perkins*

      Did you see the recent letter with a similar scenario? I think it’s a linked post. I would 100% fire someone who lied during this crisis in order to get paid time off. Alison gave a lot of good advice in that post.

      1. Coder von Frankenstein*

        Agreed. Lying to get paid time off is fraud – maybe not in a legal sense (IANAL), but certainly in an ethical sense. It’s no different from stealing the credentials to the company’s bank account and transferring two weeks’ pay into your own pocket. Doing it in a crisis like this, when your employer is providing critical services and at the same time trying to do right by its employees, is especially vile.

        Here is the link (first question):

      2. irene adler*

        Yeah- you should read that column.
        Not surprised that some folks are taking unfair advantage here. He should be grateful to have a job as many folks are being laid off over this. Perhaps he should join them.

    2. Laura H.*

      Nothing to add aside from what a jerk move by your employee…

      Thank y’all for what you do!

    3. Jules the 3rd*

      Ugh – so rough, there’s just such a feeling of betrayal when someone pulls a stunt like this. Totally understand the desire to vent in a safe place. Good luck dealing with it.

    4. WellRed*

      You have to fire him. Not only did he lie, he ENCOURAGED HIS COWORKERS TO DO THE SAME! You will lose all credibility if you keep him.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        This – your employees will not respect your authority knowing you kept someone like him around.

        1. Jules the 3rd*

          mm, I think they might cut Matthew some slack for not firing someone in the middle of a pandemic. It could go either way, and Matthew’s in the best place to make that call.

          That said, Matthew, if you do fire him, I doubt your employees will think badly of you. But lesser discipline might be enough.

          1. SofiaDeo*

            Totally disagree. Lying to take advantage of the pandemic, and encouraging others to do the same, is so morally reprehensible it shows this person will do “whatever” to take advantage of a situation. If Matthew lets him get away with it, not only will said person likely continue to be creative in his efforts to lie, cheat, & steal, the effect on morale of others will be bad. One bad apple can and often does spoil the bunch.

  40. Kellogg*

    Can we talk Families First Coronavirus Response Act? I know it’s really new (like, last 24 hours new), but is anyone else worried that their organization just doesn’t have the cash flow to provide paid sick leave to employees who didn’t have it before if the tax credits are only given out quarterly? We have staff calling out with symptoms – we’re a vet hospital so WFH isn’t an option for most of our employees – and they want to know NOW if they can get paid for sick time.

    1. Jules the 3rd*

      Loans – banks are supposed to be giving small business loans, 0% interest. There’s a shortage of people to process loan applications, but if your business is low on cash, apply for a loan now. Even if you don’t use it, at least you’ll have it, and it should cost nothing.

    2. Lucy P*

      I 2nd that motion. Need a legal interpretation, please. We already talking about furloughing employees. The cash flow is not there. Our staff is under 50 people so I’m not sure if any of it applies to us.
      Most staff has no more than 3 days of paid leave available at the moment.

  41. Person from the Resume*

    I will confess here that I am frustrated by all those posts/news stories about things to do while you are trapped at home (i.e. suddenly have all this free time at home). I don’t have any sudden free time or extra hours to fill up. I’m working from home as I always do and work is particularly difficult this month so so far my day to day activities haven’t changed. I might have gone to one or two events after work this week. Instead there’s been more phone calls than normal and texting so actually I’m kind of more social than normal. My weekend will be less social; although, I’m some lone bike riding. But so far there’s been no change, but everyone else’s posts and anxiety is making me anxious for stuff that’s not happening to me. I am not stir crazy yet.

    I know that some people are unemployed and have real fears about how they will support themselves so in comparison I am in a great situation. But I definitely feel that I wouldn’t mind a month long sabbatical right now.

    I’m absorbing others anxiety about stuff that isn’t actually affecting me yet.

    1. cactus lady*

      I’m right there with you! I live in a roommate situation and my roommate has this time off, paid, but I am WFH full time. She’s mad that I’m interrupting her “vacation” by… working. My days haven’t really changed that much, just my work set-up (and I take a lot more calls).

      1. WellRed*

        As someone in a roommate situation, can I ask if you two have worked to find a workable solution for both of you? Have you taken over the dining room with work stuff? Are your calls loud? And vice versa.

    2. DAMitsDevon*

      I was already working from home because I was recovering from surgery (I was back in the office for all of one week before we were told to work from home for the rest of the month at the very least), so except for having to do some work related to COVID-19, not much has changed work-wise. And I work for a mental health agency and a part of the agency where services are provided over the phone, so if anything, our work has just increased because COVID-19 is causing people a lot of mental distress.

      However, my life outside of work is definitely less exciting than it used to be. I had been looking forward to being back to my normal life now that I’ve recovered from surgery.

    3. fposte*

      Yeah, work is taking a lot more of my time than usual right now. I’m not struggling to find ways to occupy myself.

    4. Roja*

      Same. I’m sort of half furloughed… doing about the same amount of work or more for half the pay. Plus trying to doing all the housework (since hubby is working more hours to make up the money difference). And dealing with all the extra planning–if I get sick, then this, if I need to go to the hospital, then this, groceries and meal planning two weeks plus in advance… it’s a LOT all at once. Plus the general stress and anxiety. I’m grateful we have any income at all right now, but it’s still really wild.

    5. I don’t post often*

      Agreed. I have worked from for six years and I am the emergency preparedness coordinator. Work has blown up! And daughter is home with no childcare other than grandparents.

    6. Meepmeep*

      I’m much busier than I was before, too. Same work schedule, but now I have to homeschool my kid too. She used to go to preschool, but that’s closed, we are on shelter-in-place, and most of my mental energy is going to keeping her happy and occupied and mentally healthy. My wife is also entertaining the kid outside of work hours, but I’m a better teacher than she is, so homeschooling is on me.

      I certainly don’t have time to sit around and be bored. There’s plenty to do.

  42. RG2*

    Anything your managers/leadership/coworkers are doing that is really helpful for work or for morale? We’re all WFH and are being completely flexible around childcare needs/have sent people external monitors if they want them, but I’d love advice on things you/your coworkers/your organizations are doing to keep people happy and feeling connected!

    1. HannahMiss*

      This might not apply to your situation since you can WFH, but my job is shut down for the next 2 weeks with pay (we’re guest facing, so no guests = no work to do). Our leaders have offered to look over resumes, and I have a feeling they’d be open to professional development discussions from employees. The offer caused some mild panic at first, since the first thought was, “are we going to need updated resumes when this is over from being fired?” But usually the nature of our work makes it difficult to carve out time with leaders for resume and development discussions, so this is kind of a nice opportunity. Our company also tends to look well on people who seek that out, so there’s an incentive to take them up on it. It’d be a nice offer for companies that are having people work from home but with lower work volume due to what’s going on.

    2. Gball*

      My team is doing a daily group call to talk about what we are doing, get help, and generally connect. It helps that my manager trusts us to get work done, and we have flexibility in our work days and hours. It’s totally acceptable for me to say, “just can’t sit at my dining room table any more, I need a walk, be back in an hour.” That trust has led to us being happier at home.

