How Much Time Did You Lose In The Pandemic?

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

As my regular readers are aware, I’ve speculated on how the Pandemic has slowed down my projects and my life.  That got me asking something – is there a way to calculate how much time is lost due to the pandemic?  Of course I had to try.  

Let’s go through my thought processes – it might help you as well.

So first, I decided to calculate time lost in hours.  Because I’m that over-organized and like fine detail.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The calculations below already account for how different needs interfere with each other. In other words, this is real loss due to stress/time/etc. not just available time shifting around.

First, I went to my projects.  I track my projects pretty closely, and I found I’ve functioned at 80-90% efficiency for about a year.  A few quick calculations and I found that my overall projects – from writing to home improvement – got delayed or took extra time.  That was about 5 hours a week, to my surprise – disconnected from everything else.

Secondly, I went to regular chores such as shopping and so on.  No longer could I or my GF randomly run to the store.  We also had to preplan a lot of work, engage in other safety procedures, and so on.  This one was shocking as we found this added another two hours of time a week.

(Sometimes online shopping takes longer as you just can’t grab stuff you realize you need or do it on the way home from work).

Finally, seeing now and then I notice we’d just crash more than usual.  That was intermittent, but usually turned out to be about four hours a week.

Note this also didn’t worry about saving time due to not commuting.  That was not as big as I thought – only about three hours a week.  Car pooling saved me more time than realized because I could just sit and work on stuff.

So all together I realized I’m losing eight hours a week in the pandemic from stress, from things taking longer, from not being able to double-up on chores.  In one year I’ll have lost over 400 hours – this is due to things taking longer, extra unexpected tasks, stress, and schedule changes.

It really does feel like I  need a two month vacation.

So anyway there’s an invite to you – how much time have you lost?

Steven Savage

Steve’s Work From Home Findings: Look, It’s Possible

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

I’ve been interested in Work From Home for some time – about twenty years. I’ve done it now and then for over fifteen years, and as of late all the time (involuntarily, admittedly). So can people work from home, well my answer is obviously yes.

Let’s look over what we have:

  • We’ve had email for decades, and we’ve used that for business for the same.
  • We’ve got multiple possible chat programs.
  • We’ve got multiple possible conference programs.
  • We’ve got tons of collaboration software, from things like Google Docs to Jira to Rally.
  • We’ve had the phone for how long? We can just use that sometime, even if to most people “phone” means “handheld PC” by now.

Honestly, there’s no reason not to at least try to have every office, admin, coding, executive, etc. job from home. There’s no reason to drag ourselves into an office or even have one. We can do it, and reap all the benefits.

The barrier is that some are reuluctant to switch over to work from home as you have to do things differently. Schedules change. Methods change. Record keeping changes. Moving to work from home requires people to rethink how their work is done.

I think there’s some reluctance to admit WFH is possible as so many people pushed back against it for bad reason. Many people who’d faced illness, family challenges, or disability have asked for it – and gotten rejected. If we head for more WFH, it will require a moral reckoning.

This is scary enough, but truth be told business processes and job methods probably do need to be thought over. Why are things stored a certain why, why is some business done in person, why did we turn down this request, etc. It’s a good idea to ask if what you do works anyway, and when you look at Work From Home, it requires you to rethink everything. Work from home just requires asking a lot of uncomfortable questions all at once.

The thing is during COVID-19, people seemed to have answered those questions, removed those rejections, and modified those processes pretty damn fast. The Pandemic has proven we can restructure work and work processes in an emergency, so we might as well run with it.

We’ve been able to do this for years. We proved we could. Let’s go do it.

Steven Savage

Steve’s Work From Home Findings: Those Who Can’t WFH Deserve More

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

So I’d like to sit down and discuss what I’ve learned about Work From Home over the last few months. I am of the firm belief that more people can work from home, should work from home, and there are great benefits. I think we need to shift our businesses to more work from home. But this brings up my first finding: those who can’t Work From Home deserve a lot more.


This isn’t just about people in essential jobs deserve to be paid more. This isn’t just about these jobs require a lot of skills. This is that those in these hands-on, be-on-premises jobs, deserve more PERIOD.

They deserve to be paid more – and most of us are pretty underpaid as is. This is pretty much a given. But let’s look at what essential people face;

  • They have to travel to a job, disrupting their life and schedule.
  • They have to deal with all the problems of being tied to a location, which as we’ve seen has challenges.
  • Work tied to a location often has inconvenient schedules, where many of us get standard weekday work.

And consider what many “on-site people” have to do. These are skilled jobs:

  • They have to deal with people person-to-person. If you have ever seen a cashier, stocker, etc. deal with an irate or curious or lost customer, that is serious knowledge and emotional labor being deployed.
  • They have to deal with physical infrastructure: traveling in an area, dealing with physical inventory, installing computer components, etc. There is physical, mental, and skilled labor here.
  • Dealing with physical infrastructure often has risks: chemicals, heavy equipment, disease exposure, etc. Doing that right, being safe requires work – and compensation.

These people deserve more money and of course proper benefits. But they also deserve more.

They deserve respect. We’ve just found that those who can’t work from home are people we often depend on, and they deserve to be respected. They do not deserve to be abused by angry customers, or people that won’t observe health advice, and so on.

They deserve a career. We need so many people who can’t WFH and they deserve to have a life, with a career. Not just because they do work, but they’re DAMN GOOD at what they do, so let’s make sure they have a path. Some do have a career, of course.

They deserve support. Medical care on site. Health services. Meal services. Anything that helps them do their jobs dealing with US the annoying public.

This applies to people from store stockers and baristas to doctors and nurses. We rely on these people to be intimately involved in our lives and help us out. They deserve a lot more.

And if this makes you realize your doctor and the barista who has your coffee are similar, good. Because that doctor who deals with your hypochondria and that barista who remembers your order and gives you a kind word, are both supporting you. Keep that in mind.

Now, my future writing is going mostly go to us who can work from home. But keep in mind those that can’t deserve MORE.

Steven Savage