I made it through the first week of working from home during this virus-caused lockdown. Cogneato apparently made the decision to work from home at the perfect time, for we were able to pack up our things the Friday before the lockdown was announced last Sunday.

As a website company, already primarily working on computers and the internet, the change was fairly straightforward. We already had websites, code repositories, and the like up on internet accessible servers. We took our office computers home to have our environments, files, progress, credentials, etc. available. We already had email accounts for communication, and got set up with a remote Jabber server for faster communication.

It has been a little bit more of a pain having to type out every bit of communication. Explaining some things can be verbose via instant message and tiring on the wrists to add that to all the typing I already do. But largely, it has worked fine. I already had been lined up with tasks to do and got some minor ones via message. We’ll see how it plays out if we have to start up major new projects or anything like that. I imagine we may not go into as much depth in some discussions just to avoid all the typing.

I’m tethering to my phone for internet, since that’s all I have at home. T-mobile said they are upgrading my plan to unlimited data for a month or so, which will be important for making this work. The speeds have been a little slow at times for some of the tasks I do. SSH sessions only stay open for a minute or two without input before automatically disconnecting. There have been some servers that seem to block me. Not Cogneato servers, but two separate third party servers for three sites that I’ve been working on recently. I did an SSH tunnel through our server to get around that. So overall, the phone tethering has been manageable but not ideal. Hopefully I don’t go over some threshold where T-mobile throttles or blocks me. I think I’ve been using about half a gigabyte per day between work and personal stuff, which will put me over my normal 10GB limit for a month, but not near the 50GB I’ve seen mentioned as their “unlimited” limit.

I didn’t bring home the keyboard from the office. The two usable USB keyboards I have both have some sort of problem for development use. One has a terrible positioning of the \ key and return key where they’re sort of swapped, and has a strange problem where each option key on either side only works for certain key combinations. The other keyboard requires pressing a function key to type the backtick character, which I use often, and also for any f-key. It has the function key in a weird spot. I’ve considered running to the office to get the one from there, but I think I can manage with these. Or I can connect my bluetooth one, but then I’ll have to deal with re-linking to my own computers.

This situation is strange. I miss seeing and talking to my coworkers. It’s sort of weird seeing nobody all day. It’s sort of weird being in the same building all day, every day.

I’m hoping this stay-at-home thing doesn’t last too long, but virus cases are still accelerating, so it may be a while. But I’m not sure how long we, and businesses in general, can last if things keep getting worse. We at Cogneato can do our work like this, but we also need clients, who may become hard to come by if businesses can’t stay afloat.