    3. Xerxes*

      We have a small (9 ppl) close knit team even though we are spread between ATL, Dallas and NYC. Normally we travel between offices and there is always a big group meal. Since all travel has been cancelled my boss put a virtual happy hour on our calendar and shipped each of us a couple airplane bottles of liquor then we did a video happy hour through Microsoft teams. It was fun. We are going to do another one every couple of weeks that we are social distancing and WFH.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        That sounds really fun – I’m going to suggest that to my grandboss. He’d totally be down with it.

    4. Kes*

      I posted above as well but:
      they’ve clearly been making an effort to evaluate and communicate and overcommunicate the status and what measures are being taken at each step, and now they’ve closed our office they’re also really making an effort to sustain our culture and connections even when we can’t meet in person – slack chat, discord for random voice chat if you just want to hang out and talk to people like you normally would in our kitchen, virtual meetings, adding virtual events of the sort we would usually have in person (lunch and learns, trivia, etc)

      My project team normally has a team coffee once a week and they’ve now changed that to virtual coffee twice a week where we all go on a video conference and have coffee and chat together. I think in general just really putting the extra effort into creating opportunities to connect and communicate by virtual means really makes a difference to helping avoid isolation and keep communication channels open

  43. SQL Coder Cat*

    I laughed out loud reading Allison’s Slate article yesterday. My team is one of the groups requiring video conferencing open at all times unless you’re in another meeting. It’s weird, but also kind of nice. Whenever anything comes up you can just unmute and talk to the whole group. I think it’s an attempt by my boss to keep us socialized. We’ve already started announcing ‘guest appearances’ whenever someone’s cat appears on screen.

    That said, it still feels strange to be on camera all the time. It’s not really that different from being visible at my desk at work, but it feels strangely performative. I’d love to hear from anyone else whose work has them doing this on how they are dealing with life on camera.

    1. Gball*

      I’m glad you are having a good time of it. We aren’t required to do this – but your comment made me laugh. I’ve decided no make up or hair processing – since who knows when we’ll be able to get our next hair cut. I’ve been using hair masks – trying face masks – hair wraps. The thought of my co-workers seeing me now.. LOL!!!!

    2. Kes*

      Oh man – I’m glad our office is making more opportunities to chat, including at times video chat, but I would hate being expected to be on video at all times. Somebody did bring it up jokingly today but fortunately we don’t seem to be doing that.

  44. Destroyer of Worlds, Empress of Awesome*

    We haven’t shut down, I’m sure we won’t. I work for a company that rents heavy equipment and this week has been NUTS with rentals. I guess with everyone quarantined, some folks are seizing the opportunity and pressure washing stuff, trimming their trees, picking up leaves (with our lawn vacuums)…..we are as busy as ever and as long as the $$$ is rolling in, the boss will NEVER shut us down.

    He did say if we felt sick we should go home. I don’t feel great, but we don’t get sick leave and I can’t afford to leave or else I won’t be able to pay my bills. Once everything is back to whatever passes for normal, I’m looking for a new job.

    1. Jules the 3rd*

      Is there any chance of the whole team getting together and asking for paid sick leave? Even 5 days / year would be a big boon to you, and wouldn’t be all that much out of his pocket. Now while he’s seeing big $$s coming in might be a good time to ask.

    2. Retail not Retail*

      Hey! I saw a company like yours trimming a tree yesterday – I mean whoo trimmed. I assume the homeowner took advantage of time off and probably their insurer said it’s high risk with this that and the other storm.

    3. Natalie*

      There’s a big street reconstruction happening in my city and the contractor just requested they be allowed to accelerate, essentially, since the street is basically empty of traffic. It kind of makes sense since someone in an earth mover or asphalt truck is definitely maintaining social distance.

  45. Beancat*

    Everyone at my office has been told to work from home, but mailroom, reception, and IT have been told we’re essential and to report 8-5 every day as normal.

    I can’t do half my functions without the others here. Nobody is booking conference rooms or cars. There are no visitors accepted. Nobody is calling. Nobody is here to sign the niche document I assist with (and are currently way less prevalent with this all going on). I’m so frustrated to have to go out and expose myself and possibly others every single day all for maybe two calls and a single document.

    My company has sent out cheerful messages about “time to take the training courses!!” and “No changes to our procedures, YES!” I’m honestly kind of over it. They seem very tone deaf to me right now.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      Honestly, if this were me, I’d take a course each day and then do whatever the hell I want to during the downtime. Endless Buzzfeed quizzes, reading AAM, writing (on my flash drive), whatever.

      1. Beancat*

        I’ve already taken all their required training so this has been what I do! I’ve been working on languages, reading AAM, and so much more :) it does make it a bit less unbearable!

  46. Manufacturing Mayhem*

    Does anyone else work in manufacturing or related fields? We were told that we could use our (minimal) PTO time if we felt the need to isolate, or have to care for children at home because out disruptions, but that well employees were encouraged to come to work. Work from home accommodations would be provided on a case-by-case basis for us office employees if we have a true need (ex: at-risk population) but really was not encouraged. Every day the city takes further measures to shut things down, but since our company HQ is in a state with 1/8 of the cases here, it is unlikely overall policy will change.

    I had been thinking of switching jobs later this year (hopefully by Sept/Oct) but now it all feels uncertain and that nobody in my field will be hiring. I’m even worried I will be unable to interview in case my PTO days are all used up in case they force us to shut down and use PTO, which they even talked about allowing us to accrue as a negative balance if it comes to that. Will it really be that hard? I was in school in 2008 so I have no experience in looking for new work during a crisis.

    1. Stackson*

      Automotive here!
      I’m at a Tier 1, and our customer just announced that they’ll be shutdown for what will total 12 days, because of “lack of demand”. Their employees will be paid and they’ll be deep cleaning their facility while they’re out.

      My company will be shut down next week but I don’t think there have been any plans to deep clean. We’re being told to file for unemployment (which is at maximum less than a third of my standard paycheck in my state). It feels like they don’t care about their employees at all, while we watch the customer be lauded in the news for “doing the right thing”. They’re not even attributing the shutdown to coronavirus in the internal emails. It’s all lack of demand.

      No one is allowed to WFH here. It’s just… not done. If you want pay next week you have to use PTO, and I am out, so I’m SOL.

      I’m in the middle of trying to switch jobs right now anyway but it feels like terrible timing, even though continuing to work at my company is making me feel more and more sick to my stomach every day.

      1. Manufacturing Mayhem*

        Gosh I am SO sorry. Hoping your job switch goes well. I also work at a Tier 1 / OEM facility for aerospace (we process some material, fully assemble other components) and can sympathize with the stress and pain.

    2. LeahS*

      I am manufacturing- these are similar to our policies. I am high risk and was told I couldn’t work from home, but my boss is currently working from home because he’s sick so I guess ours is case by case too. I was told I can pay unpaid leave but that… isn’t financially feasible. I too am worried about PTO. I think that the strict nature of manufacturing carries over from the floor to the office and as a result there are some frustrating policies and decisions being made. It’s tough.

      1. Manufacturing Mayhem*

        It is tough! I am so sorry that they are not accommodating you as a high-risk employee. It’s so tough already that having energy to fight management / HR seems daunting. Good luck! You are in my thoughts!

