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My first week working from home during the coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic

Hi all. I feel very fortunate, especially during the last couple weeks, to be a Crossref staff member. I’m able to work from home during the global health crisis related to coronavirus and COVID-19, which, as you’ll read, has been an adjustment. But, I’m working (albeit less efficiently than previous weeks). And, as of this writing, none of my friends, family, or neighbors have contracted the virus. I know I’m lucky; not everyone can say that. And, I know things will change, but I wanted to share what the last week has been like for me.

I’m part of a supportive and understanding team here at Crossref, who I am grateful for and continue to be connected to from afar (thanks, y’all!). Having others to share trusted resources, family stories, my fears and anxieties, and the best memes with has kept me grounded. As I have been reflecting on this week, I thought I’d post something here, in our community forum, so others in the Crossref community could have the invitation to connect as well. Please add your favorite trusted resources, stories, feelings, and memes below. Or, if you just feel like reading, know that, while it may feel otherwise during this time of uncertainty, you are not alone.


I don’t normally work every day from my home. Yes, I’m the only Crossref employee in Oklahoma, and one of only two in the central time zone (Hi, Joel!), so not having physical contact with my co-workers for long periods of time is the norm. That’s why I typically work from a co-working space here in Tulsa. It’s a way for me to stay connected and have an excuse to shower and brush my hair. But, the last week, which feels more like months, has been anything but normal. I’ve moved my equipment into my family’s spare room to make a home office. We’re all practicing social distancing.

My two young daughters are out of school for at least the next few weeks; I’m hoping that will soon be extended to the remainder of the school year. My wife, daughters, and I have left the house only a handful of times since Sunday, mostly to exercise during breaks in the week’s heavy rains. We’re all here. We eat together, talk about coronavirus, call our loved ones, exercise, and frantically predict what the hours ahead might look like. Then I’ll read an article about some new research that contradicts our previous understanding of the virus; or, I’ll see a headline on the latest from Italy; or, a friend will share a meme that reminds me I’m not alone (and that there are a lot of funny people in the world) and I am pulled back into that cycle of endlessly analyzing and forecasting. Sometimes those distractions are nice; other times they’re overwhelming.

Frankly, it’s just really difficult to focus on anything for long periods of time. Everything is changing so rapidly. And, in my experience, the best tool for coping with confusion, anxiety, sadness, and fear is a hug. But, that’s gone. Fist bumps seem too risky and waving at somebody from six to eight feet feels awkward.

Here are some of thoughts/conversations/news I’ve noted from the last five days:

  • My brother just called to say that the state where he lives has closed all of the healthcare centers that he typically works from. What will that mean for him?

  • Wash. Your. Hands.

  • “Can you give me a second please?” “What is it, sweetheart? Oh yeah, I do love your painting. Will you show that to me after I am done with this meeting? I’m on a call right now. Give me another five minutes, little lady…” “Sorry about that.”

  • Oh, there’s a White House taskforce press conference scheduled for later today. I wonder what that means?

  • “Hey [talking to my wife] have you seen these memes of people pretending to ride the subway from their bathrooms? You know, to continue their daily routines. Ha!”

  • Refresh https://0-coronavirus-jhu-edu.libus.csd.mu.edu/map.html

  • “What? The grocery store is out of peanut butter? Like, all of it or just that kind….”

  • Cool! Our members can now flag their content FREE TO READ to make COVID-19 research freely available to all: https://0-www-crossref-org.libus.csd.mu.edu/documentation/flagging_free_to_read/

  • Glad the sun came out. Chatted in the driveway with my neighbors. They don’t know how all of this will affect their business, but they have a fully stocked cupboard at the moment. That’s good.

  • California residents now ordered to stay at home.

  • “Did you say that the new research suggests it can live three hours in the air? The air?”

  • Oh no, Brazil!

  • “Oh, I completely forgot I was supposed to do that. I’m sorry. I’ll get that to you ASAP.”

Isaac’s own attempt at the shower train meme.

