Day 1 – Friday March 13

The first day of lockdown/quarentine/homebound went fairly smoothly.  The kids had mixed emotions about being home, but it was so new and novel that it sort of seemed exciting.  One of the hard parts was they had not had a chance to say goodbye to friends and teachers in person.  They both got online to talk to friends which made things a lot better, but it was hard.

Working from home it felt sort of normal.  I periodically work from home on Fridays anyways and despite the kids being home it didn’t feel that different.  Some of my colleagues were still in the office, and I was thinking at some point that I had over-reacted.  This was still the mentality at this point.

Around 3:30pm I saw a notice on our company intranet that all employees in the US, Canada and all of Europe were asked to work from home for the next three weeks.  We received the official email around 4pm.  This meant that my two break was now extended to at least 3 weeks.  And my guess of not being back in the office in March was correct.  It seemed extreme to announce that tens of thousands of Novartis employees in Europe and North America would now be working remotely but it seemed like it was the right call.  Many other companies in the greater Boston area had already made this call and with the lack of people in the office it didn’t make sense to continue.

Novartis has many employees here in Cambridge (and elsewhere) who work in jobs that cannot be done remotely, especially bench lab work and working with animals.  These employees would be given more specific guidance by their departments.  The company offered free parking for anyone who still had to come to the office and didn’t already have a parking spot (since the rest of us were not going to be there the parking lots would be empty).  And they offered free lunch for any employees on site.  Although they asked them to eat at a distance from colleagues.  They were small, but kind gestures knowing that some employees would still need to be in the office.

The end of the day felt like a turning point as more and more announcements were coming in about closures.  We would have the weekend to figure out routines for the coming weeks but it was clear that we weren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Cute puppy photo of the day:
(It was not my idea to get a puppy, but Daisy and I have become buddies)


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