    3. Jules the 3rd*

      I support manufacturing, in procurement. My team’s wfh, though one person still goes in some of the week, in a low-incidence state (I’m US South, high incidence area, but I’m remote from the mfg floor in US Midwest). The mfg team’s still coming in.

      But we’re a config-to-order specialty mfg of big computers (think, fridge sized), so there’s a lot of space between people usually anyway. I think they’re doing all meetings remotely, now, everyone in their own office instead of in the same one.

      The mfg team’s actually a different company, but my understanding is that they get paid sick leave. Again, what we make means the mfg team’s engineers, hard to replace and well-compensated.

    4. Silentstars*

      Not manufacturing, but distribution (specifically frozen/refrigerated foods). We legit CAN’T shut down, and are doing our damndest to keep everything sanitized (in fact, the directive came down today that guests have to fill out a med questionnaire before they can get in – but that doesn’t include truck drivers).

      That said the bosses are trying to keep everyone who doesn’t NEED to be dealing with the public away from contact – I’m working out of a back office for the duration.

  47. kelmarander*

    Personally, I am salaried and have a rainy-day fund, but I am worried about friends and family who are hourly workers, especially in the neighboring state where all non-essential businesses are closed. Almost all of them have kids and are already living paycheck-to-paycheck.

    That worry is making it twice as hard to adapt to full-time remote work. I already struggle with distraction and focus on my usual once-weekly WAH day, but doing it every day, with this worry in my gut, is proving to be very difficult.

    I’ve been journaling a lot and trying to catch myself when I start catastrophizing, but it’s not always easy to recognize. At times I find myself journaling during the work day, just to clear my head and get back to business. Something about writing down the fear helps me process it and remove some of the emotional charge of it.

    Another thing I’m trying to do is serious self-care on my off hours, to try to demarcate work time from home time. Herbal teas. Fuzzy spa socks. Soothing candles. It doesn’t fix the worry but it helps me slow the breathing a bit.

    Wishing you all peace and health!

  48. Email question*

    How do I nicely tell the very stressed leadership team that requiring non-except employees to check their email in the evening after work and before they leave the house in the mornings to check for shutdown or work modification means those employees have to track and be paid for that time? I’ve checked for an official document from the fair labor standards act to show them and haven’t found anything.

    1. LizB*

      As a non-exempt worker… it seems like that would fall under de minimis time, and wouldn’t actually be required to be paid. Maybe your state is different, though.

  49. Oryx*

    WFH for the foreseeable future, and I’m grateful to live in a house that allows me to have my own office. I’m making a point to restrict all work stuff to that office and trying to maintain boundaries. Last night I deleted Slack and Outlook from my phone so that I wouldn’t be constantly checking it while downstairs watching TV in the evenings. If they really need to get ahold of me, they know how.

  50. Three Cats in a Trench Coat*

    I work in healthcare, but in mental health, and to be honest my job has changed very little. There’s a screening protocol and I spend most days wondering /when/ I’ll be exposed rather than /if/ I’ll be exposed, but the day to day is about the same. It makes it a little more surreal, I know that everyone else is going through massive changes and upheavals and I’m just… not.

    Anyone else here in that position?

    1. Tongue Cluckin' Grammarian*

      My life hasn’t really changed much either.
      I also work in healthcare, though we don’t see patients directly (pathology) and I’m on the office side.

      Technically, I could probably figure out how to do my job from home but that requires allowing IT to put their restrictions and monitoring software on my personal home PC (no work options to take home), and I refuse to allow that.
      As it is, I’m the most senior employee office-side, which has ultimately made me a bridge between management working from home and the office-side employees who are unable to work from home (the pathologists, the team that answers phones and handles the pathologists’ out-of-house testing packing and sending and tracking, etc).
      Management can contact me and ask me to handle some matters they normally would because I’m physically present. People on-site come to me with questions they would have taken to management, but I can answer because I’ve been here so long (and know what questions I’m allowed to answer without checking in with the bosses first).

      I’m pretty much always socially-distant and thus unlikely to be a vector. I live alone and rarely went out amongst the public in the first place, I’m mostly isolated in my office (I rarely see people ever closer than 6ft regardless), keeping up with the extra hand-washing and wiping everything down…

  51. SallyF*

    What to do about depression?
    I had two job interviews scheduled and they’ve been canceled, both places are freezing hiring.
    I strongly dislike my current job. I have a work laptop and work phone but I’m not allowed to work from home!
    Our systems are archaic, we just switched to a new server and we’re experiencing all the problems that come from re-connecting contacts and applications etc. Everything is going wrong and my job is stressful enough without the COVID-19 issue going on and now the computer/server issues.
    Not to mention the damage to my retirement investments/401k!
    When I had the interviews, I had some hope. Now I feel hopeless.
    I’m tired, I’m exhausted, I’m worried and on the verge of depression.
    I know we’re all going through this together.
    What do we do??

  52. Laura H.*

    My mom WFH (has been for a while but now it’s every day for foreseeable future). What are some suggestions for me to say “Thank you for working so hard right now” beyond normal chores and house upkeep type things?

    1. Jules the 3rd*

      Ask her what she’d like, some ideas might be:
      Make her tea / coffee / her drink of choice.
      Spend time with her on her breaks – a walk?
      Work quietly in an area near her, so that she’s got non-distracting company
      Take over some of the chore / house upkeep management

      It really depends on what she likes – some people are ‘I need interaction!’ and some people are ‘leave me the heck alone!’. I mean, for me, it’s ‘take the dog for a walk at 11am without me having to ask for it.’ I would love if Mr. Jules would take that over, but time scheduling is his kryptonite. (He’s really good at a lot of other things, like cooking, it usually works)

  53. Anonononononymous*

    Going anonymous for this one. I just need to vent. I work in state government, in public health but not in a section that deals with pandemic response at all. My staff work with a population that can be medically fragile. We’ve suspended face-to-face contacts, and that’s good. But the process we’re going through trying to come up for ways for people to work from home is making me crazy. It’s like our state is bound and determined that they won’t give one single solitary second of extra leave to people to deal with this. You have to run out all of your current leave. You can take unpaid FMLA if you or a family member gets COVID. And you can have leave advanced, but you have to make it up within 24 months (which they consider so so generous). How we’re supposed to do that when we’re not allowed to work overtime or on Federal holidays without a true business need, I have no freaking clue.

    You’re the state. You want people to stay home, then step up and set a freaking example. There are a bunch of employees who ARE NOT essential in this situation but who cannot work from home. WHY are y’all making them come into the office when you could fix that easily by being the tiniest bit generous?

    End. Of. Rant.

    P.S. They do this same crap when we have hurricanes and ice storms. They tell people to stay off the roads and then all but require state employees to get out in bad conditions because they won’t unclench about providing leave.

    1. Another person ranting against their own government employer*

      I work for a municipal government of a large US city (population > 1 million). Our county has mandated social distancing; closed bars, non-essential stores, eat-in restaurants; told the general public to stay home, etc.

      But us? No. If we cannot get our work done from home we must go in to the office. Also, we were completely unprepared for a situation in which we would need to work remotely. Many of us couldn’t access even basic systems like email or time cards. Many of us could work from home if we were set up for it but we are not. So we go to work. In direct opposition of our own organization’s plea for everyone else to stay home. I am not pleased that what they say in press conferences isn’t what they are practicing behind the scenes. They are putting us employees at risk. Which puts the rest of you at risk, too, considering how many of us there are.

