7.00am Alarm goes off. Remember its National Work from Home Day, giggle softly and hit the snooze button.
7.20am Hit snooze.
7.40am Hit snooze.
8.00am Oh go on, just a bit longer. Hit snooze.
8.20am Well, I suppose I should get up. Usually it's about time to leave the house but a cup of tea seems like a better course of action.
8.40am After a shower and leisurely breakfast I complete my 'commute' to work by popping downstairs and turning on the broadband router. It's a telling contrast to braving the virus incubator that is the local Underground then grabbing tea and a marmite bagel from the local café to take to my desk.
8.45am Resisting the temptation of a quick hand of Texas hold 'em I log onto the work server via VPN and start to go through last night's emails. I'm officially at work early. If this happened normally HR would be checking to see if it's 1 April.
9.00am OK, that's the gubbins dealt with. Time to check the rest of the team. We've got a couple of people in the office; one because he's got an event near the office today and the other because he's chosen to come in. But with three kids at home I can definitely see his point.
9.30am We've had our first online meeting to decide which stories to investigate today. In terms of relative efficiency I'd say working form home loses out to face to face contact. News meetings are usually held across the desk, with everyone chucking in ideas and sharing information on additions and new sources. On email or IM this just feels a bit less smooth.
10.04am First funny internet link of the day sent in from home worker. That's definitely a change, because usually we'd have a brief natter about it. Instead it's just an email.
10.50am Anyone who thinks a home worker is more likely to be distracted needs their head examined. A quick flick through the goggle box shows Trisha, Judge Judy and Quincy ME. Nothing is more likely to get you to turn off the TV and crack on with work.
10.52am Nice to have the hi-fi, mind you.
11.14am Time for another cuppa. Now here's a definite plus. If I wanted a tea at work I'd have the choice of either paying £1 or using the dreaded office drinks machine which offers a variety of brown substances, including the optimistically titled 'Vegetable Flavoured Drink'. Give me a nice cup of Assam any day.
11.47am Hmm, it seems that the neighbours are also working from home. Nothing like a bit of Michael Bolton to ruin the tone of a phone interview. I'm sure the interviewee was impressed with his muffled rendition of When a Man Loves a Woman during the Q&A session.
12.29am After no sign of letup I've popped round for tea and a chat with noisy neighbour. Turns out they have a few days off and were packing for a long weekend. They're fine to turn it down a bit, but remind me of last month's late night Parliament-Funkadelic session and we agree to hammer on the wall like normal people next time. With good neighbourly relations restored, and an invite to a party next month, it's back to work.
1.00pm OK, that's the morning out of the way. All in all it's been very productive. We've got more stories done this morning than usual by a small but significant margin and everyone's working well. On the downside I've only had one face-to-face conversation today, which is growing increasingly vexing. Time to go shopping for lunch ingredients I think.
1.27pm Popped out to the local greengrocer for some salad fixings and chatted about the day's news. Weekdays are pretty slow anyway for him. Then back home for a healthy lunch of salad and soup, with two or three Jaffa Cakes to follow. That's over a fiver's worth of food in any café near to work and they won't let me listen to Radio 4 in the background either.
2.18pm The internet connection decides to take a dive. This is annoying, but a USB modem for emergencies like this would solve the problem while waiting for the computer to reboot and the router to reset. While professionalism denies me the opportunity to name and shame the provider, I've already called up to change supplier. Without a solid internet connection there's no way of working at home.
3.11pm The signal's been a bit patchy. If you want to work from home you must have a connection backup. And a service provider that isn't up and down like Derby County.
4.00pm It turns out home working's not so isolating as all that. A couple of friends have chatted on IM for a while and Facebook alerts keep flashing up on my email. Shocking that so many people are wasting their employer's, er, never mind.
4.30pm One of the key differences for home workers is the lack of phone calls; I've had only a handful today. In the office 10 calls an hour are not unknown, and only a fraction of them are useful. With a couple of minutes per call that's a third of the hour wasted. Home workers can get peace and quiet to get on with it.
5.00pm OK, on a standard 9-5 day the jury's in and I can say that the experiment has been a success. Work output is definitely up (outages notwithstanding) and it's a very pleasant environment to work in and getting two hours a day back is marvelous. You eat and drink much better as well.
Stir craziness is at a minimum and I've been just as contactable as if I was in the office. Distractions have been minimal, since daytime TV's unwatchable and you soon figure out what you can listen to while working without it hampering your effectiveness.
On the downside, doing this day after day would be a bit isolating. Given enough supplies you could never leave the house and I'll be off for a long walk this evening to clear out the cobwebs if the weather keeps up.
Home working is best taken in small doses for this reason. Two or three days a week would be manageable if handled properly and, if today is an example, companies would reap a significant productivity benefit.
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