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Lifestyle

How long will we be working from home? What we know — and what we don’t

A man works from his home in Long Beach.
A man works from his home in Long Beach.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

As we head into the fourth week of a statewide order to shelter in place, many of us can’t help but wonder: When will it end and when can we all go back to work?

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has said that his executive order to stay at home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus will continue “until further notice.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told Business Insider that Los Angeles residents should prepare to stay at home for another two months, and “be prepared for longer.”

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Stanford University biologist Erin Mordecai, who has been working on an interactive site examining long-term interventions for COVID-19, said that “if social distancing were our only tool, we’d have to stay at home for about five months or else we’d get a resurgence.” She is also concerned about a rebound in COVID-19 cases once social distancing measures are lifted. “We need to apply multiple interventions over a long period of time — 12 to 18 months or more — until effective treatments and/or vaccines are widely available,” she said in an interview with Stanford News.

As California prepares for a tough week with a spike in deaths expected, we are reminded of all that we have lost as we hunker down at home.

“We have some very difficult days ahead, and now is the time for all of us to redouble our physical distancing efforts and look after our neighbors, friends and families who may be at the highest risk for serious illness from COVID-19,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

This pan-roasted honey brioche from Dyan Ng, pastry chef at Auburn, introduces a pastry technique that’s ideal for stress-relief during coronavirus.
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“The next few weeks are going to be critically important because we are going to see more cases of people who are positive with COVID-19, but it’s our hope that the rate of increase continues to be manageable and that we don’t overwhelm our healthcare system,” she said. “If you have enough supplies in your home, this would be the week to skip shopping altogether.”

While it’s not likely that we will go back to work soon, we can offer some suggestions on how to try and cope while maintaining social distancing. We know it isn’t easy as people work from home, juggling kids, pets and aging parents in the process. Until then, here are 10 suggestions on how to help flatten the curve — and exercise a little self-care — while you’re stuck at home.

Staying home this weekend? We’ve got some ideas. Take care of your plants, make your house cozier, help neighbors and start planning your next trip.


1. Plant a victory garden. As the coronavirus has prompted an interest in self-reliance, nurseries have been inundated with requests for edible plants and are now offering drive-up, contact-less pickup. Staff writer Jeanette Marantos offers tips on what to plant right now.

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2. Color those roots. Gray roots? Professional hair colorists and stylists offer tips and tricks on how to best tend to hair during quarantine. Bottom line: Hairdressers don’t want to have to color-correct your hair in a few months, so fix it the right way now.

3. Give yourself a manicure. If your gel manicure is growing out or peeling don’t despair, there’s time to take care of your nails using tips from celebrity manicurist Tom Bachik, whose clients include Jennifer Lopez, Selena Gomez and Kim Kardashian West.

4. Make your own face mask. Now that federal health officials have recommended we wear cloth masks, they are even harder to find. We rounded up a variety of mask tutorials, from medical professionals to crafters, from no-sew to advanced, to help you make your own mask when you absolutely must leave the house.

5. Practice yoga from home. Unclench your jaw. Move your shoulders around a little. Turn your head from side to side a few times. If that feels good, you should start thinking about doing some yoga at home. In fact, right now it’s more important than ever to be doing activities like yoga, says Alli Simon, a yoga and meditation facilitator from South L.A.

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6. Treat yourself to some drive-through luxuries. Platform, the Culver City shopping center, is offering drive-through pickup of select items from many of its independent boutiques and restaurants including takeout, wine, bathrobes and candles. Order online and purchases will be waiting for you when you arrive, with all proceeds benefiting the vendors and not Platform.

7. Hang out virtually. You might be stuck inside for now but you can still play games, have a dinner party and visit with friends online.

8. Tackle some spring cleaning. Professional organizer Marla Stone offers tips on how to declutter and get organized while you’re self-isolating. Just be sure you don’t drop off all of those items at the Goodwill right now as they are closed due to the pandemic.

9. Meditate and practice mindfulness. Mindfulness meditation can help provide clarity during anxious moments. Experts offer tips on how to stay calm during the coronavirus outbreak and other stressful events.

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10. Bond with your houseplants. While many people are coming together virtually, now is a good time to tend to your houseplants. Are you watering your plants too much? Or not enough? We offer some ways to cultivate your indoor garden.


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