  54. Seifer*

    I had a call this morning… and then my roommate had a call… and then the cat woke up and started yowling… and my PM was like, “uhhhh are you okay over there???”

    It’s day 3 of quarantine for me and I’ve liked it so far besides for my deep abiding need to go to the store. I don’t need anything. I just want to leave the house. It’s dreary here so I’m just like. I wanna gooooooo.

  55. Peaches*

    My company is not allowing us to work from home. As I’ve mentioned in previous threads, I work for a jan-san company that manufactures and sells many COVID-19 approved disinfectants, sanitizers, wipes, toilet paper, etc. so obviously we are “essential” right now. However, EVERY person here with the exclusion of our two warehouse employees could work from home, yet our corporate office has not allowed it. I sent my manager a (what I thought), was a well thought-out email indicating why I felt it was important for us to work from home at this time, and offered several sound solutions on how we could continue working at the same capacity from home. She forwarded it to HR, who basically came back and told me “no” (in a long winded, canned email, that indicated they didn’t actually read my email closesly). In their email, they indicated that if I “personally felt in was necessary”, I would use vacation time (uh, no, I only get two weeks as it is). It made me a bit angry that they acted like it was “my personal opinion” that we should work from home, instead of acknowledging the fact that their blantantly going against CDC recommendations. They ended their email letting me know that they “greatly appreciate me” though, so thank goodness for that, right? LOL.

    I think it’s also ironic given we’re sending out daily emails to our customers about the importance of staying it, yet corporate is requiring us to all come into the office despite 99% of us being able to perform our jobs from home.

    1. Peaches*

      Hah. My manager just came over and asked me “how are you holding up? Are you doing okay?” Silly me, thinking she cared, answered with an honest “you know, to be honest, I feel like I’ve been shouldering a lot lately, and it has really taken a toll on my mental health.” She responded with “you know, Marcus (on of our warehouse employees) had similiar setiments and was complaining about how busy we’ve been. I told him ‘you should be SO thankful to be a part of this company. People are getting laid off left and right, you should come into work every day just feeling blessed.’ I sure feel blessed to be here and can’t complain.”

      So…I guess I’m not supposed to feel stressed and struggle with mental health because I still have a job?? Didn’t realize that was how it worked (sarcasm).

      For context, but main role at my company is a contract specialist. I’m the “secondary” customer service person. However, our main customer service rep left in December and has not yet been replaced. The plan is to move our warehouse manager to customer service (which he did several years ago), and then replace him in the warehouse, but per my manager, we have had no luck finding someone qualified to fill that role. So, I feel like I’ve been doing 100% of a job that isn’t my primary job, and now with the COVID-19 stuff, I’m absolutely swamped. It stinks.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        Her response is so tone deaf. You can be struggling mentally and still be grateful to be employed.

  56. JFO*

    My company has been remote-only for the past week and a half, which has been an interesting experience. I think it’s highlighting to management (who has been really slow to adopt any sort of WFH policy, for our industry) that it is possible to WFH and still maintain a level of productivity. They’re needing to up the ante on things like electronic signatures (digging my printer out of the basement only to find out we have no paper and no black ink, hope it’s okay this document was printed in CYAN on the back of an advertisement …) is definitely critical as we slowly emerge into the current state of documentation.

    Also, very interesting to see how individual managers are responding. Mine has micromanager expectations while at the same time falling off the face of the earth/being impossible to get a hold of… it’s not a productive combination.

  57. Emma Woodhouse*

    We’ve been working remotely for over a week and due to the nature of our work we’ve been incredibly busy. I have a makeshift two screen setup between my laptop and iPad but it’s not the same. I’m in Manhattan so I think we’ll be work from home for the foreseeable future. I think it’s time to order some monitors and a printer so I have a proper WFH setup.

    Melissa Wood Health at home workouts have been keeping me sane through all of this but I miss cardio equipment and boot camp classes. I’m also trying to support local businesses by ordering in as much as I can.

    I am having a hard time turning off work. Since we’re so busy, this week has felt like one giant day. I have always worked long hours but preferred to do them from the office so I could separate home and work. With going into work no longer an option, I feel like all I do is work…any advice?

    1. Not a Real Giraffe*

      How have you been able to get your laptop to “talk” to your iPad, unless you have a Mac? I tried to set this up but could not for the life of me get it to work. (I have a PC though, so maybe that’s the issue?) I tried following instructions that I found by Googling and was… highly unsuccessful!

        1. Emma Woodhouse*

          We can access files remotely through an app that I have on my iPad. I also have my work email app on there so I can either pull up a file or email on my other screen based on my needs. I wish they were connected. I’ll likely have a proper setup next week.

        2. Not a Real Giraffe*

          Thanks! My IT guy has given me the green light, so I’m going to try it out. (We, thankfully, don’t need administrator rights to download programs to our laptop.) Appreciate the tip!

  58. CupcakeCounter*

    Several people mentioned the impact this is having on those who work in the restaurant/bar/service industry. I’ve received quite a few email about buying gift cards to your local places so that they can keep some cash flow going to stay in business and pay their workers what they can. I’ve also heard that ordering takeout/delivery can by hugely helpful. I’m one of the very lucky who has disposable income and the ability to WFH.
    Do these things help? I’d really like to hear from people who work in those areas about which would be the most helpful right now. I’m already doubling and tripling my normal tips and asking any delivery people their preference on no-contact (I’m also a low risk individual and live in an area that hasn’t been hit yet but the other side of the state has so the governor has shut everything down) but what else can I do specifically for people in this situation?

    1. DarthVelma*

      Seconding this. My partner is going in for about an hour every day just to support the cafe in his building. The previous owners retired two weeks ago and this is hitting the new owners really hard at a really bad time. So he’s giving them some support and I’m getting breakfast burritos out of it every day. :-)

      Support your local restaurants and other businesses where you can.

    2. Natalie*

      My hairstylist (required to close by executive order) specifically mentioned gift cards and product ordering in the email she sent out, so that’s at least one data point from an actual person.

      If your state hasn’t already, one thing you can agitate for is help through the UI system. My state has eliminated the waiting week for people affected by the industry shutdowns or quarantine, added some Covid19 related eligibility categories, loosened rules on looking for work while unemployed, and will be covering these claims with the UI Trust Fund rather than increasing the employers’ tax rate.

      1. Jules the 3rd*

        There’s also likely to be some local donation groups – I’ve got two small local groups on my ‘Covid19 Resources’ google spreadsheet for different metro locs in my state.

    3. Sunflower*

      I think it’s the best you can do for now short of venmoing your neighborhood bartenders/servers directly. At this point, restaurants are just trying to hold on until they can open BAU again. Might be helpful to ask individual restaurants how they are using the funds. There is also a Bartender Emergency Assistance Program that you can donate to. Danny Meyer said he had to lay people off so they could collect unemployment. It seems that if restaurants can make it through this, everyone will have their jobs back (it makes no sense to not rehire people).

