Last Friday, my company ran a trial "work from home" afternoon. We were sent home at lunch and everyone had to log on to our services remotely, in order to stress test how they would cope under a full load.
By Monday morning, about a third of the office were either self isolating or working remotely, either because friends or co-workers at customer offices were showing symptoms or had tested positive, or because they felt the commute was too risky. That included both of my direct colleagues and the entire team we share our half of the office with, leaving me pretty much in self-isolation at work.
Around mid-afternoon, requests started coming in to extent remote working for several people through the end of the week. Plans began being put in place by senior management for Thursday to be the last day people were expected to come into the office. I'd already put in a request to go remote from Thursday, as it felt like the right thing to do; I'd have requested earlier, but we still had events planned after work for Tuesday and Wednesday.
Then, at about 4:30pm, Boris Johnson announced that all businesses that could work remotely should do so with immediate effect. Senior management reacted swiftly and by the end of the day the office had been closed. I left with a monitor tucked under one arm to deliver to one of my team en route and everything else I'd need shoved into my backpack. My quarantine period had begun.
Alison's work were already planning a full remote day for Wednesday, and decided to stick with that strategy, so she still went into work this morning. That meant I could set up a home office and get used to the new routine alone, which was useful. I'd also made the decision to personally not go to drumming that evening, though Alison would.
By lunchtime, Alison's plans had changed and her office was closed; remote working had been enforced for her, effective immediately. An hour or so later drumming had been cancelled for the immediate future. I moved my home office setup from the main table to my desk so that she'd have some space and easy access to a second monitor.
Before the work day had ended, pretty much all future plans had been cancelled. The theatre we were meant to go to tomorrow night has been shut on government orders; the get together with friends we'd been planning for my birthday next week had been postponed indefinitely. We're now expecting a full lockdown, certainly in London, to be announced in the coming days. Welcome to quarantine ☣