I’d love to close with something hopeful or reassuring, but I’m not sure what exactly I can say that is equal parts optimistic and honest. I’ve never experienced a week like this one. I’ll probably say the same next Friday. But, knowing that others are getting through this right now does help me; my hope is that on the other side I can give you a hug or at least a fist bump.

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Virtual hugs are still allowed @ifarley :hugs: . Missing you all lots!

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@ifarley - As one of the newest members of the Crossref team I want to thank you for continuing to show just how amazing the staff is. Never did I imagine I would become part of such an amazing team.

The only thing I can add to your incredibly thoughtful post is a recreation of what I imagine our first meeting in person will look like:

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We’re missing you too, @Ginny! Virtual hugs to you too. Looking forward to welcoming you back when you’re ready.

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We’re lucky to have you @jschuweiler! I assume that’s me on the right, right?

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I too feel very fortunate that I work at an organization that allows me to work from home and I don’t take that lightly. So many others do not have that option.

I experienced nearly all of the bullet points you shared above!
This image shared by one of our colleagues made my friends and family laugh, so I’ll share here.

.

I hope others find this post, feel comforted, less alone, and will share as well.

Thanks for sharing this, Isaac. :fist_right::fist_left:

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Glad you’re here too @rclark! What a weekend ahead! I do wish I had that second bath.

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No, you’re on the left.

I also look forward to meeting your family.

(If it’s not clear, I’ve been working full time from home for six years)

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I’m hoping that our all-staff-get-together later this year will be the location for all these meetings. Fingers crossed for that!

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Maternity leave is lonely enough at the best of times but not being able to pandemic-meme-share with y’all on slack is like a new kind of sleep withdrawal! Glad to hear your family is staying safe and sensible. It’s fine here too, if weird. I can’t wait for us all to become overnight expert home-schoolteachers :astonished:.

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Well said Isaac and I can so relate. Glad for all my colleagues and their sense of humo(u)r.

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  • “Did you say that the new research suggests it can live three hours in the air? The air?”

Can it? Does it? I only just navigated walking by someone on a 1m pavement with an over-hanging tree keeping a 2m distance! We both stopped 5m before the tree and said “after you!”… “ no, after you” … “I insist” … “shall I step into the road to give you space!” … “that would be very kind” … “good day” … “good day”.

Great post! You made me smile as I headed into the weekend

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That’s hilarious, @bryanvickery!

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Glad it brought a smile, Bryan. I enjoyed writing it. I’ve had similar experiences this week on our walks.

And, yes, on the air question: https://0-www-nytimes-com.libus.csd.mu.edu/2020/03/17/health/coronavirus-surfaces-aerosols.html and/or https://0-doi-org.libus.csd.mu.edu/10.1056/NEJMc2004973.

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Thanks for these warm words, Isaac! And thanks to everyone at Crossref for bringing your humor and compassion to such a hard situation. :crossref_icon:

everyone navigating their shower trains like…

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I already assumed that virus can survive in air before WHO declared!! Rapid transmission and pandemic only possible if virus survive in the air.

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You described my quarantine in 3 lines, haha.

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Are you in Brazil right now @BrunaErlandsson? How are things where you are?

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Hi everyone! In the south of Brazil, Maringá city it is early autumn, the colors of the sky are beautiful.

Working in the bedroom, kitchen, balcony. :sweat_smile:

The quarantine left me with only the sky and a lot of traffic noise from delivery motorcycles all the time, and 21:00 curfew.


He went out a few times to go to the market and it was scary. Trying to invent some food. Today the spaghetti was not good. hahaha :laughing:

We still have low numbers on the pandemic, but it is due to the lack of rapid tests and the weather is still hot (23C), but when winter comes I am very concerned. :frowning_face:

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Heyy! Yeah, I’m in Brazil just like my friend @edamasio!

As Damasio said, the numbers are still “low” here, but I’ve talked to some friends that are ICU doctors and they are expecting the worst to come in the mid of this month :frowning:

Looks like some people have a hard time understanding that its necessary to stay inside (this includes our President, haha).

Hopefully it will happen soon! You should bring your kids, how old are they? It would be nice to celebrate the end of this nightmare by the beach :slight_smile:
:mask:

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