    4. JFGulia*

      I work in the performing arts and my husband is in restaurants. So, yeah, not a great time. We are both in salaried/managerial positions so as of right now are still fully employed. We are the lucky ones. To your question, yes, ordering take-out/delivery and gift cards definitely help restaurants right now. There are lots of assistance funds and individual restaurants are doing individual plans to try and make things as ok as possible (at my husband’s group, they have created an employee assistance fund and managers took a salary cut so that the company can pay 100% of insurance premiums for all furloughed employees).

      Don’t forget about performing arts either. If you have a ticket to a canceled event or performance and it is within your budget, consider donating the cost of the ticket back to the org rather than taking a refund. Cash flow is one of our biggest concerns right now as we try to 1) keep staff employed and 2) at least partially pay out our canceled contracts while also trying to meet the demand for ticket refunds for canceled performances. Performing Arts is one of the biggest gig economies and I am seeing all of my colleagues and friends already lose work through the summer which many times also results in a loss of health insurance (for most performing unions, your health insurance coverage is directly tied to weeks of work). There are lots of emergency funds for this field as well – many through the unions, but also through individual companies. And since so many of these groups are non-profit, any donation to an assistance fund (including a ticket return) can be tax-deductible!

  59. Tableau Wizard*

    What are people trying to do to support small businesses?

    I’m hesitant to get takeout/delivery too much, and restaurant gift cards just don’t fit into my lifestyle – I’ll forget I have them…
    But I want to do what I can since my income hasn’t yet been affected. I cancelled my housekeeper because of risk of exposure and I’m paying her anyway. I’ve considering hiring my lawn service to do a few add-ons, but yard work is actually one of the things that I feel like I can do and gets some of the “stir-crazy” out.

    What are other people doing?

    1. Asenath*

      I know people who are doing what you are doing – paying for home services, but telling the worker not to come in. I don’t hire anyone to work at my home, so I don’t do that, and don’t really know what more to do. Buy music? Some of the musicians and music sites I like offer online concerts and the chance to buy and download their music.

    2. LizB*

      Online ordering extra cat food from the small pet store we use, takeout a little bit, restaurant gift cards some (we’ve joked to friends that all birthdays and holidays for the foreseeable future, they will be receiving gift cards from local restaurants as gifts). A gift card to my hair salon to use for eventual future appointments. Online order from the local independent bookstore for reading material.

    3. fposte*

      Oh, thanks for these ideas. A lot of my area still runs on checks, which makes this hard, but I suppose I can at least send a check to those whose addresses I know.

    4. fposte*

      BTW, are there gift cards that are particularly broad without being heinous in fees and terms? Visa gift cards, Walmart?

      1. yala*

        I think those generally wouldn’t help out any small businesses. The idea with gift cards is that it gives small businesses some income *now* whereas broader giftcards wouldn’t.

        1. fposte*

          I’m not meaning them for supporting businesses; I’m meaning for distribution to garbage collectors and supermarket employees and such where cash isn’t a great idea.

    5. yala*

      If you like comics and nerdy stuff, check out indie artists, especially ones who were supposed to be at ECCC. That’s one of the biggest conventions in the country and a lot of artists really count on that as a significant portion of their income, so it being cancelled was a huge blow. See if any of their comics, in hardcopy or digital, catch your eye, or if any of them are offering commissions you or someone you know might like (commissions make great Christmas/birthday presents).

      1. Elizabeth West*

        My friend Tiffany Turrill was supposed to go and couldn’t. Google her; she is wonderful.

    6. J.B.*

      If you have enough cash to get takeout or gift cards, donating to similar amounts to the local food bank is also a great option. Our local paper had a list of things for kids to do which included people arranging driveup service for craft kits and such. Maybe buying future gifts that way?

    7. Elizabeth West*

      I can’t do much since I have no income. I also have no ad budget for my book. Just tweeting links and waiting until I have a job again. I’ve bought a few indie books but that’s the extent of it.

  60. Wing Leader*

    Well, my office is still being very lackadaisical about this thing. They insist there’s no reason for us to not be at work when no one here is sick (yet). The only thing they have done is start policing when we (the admin) are allowed to go to lunch–we now have assigned lunch times so we aren’t all going to lunch together (FYI, there are six admin including me, and we don’t all go to lunch together generally anyway).

  61. it_guy*

    My company has sent home anybody that can work from home, and is using collaboration tools (Skype, MS Teams, etc). Since a lot our staff is geographically dispersed, we haven’t noticed much difference.

    Other than the Network guys are scrambling trying to keep up with all of the changes in network usage, everything is fine.

  62. Rin*

    Has anyone else seen their social media use explode? I’ve never used to really use it but now I’m even starting an instagram of funny working from home videos. (facepalm)

    1. EddieSherbert*

      Ohhhh yes! Haha. I just realized this morning that usually I post like once a week and I’ve posted (at least!) once a day this week…

    2. Elizabeth West*

      Oh heck yeah. I’m on it anyway since I’m home, but my music chat room is JUMPING. Also, people we haven’t seen in years are peeping in now and then. That usually only happens when a prominent composer dies.

  63. uh*

    I work in an office that has to remain open. Some of the staff due to the nature of their jobs have been put in situations where they are actually in a safer environment. For the remaining 15 of us, Theoretically we can work remotely, but in team spirit mode we are more or less required to be here. It’s a mute point to argue. I understand the business’s point of view and it does make sense due to how things operate. We understand and are working through it. Of course our safety is first and accomodations are being made. Sadly, morale is low and frustrations high. Any suggestions on how to make the best of a difficult situation?

    1. The bread burglar*

      Team spirit?

      How does having more people in work thereby increasing the risk of them getting ill supposed to be a morale booster?

      If I had a job I had to be in the office, I would like to think I would want others who could to work from home. For them and me.

      I can’t really think of any ways to boost morale in that kind of situation as most places are closed/limited so even normal stuff wouldnt really work.

      1. uh*

        my wording is wrong. It’s more that we provide a service that is needed during this time. It’s hard to explain without going into details. It’s an all hands on deck situation. So even if you are not trained in this service your job is needed to make sure everything runs smoothly and pick up the slack for the people who are trained (like paperwork). Extra precautions are being made so we are as safe as can be having to come in. I think everyone is just seeing this as if I were home I’d be with my family even if I have to work type thing. I’m not making excuses for the company it’s just the nature of the industry, something we all know working in this industry.

  64. AndersonDarling*

    Do you get dressed when you work from home? Like hair and everything? I seldom have video chats and most of the time I wash my face and wear my jammies all day or change into comparable comfy clothes. It’s not like I’m going anywhere during or after work.
    It sounds like my co-workers all get dressed and have regular routines. Maybe it’s because my work is always rolling in the back of my mind so I don’t have a clear-cut work vs home routine when WFH.

    1. DarthVelma*

      I’m splitting the difference. I have on comfy pj bottoms but I’m wearing a nicer top than I would normally at home. I’m getting a lot of mileage right now out of my comfy sweaters.

    2. Jennifer Strange*

      I’ve been getting dressed because A) video meetings and B) I’ve taken my commute-free morning as an opportunity to run to the store early and try and get some things (i.e. toilet paper) before the hoard arrives to pick it clean. That said, tomorrow I may do something more casual.

