If Covid-19 has you forced to stay home, here are some suggestions to help make it easier.
So, you’ve been sent home to work because you can no longer work out of your office or you’ve returned from a trip and have a 14 day quarantine period to make it through.
It’s the right thing to do even if you think it’s going to be hard work. I read a great quote today:
“Your grandparents got asked to go to war. You’re being asked to sit on your couch. You can do it!”Unknown
Being isolated is an important part of stopping the coronavirus spread. I travelled to Hong Kong at the height of the SARS virus outbreak which in hindsight was a stupid thing to do. Don’t be me.
It’s also important to preface this post with two important notes.
The first is, there is nothing good about the global effect that the Covid-19 is having on peoples lives – those directly affected, and those indirectly affected. This is something none of us has seen in our lifetime. We need to support each other and keep communication lines open. Let’s not isolate ourselves socially even though we may have to physically.
The second is that I’m assuming if you have already stocked up on food and essentials and you are now on the couch, or at a table in your house figuring out what to do next, other than work from home.
With all that said, the reality for most people is that this is a bit of a drag. You’re home but there is only so much Netflix you can watch.
It’s important to stay connected to people and mentally busy for your overall health.
So, what do you do with your time and how do you stay connected?
Remember, you can still shop online
If you’re going to really pimp out your quarantine it’s going to need to sound good, look good and give you someone to talk to. Here are some ideas and gadgets to keep you busy while your ‘working from home’. Amazon.com / Wallmart / everywhere will still deliver to your home, even if you have to keep a safe distance from the delivery guy.
Whatever you need to make this time pass effectively is know you still have access to all the stuff you could possibly need (and food…that’s important too) to purchase to set your home up for this period of time.
1: Get a companion with a Smart Home Speaker (with a Smart Assistant)
This is the first thing you’ll need to make this time more enjoyable, and it’s not expensive. If you’re alone you’ll have someone to talk to and ask questions of. You can play music on Spotify, Amazon Music or TuneIn, get news updates from CNN/Fox or whoever, play podcasts and more.
If your friends or family have Alexa you can drop in on each other for a chat. And if you have an Echo Show you can video call easily between devices.
Seriously people – I am not making light of this stuff. It’s important to stay connected and in communication with other people when you’re in isolation. Staying connected even if it means shouting out the window to the neighbours or similar. Mental health is important!
Take a tip from the people of Siena. It’s a beautiful story but one many of us would find hard to simulate without technology. So use Alexa Show, FaceTime, Google Hangouts or whatever!
2: Get some reading done
It’s a perfect time to fall back in love with reading. Get a book. any book (ideally with a positive vibe) and get lost in the words. If it has to have a technology element then get a kindle and fill it with some ebooks or even some podcasts to get you going.
Like music, books have a way of transporting us to wonderful places, igniting our imaginations and also helping time to pass very quickly.
It might be a novel or it could also be an educational book. Something to make us smarter at work, or something to help raise our IQ or EQ.
Whatever you choose, I bet you a bag of marshmallows you feel great after conquering a book.
3: Answer the door, without answering the door
If you want to be able to talk to people at the door and see who is at the door without having to open the door, then a smart doorbell is a great way to interact with people while keeping your distance.
Amazon have just released a new model of the Ring Doorbell 3 which means the Doorbell 2 (which is still awesome and not much different) is now on special. If you haven’t thought of this I recommend it. I have the Ring Video Doorbell 2 and it’s a great way to answer the door without answering the door. 2 way audio and a smart phone app so you can answer it anywhere.
If you wanted to level up you could also get a solar outdoor video camera so you can see what’s happening outside your house. They have 2-way audio as well so you can talk to people you see out there. I have the New Ring Stick Up Camera which works as well as the Doorbell and they work well together. You can also monitor them from the same app.
4: Take some quality time with your music collection
It may not cure coronavirus but I do believe that music heals the soul and the body in many ways. I’m not whacky, it’s got some scientific backing.
Being in isolation can sometimes leave you with the need to feel something. Music is amazing for this.
To make your music really feel good you’re going to need one of three things. Either a better pair of headphones, better HiFi speakers for your stereo or a decent smart speaker (if you haven’t already bought one from #1 on this list).
A decent sounding smart speaker with a smart assistant and enough quality sound to make you feel it comes mostly in 4 flavors:
- Alexa Studio – the latest with Dobly Atmos built-in, and Alexa of course. She wouldn’t be left out in the cold.
- Apple HomePod – which sounds fabulous also. Has Siri built-in if you don’t fancy Alexa.
- Google Home Max – which is Max primo sound with Google Assistant built-in (the smartest in my testing).
- Sonos One smart speaker with Alexa built-in – for those who love Sonos but still like to have Alexa to talk to.
Better HiFi speakers for home is a longer conversation but if you want big bang for your buck then look no further than Q Acoustics. The Q Acoustics Concept 40 or 3010i speakers stand out in their field and don’t cost the earth.
In the headphones department, you might like to look at noise-cancelling options. If that is the case we’d recommend a couple of noise-cancelling Units and perhaps one brand that isn’t.
- The Bose QC 35 ii headphones are wireless Bluetooth headphones and also come with Alexa if you want to talk to her, or turn a light switch on or off on your smart hub without interrupting the beat.
- A cheaper option would be the Sony WH1000XM3 Headphones. Still sound fantastic, especially if you like the Sony sound signature.
- A cheaper option still, which will still have you enjoying some time with your music while your at home would be anything from MPow.
5: Make your home smarter
If you haven’t already dabbled in Smart Home and Home Automation technology this would be a good time to do so. You could get a Samsung SmartThings which is a Smart Home Hub and few smart devices like a smart bulb or smart switch and set up some fun automation around your house.
There are so many options here. You could go all out and also get a Harmony Remote Control Hub and sit on the couch telling your TV to turn on and off, turn the volume up/down and change the channel.
You could get some motion sensors and set up the house so when you walk into the lounge at night a smart light turns on. You could use Alexa routines to have a house light turn green if your smart doorbell detects motion.
The options here are limitless and lots of fun, with practical applications. We have an easy smart home guide here if it helps.
6: Enjoy good coffee, even if you can’t make it to the coffee shop
In my Top 10 best purchases of all time sits a Nespresso machine. Yes, I know it’s not the best barista-quality coffee made by a talented Italian called Luca at the coffee shop around the corner but it’s good enough for a nice brew at home. I love my Nespresso machine.
You can always take your coffee makes game up a level with a better barista machine but you also need the house and kitchen bench to accommodate it. Breville has some talents in this area.
A final note to say wash your hands. Sing Happy Birthday at least twice while you do. Even if you’re home on your own. It’s a good habit to get in to and it’s always been a good way to reduce the spread of infections.
That’s a few suggestions to help stay connected and give you something to watch, listen to and play with while you’re at home.
This will pass and we all hope soon. It’s a terrible season and we send positive thoughts to everyone affected.
If you have your own suggestions of things to do during a forced work from home time or 14 days quarantine period, add it in the comments section below.
Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.
Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.
This post was last updated on 2022-12-11 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.