    3. pj life*

      Oh heck no. That recommendation comes down to us from higher-ups, but in reality, I’d only do that if I actually had a video conference. Otherwise, sorry, no, I’m in pjs. For me, my morale is much better for being able to roll out of bed and start working. I don’t keep a lot of beauty supplies, and I’m not wasting what I do have just to sit typing.

    4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I don’t, personally. I work in yoga pants, t-shirts and a hoodie, and messy bun, and if I’m meeting with someone higher up the food chain than my manager, either there is no video involved, or if they turn theirs on before I get in the webex, I have a headscarf handy that I throw on. But I do have a schedule that I’m pretty solid on sticking to.

    5. Threeve*

      I can wear comfy clothes, but I associate all-day pajamas with really bad hangovers. Even on normal weekends, I need to get dressed, brush my hair, and put on deodorant before I feel like a human, even if I’m not leaving the house.

      I’ve also found that if I wear workout-ish clothes, it’s easier to force myself to take short exercise breaks.

    6. Working Mom*

      Another one here who kind of does half and half. I will get dressed but I’m in comfy jeans and hoodies usually. Or, I’ll get dressed in athleisure wear and try to do some yoga or exercises periodically. Doesn’t always pan out – but I try.

    7. Ewesername*

      I get dressed. Not work dressed, but running to the store on weekends dressed. (Jeans, hoody). Hair is up, again, not work up. Basically I’m ready for the surprise video meeting. I’ve noticed I’m more productive if I keep my routine close to the same.
      I am allowing myself to sleep in a little, though. That extra 30min sure is nice!

    8. EddieSherbert*

      I always change my clothes and wash my face as I do think it helps with routine… but I’m not necessarily changing into office attire! I might change from one pair of sweatpants to another. I usually put on a bra or sports bra or bralette as well ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    9. Lora*

      Comfy pants or jeans and my warm house slippers, but nice shirt and hair is in a bun or braid (as opposed to neatly done up). No makeup, but I only wear it sometimes anyway.

    10. noahwynn*

      I get up and shower and get dressed. I work in a pretty casual office anyways, so it wasn’t uncommon to wear jeans and a button-up shirt or polo to work. I have been dressing more casually at home though. Somedays sticking to sweatpants or gym shorts and a t-shirt or hoodie.

      We have Teams, so video conferencing is possible but no one seems to actually use it here, so I’m not too worried about that.

    11. M. Albertine*

      I’ve decided to split the difference: my office is business casual, but at home I’m wearing jeans and my nicer long sleeve tees and hard-soled house shoes. And brushing my hair and teeth, but not putting on makeup.

    12. londonedit*

      Yes. I’m more casual than I would be in the office, but I get up and shower and dry my hair and put on jeans and a sweatshirt or something. Like someone else mentioned, I associate staying in pyjamas all day with being ill or having an awful hangover, and I really wouldn’t feel productive if I didn’t get myself into ‘work mode’ by having a shower and putting actual clothes on. For me it’s less about how I might appear on a video call and more about making myself feel fresh and clean and ready to start the day.

    13. Jules the 3rd*

      I dress like I do on weekends. But I also have to appear in public, walking the dog. The routine really helps.

    14. MissDisplaced*

      I think it is important to maintain a routine when you WFH in order to not let yourself get lazy!

      It doesn’t mean you have to dress up in your office clothes and do your hair & makeup, but you should get up, shower and get dressed just as if you were going to work. Plus, keep your usual work hours, sit at your desk properly, and take a lunch as though you were in the office.

    15. Elizabeth West*

      When I did, I would usually put on a comfy t-shirt and sweats or leggings. No video calls, or I would have done better.

      Since I was hourly, I had to stop when it was time to stop. If I were hired someplace and they had me WFH, I would definitely make a routine where I stopped work at the time I’d normally go home even if I were salaried.

      (I always read WFH as WTF, lol)

    16. Elsajeni*

      I’m still showering and fixing my hair first thing in the morning — I actually enjoy my morning routine, so I don’t want to change it too much, and I have short hair that drives me nuts if I don’t put some product in it — but my concession to “getting dressed” is wearing comfy pants and a non-pajama T-shirt. When I have a video call this afternoon I will upgrade to jeans.

    17. Alexandra Lynch*

      Boyfriend does, but that is partly because he has mental health issues, and part of our continuing self care is “you wear work clothes to work”, even if the commute is just down the stairs to the home office right off the living room, and even if his pushy coworkers are now the cat that wants to sit on the printer to watch the birds and the cat who is convinced that humans speaking in the room want the cat in their lap. (grin)

      Plus, he knows that I like a sharp-dressed man, so it’s also for my benefit. (wink)

    18. Skeeder Jones*

      We don’t do video meetings, so yay for that. I usually change clothes but only from loungey-clothes-I-slept-in into loungey-clothes-I-didn’t-sleep-in. I prefer to be comfortable but it does help me to take a quick shower and change clothes. I have been remote for about 2 1/2 years so this is old news for me. From conversations with my teammates, we’re probably half and half between lounge clothes and something a little more like jeans.

  65. SatoMom*

    Still at work but I’m in Healthcare so not surprised. Outpatient laboratory. Patient volumes are down but that seems to be a good sign…people are staying home rather than going out for labs that can wait. I’m glad we’re here to be honest…people need us and even if I’m nervous, it’s my job to help. I feel lucky that I have a good company that is really reaching out to us with both information and help if we need it. Taking it day by day and trying not to worry!

    1. Dr. Anonymous*

      I’ve seen a lot of FIT test results come in this week. It’s like people have nothing to do at home so they’re doing their stool testing for colon cancer? I am puzzled.

  66. The bread burglar*

    Not strictly work rated but if you live/ttavel in the UK:

    BA are giving vouchers for anyone who has to cancel flights between now and the end of may currently.

    Traveline has waived their usual change fee so you can rebook any trains you have booked to up to 12 weeks from now and then change it again later. If your train was booked through them anyway as long as you do it before the train trip was supposed to happen.

    Travelodge is giving vouchers for their normally non-refundable bookings if you have to cancel any stays.

    I am sure there are others but yeah if your trips/travel is being cancelled/delayed you should be able to get at least vouchera for things that previously weren’t refundable.

  67. Pinkie Pie*

    I have a 8 year old and a 6 year old. I WFH and my husband started this week. I’m frustrated. Husband is frustrated and can’t stop working. My children are frustrated. The dog is happy. Any tips for working around kids? Because I work with hippa protected info, I’ve called our bedroom with the lock. Husband is stuck in the open layout great room and I’m trying to spell him as I can. However, the kids are a giant pain.

    1. curious*

      there are some great activities posted on facebook with ideas. I saw a cute scavanger hunt at home that took my child most of the afternoon to do. In addition a lot of streaming and online services have unique tours. Maybe do a tour of disney, museum, etc. Maybe give them a helping project – organize the pantry, clean out your toys, organize our family recipes, make some very early handmade christmas presents. Maybe back to back movies. hang in there.

      1. HiringMgr2*

        Structure!! Add structure to your kids day – even if it’s mostly play or watching semi-educational videos, with a smattering of actual math/reading peppered in. Giving them a schedule will help a ton – kids are used to a strict school schedule. At 9:53 we wash our hands before snack, at 10:05 we go to music, 11:37 is recess time, etc. Kids THRIVE on a schedule.

        Also, can you take breaks during the day to give your husband a break? I understand working with PHI – but can you power down for 2-hours each day and give your husband the locked room so he can get some peace & quiet and get critical work done, while you oversee the kids but stay connected to work by checking email on your phone?

        We’re both working from home right now too – but neither of us are sitting down and working 8 solid hours. It’s a couple hours here, a break there, a half hour meeting there, and so on. We’re getting our work done not necessarily between 8am-5pm. If you are hourly and must work 8 hours – can you get up early and get 1-2 hours done before everyone else is up? And/or take a long lunch break to give kiddos attention and then log back on and do some work after kids go to sleep? (Don’t do both – getting up early and working late – unless you can function on nearly no sleep. but maybe pick one!) You could take turns – of you’re the night owl you work late and hubby gets up early, or vice versa. We have got to get creative to make this work!

    2. WellRed*

      TO add to the other advice, have you talked to work about the need to reduce your hours a bit? Has your husband. I think the biggest mistake people can make right now is to assume business as usual.

      1. Trixie, the Great and Pedantic*

        HAH. My grandboss is screaming about report revisions, and I’m like, “Two different people have told you that this doctor’s office is closed for the next month and a half. Telling me to call them *twice* a day will not help.”

  68. can't think of a name*

    Mostly, I’m looking at how the org is handling it. The initial response lagged and official communications are… not great. I wonder about my exposure. We had/have colleagues and leadership not taking it seriously, and people mocking those that did. We are now remote, but there seems to be a need for “looking busy” that there isn’t in the office.

  69. megaboo*

    Reporting from S. Florida. We are all so thrilled that Spring Breakers are making us look even more foolish. I work for a library and we are closing, but we are still going to report to work. There is a big push for us to look busy (which is hard since we are in a public library and can’t serve the public, duh) because getting paid would get remarks. Total lack of leadership.

    1. Jellyfish*

      Yeah, I love how libraries have struggled to get proper funding for years, constantly have to prove their worth, and field the eternal scorn of people who think Google somehow provides the same exact services.

      But suddenly, libraries are absolutely essential! I mean, I like the recognition, but the timing could be better here.

    2. Jules the 3rd*

      Can you partner with any local schools and support their teachers in developing take-home packets (if your local schools seem likely to close)?

    3. yala*


      That’s what’s happening with my housemate at our public library.

      We (university library) are actually still open, just…only to people with student ids? I don’t work with the public, so I’m less exposed (still touching…so…much…stuff), but one of my coworkers has asthma and works on the reference desk, and he’s understandably worried.

  70. Kimmy Schmidt*

    I feel like I’ve got whiplash from going back and forth between “all hands on deck we have to a meeting now now now we have to work so hard to figure this out” and “I have nothing to do but wait”. That back and forth feels like the hardest part for me.

  71. Sunflower*

    For people who were job searching before- are you still doing so? Has anyone started searching in fear of losing their job?

    I was searching for a sales job (a decent amount in hotel sales) so it’s been a bit of a blessing that my search hasn’t gone anywhere as a decent chance my job would be danger. I’m a corporate event planner, employed directly for the corporation. I’m WFH but my events have been postponed(we are looking into virtual events but we’re not sure it’s the fit for us and would depend how long this thing goes on for). So far, I don’t believe I need to be worried about lay offs at my current job but always in the back of my head as other people at my job (comms, editorial) are quite busy right now.

    1. EddieSherbert*

      I was job searching, and I’ve kind of paused it… My current job is already remote, so I’m kind of thinking it makes sense to stay put for now.

      Maybe you could “research” into virtual events and try to create a pitch for one that would for your company or for a recently cancelled event? I’ve seen some really cool ones start popping up.

    2. Catmom*

      I have been unemployed since December, so I’m continuing to apply and interview when possible. It has been extremely frustrating and scary, since I’m looking in the nonprofit field and fundraising is expected to decrease significantly (the reason my job offer was rescinded in December, which makes it more difficult for me). I’m waiting to gear back from 2 interviews, both organizations said I would here back this week. If you keep searching just know that there is a lot more uncertainty and frustration in the process than there was a few weeks ago. And learn to be patient.

      1. Nervous Nellie*

        Catmom, I am with you! I’ve been out since Dec too. I am in accounting/finance, and have lost out on two interviews this week. One interview was postponed indefinitely, and the other job listing was cancelled altogether in a hiring freeze. It is scary. I second your comment – ‘learn to be patient’. We’re only at the beginning of the pandemic/economic upheaval, and those things hugely play into employer decisions. They are moving very slowly for so many reasons.

        I am cheering for you – I hope you find work! We all need to stay as positive as possible.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      I’m still applying. There is no choice; I need to find a job and get out of this house as soon as I possibly can. No one is responding, but they weren’t before, either. >:(

      I might start mentioning that I mostly worked with a nationwide team at Exjob and am a rockstar at working remotely. I’ve also been nudging people toward my portfolio as a means to showcase information presentation skills.

      1. EddieSherbert*

        Oh, that’s a good point – having experience working remotely might be seen as more of an asset now than it was a month ago!

      2. Nervous Nellie*

        EW, I am so sorry your job junt has been taking so long. Disregard if you already know this tip, but you can set email alerts in Indeed that are specifically for remote roles. Just enter ‘remote’ in the city name box on the main page. Cheering for you!

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Yes, I knew that; I chose not to get any alerts from them because I get more than enough email. I meant that if a company has gone remote during the pandemic, I would tell them I have experience working that way.

          Seems to be a moot point though, as I just got rejected again. :(

    4. leukothea*

      I’ve been looking since January, thinking it would be relatively easy for me to find something and I could afford to be a bit choosey. Wow, I really picked a bad time to be unemployed! Dozens of applications and resumes and thoughtful cover letters sent, and the most I’ve achieved is one video interview that then told me they were pausing all hiring due to COVID 19. I probably won’t be able to find anything at all for months, unless I want to start disinfecting grocery stores overnight.

  72. work life balance in my pjs*

    IT at my job has decided now is the time to slow-transition us between teleconferencing platforms. It is going horribly. We’ve also overloaded our stand-alone conferencing phone lines.

    It’s great, I spent 20 minutes yesterday trying to figure out how to do a 1:1 meeting with someone that involved screen sharing. We’re doing a lot of calling each others cell phones.

  73. Anxiety Apple*

    I have never liked WFH – I vastly prefer the routine/structure of having “this is home and that is work” separation – but I recognize how fortunate I am to have that option.

    However, I’m having a really hard time focusing. For every day (6-8 hours roughly) I spend at my computer intending to work, at least 4 of that is refreshing CNN and local news sources for more and more and more horrible news.
    I am anxiety ridden reading about everything going on, and how it’s going to affect our economy for years. I keep reading stories about employees and owners of bars, restaurants, event spaces, etc…. yet I can’t take that knowledge and use it as leverage to make myself focus on the job I am so fortunate to have right now.

    Any advice?

    1. ALM2019*

      I was going through the exact same thing so I set a few rules for myself. I check the news twice a day – specifically when my local government is doing updates (I’m in the epicenter of my state so the updates are something I still want to be aware of). I have a separate room in my home that I work from and only going in there during my working hours right now. And when I get up in the morning I’m still showering, getting dressed (but in comfortable clothes), and making sure to put on a pair of shoes. Feels very “work day” to me.
      I was really struggling to focus today so I started playing some relaxing piano music meant for studying from YouTube through a bluetooth speaker – its definitely helping! Hope some of this helps you!

    2. DAMitsDevon*

      I don’t have advice, but I’m with you about WFH. I’m glad my company is having us do it so we don’t spread germs, but I focus better in the office and also enjoy the work/home separation.

    3. Jules the 3rd*

      None, same problem. It’s better today, so I’m hoping it will just wear itself out.

      I’m priortitizing the critical stuff, and forgiving myself on the rest.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I have found that emails have all but dried up, with everyone else also working from home. I find it hard working from home, as I am somebody who likes to keep work and home life separate.

        Also, with impeccable timing, my laptop has decided to die on me, and none of the online troubleshooting has helped. Of course, all the shops are closed here, so I can’t just buy a new one.

  74. A small houseplant*

    My contract jobs are shut down, which sucks. My other pt job is “working on” part time staff pay, and my boss is bothering his boss every day about it, which I really appreciate. I’m fine but I know my friends have lost all income and have bills to pay, any savings wiped out by pet illness.

    I had a promising job interview last week, for a ft position that I think would be a good fit for me and them. They were planning on doing the rest of the interviews this week. I think they are still working, remotely and also closed to the public- there are animals involved so they aren’t totally shut down. Gonna be some weird check in emails. “Hope to hear from you soon, or not, I totally get it, hope y’all are ok” I feel like getting a job during a pandemic would be super on brand for me though.

  75. AnonEMoose*

    I’ve been working from home since Monday. My DH still has to work, despite being part of the population at greater risk because he’s over 60. He works in a distribution center, and they’re currently considered essential. But…at least he drives to work (so no exposure due to mass transit), and he and his coworkers aren’t right on top of each other, and he’s good about washing hands and such.

    My company is being great about this – if people get sick or need to care for a sick family member, they won’t need to use PTO. They’re checking in on people and communicating as things change, and it is so appreciated.

  76. Free Meercats*

    As of yesterday, the mayor sent out an edict, so I’m working from home with occasional forays to the office for things I can only do there. That’s because I’m in the high-risk group as is my wife. Most of our field work has been canceled, only things that can be done without contact with the public.

    There are plusses and minuses, but I’ll roll with them.

    1. Free Meercats*

      I’m finding quickly that my WFH setup isn’t as ergonomically friendly as the setup I’ve tweaked at work for the last 29 years. I’m using a non-ergo keyboard on a table that I can’t get at quite the right height in a chair that is fine for hours of playing WoW, but not so much for work. I’m going to pay physically for this, but it’s the right thing to do right now.

      And I need to go into the office tomorrow for a morning meeting, maybe I’ll grab my office chair and throw it into my car. That will help a lot.

  77. Liane*

    Fast casual restaurant front-of-house. I got called to stay home Tuesday because they were only doing drive-through, stayed home Wednesday (scheduled off day). Store hours are shortened a little. I am going in today in about 30 minutes or so, as Restaurant is going to try opening lobby for pickup/takeout only. I plan to wear food prep gloves and keep my touchscreen very clean. (I’d stay home but we need the money because the household is maybe a half-step above paycheck-to-paycheck, due to me only getting this job in December, so hadn’t had time to re-build savings.)

    Major grocery chain: As some of you know, both our grown kids work for one. They have approved all overtime for this week & next 2 weeks. Son (produce) has been taking advantage but often going in at 3am (vs. his usual 5 am) so he can get more work done without shoppers. He has started wearing gloves. Daughter does Customer Service, which means, like me, no getting away from customers & they are seeing a lot more business. She says they aren’t doing returns right now “but if someone’s stupid enough to want to return toilet paper, I’ll do it.” As of early last week, Grocer’s warehouse was out of TP, sanitizer & the like, and store is now bare of it. Grocer has also given employees a $25 credit to help out a bit.
    Sort of work-related–Husband told me yesterday that local VA Hospital’s online therapy system, which he uses, had “crashed” because in-person therapy sessions were being understandably moved to it. I hope it is fixed by now & stays that way, for sake of providers & patients.
    Personal Note: We wish we all could stay home, since Husband, due to to several chronic conditions is higher-risk for catching COVID-19 & having a severe case, which is exacerbating his depression issues. So we are trying to limit contact & be VERY careful with hygiene.

  78. Cardigone*

    I work with a lot of folks who don’t have typical resources and face barriers in good times (think: unemployment, homelessness, chronic health, etc.) The battle between protecting myself, my staff, and those I serve is really hard :(

  79. on the 3s*

    Workplace planning on ‘taking’ stimulus checks from employees:
    My husband’s workplace has floated the idea to middle managers that they would reduce everyone’s pay by the $2000 we might get in direct payments from the government. Their stated logic on this is that the money is to help small businesses survive, and since they are staying open and paying their employees full hours regardless of reduced workload, this money should be theirs. I am so gobsmacked by this. I don’t believe that is what the money is for. If it was, it would be sent directly to businesses. Or the money would only go to those who were unemployed. Of course this is a company of about 50 people, the owner is rarely challenged (he’s the one that has this idea), and there is no functioning HR. If it helps put it in perspective, the business will likely make it through the crisis because of the nature of the field.
    Help me think about this and formulate responses!

    1. Merci Dee*

      What. The. Actual. Eff.

      Dang. This isn’t even a letter in to Alison, and I think we may have found a solid contender for Worst Boss of the Year. It’s going to take some pretty underhanded scheming to beat this!

    2. Rey*

      This sounds crazy to me. The first thing that comes to mind is that if reducing everyone’s pay by $2000 knocks anyone below the minimum wage, that’s a problem. The second thing that I can think of is the actual logistics of this. No one knows for sure how the federal government will be dispersing this, so does the company plan to knock everyone $2000 right now, and then hope it lines up with when the check arrives? If they can’t be talked down from this terrible idea, I recommend a media leak because I can’t imagine this going over well in the public eye.

      1. on the 3s*

        The company definitely doesn’t have anyone that would go under min. wage. They are all salary workers, so I think he would want the accountant to recalculate pay for the remainder of the year, knocking off the 1k.
        He has also floated reducing salary in proportion to sales fall, which right now is about 20%. He knows the hiring market will be tight and he could get away with it. Ugh, some people.

        1. Natalie*

          Generally permanently reducing someone’s salary allows them to collect unemployment based on the difference. So he’s just going to pay that money back in UI claims or tax rate.

    3. EddieSherbert*

      What the heck?! Is that legal?! Especially since it sounds like they *are* still working… you can’t just NOT pay your employees because you heard they got money from somewhere else!

    4. noahwynn*

      Name and shame publically if they go through with this stupid plan. They are misunderstanding the point of the money. What an asshole.

    5. Nicki Name*

      If Congress follows through with the next bill, which is supposed to aid small businesses directly, does the company plan to redistribute that away from itself??

      1. on the 3s