25 extremely unhelpful tips for working from home

click to enlarge A happy, productive home-office worker, oblivious to the floating germs dancing around her. - JONATHAN HILL ILLUSTRATION
Jonathan Hill illustration
A happy, productive home-office worker, oblivious to the floating germs dancing around her.

To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee ordered on Monday that all non-essential workers stay at home. For some occupations — circus acrobats, commercial burglar, wandering troubadour — this is especially difficult, and many businesses have been closed.

But while Inslee's "stay-at-home" order has put an incredible strain on workers, there's a silver lining: It's led to an absolute renaissance in "Tips For Working From Home" listicles.

Unfortunately, most other publications have taken all the good tips, leaving us with the embarrassing remainders. We're talking real bottom-of-the-barrel stuff here.


You've been warned:

1. Teach yourself how to use "electronic mail" or "e-mail," for short. 

2. Only a Marax Red Ergonomic High-Back Racing Gaming Chair and a Razer DeathAdder Elite Wired Optical Mouse with Chroma Lighting will give you the high-twitch performance speed and no-lag reflexes necessary to efficiently enter data points into your Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

3. Simulate your commute by sitting in an empty bathtub for 20 minutes and giving your rubber ducky the middle finger.

4. To avoid going stir-crazy trapped in tight quarters, don't forget to take breaks to sharpen your hatchet and machete.

5. To capture the illicit thrill of an office affair, have sex with your wife.

6. For extra motivation, train your cat to dangle from a tree branch.


7. Rip down all your Dilbert comic strips, made obsolete by current events, and replace them with the comic-strip "Adam@home," the only work of fiction that contains the prophetic wisdom that will guide us through these uncertain times.

8. Get dressed up every morning as if you were going to work. Sure, you might feel a bit silly wearing the Red Robin bird mascot outfit in your living room, but it's worth it for the increased productivity.

9. Don't let yourself be distracted by the temptation to do dishes or laundry. Instead, languish in your filth and squalor, you disgusting pig. 

10. Make your dog wear a tie. This will not help you work at home, but, oh my God, can you imagine how cute that would be?

11. To ensure a professional environment, replace all your house plants with office plants.

12. Program your Alexa to use phrases like "please circle back viz-a-viz a touchpoint for your Q3 actionables" to make sure you're maintaining your proactive customer-forward mindset.

13. If you're having trouble streaming your video conferences, yell at your mom to get off the phone while you're trying to sign onto Netscape.

14. Check in with your boss every 15 minutes to let her know you miss her and you can't wait to see her again.


15. Good news: Now that you work from home, Dragon Quest Builders 2 can be officially deducted as a "business construction" expense on your taxes.

16. To maintain a proper work-life balance, start sleeping at your office.

17. Sit down your children to explain that while, theoretically, you support unions, unionization would, unfortunately, be a mistake for them to pursue at this precarious time for the household, and may even result in further layoffs.

18. Wear name tags until your family can remember everyone's name.

19. End all of your emails and instant messages to co-workers in an exclamation point to show you're excited and helpful! Ending messages with a period is just begging for a hostile-work-environment complaint.

20. Working from home is a perfect opportunity to get some baking done. Preheat the oven, toss in some dough, and then — voila! — forget about it until it's a black hunk of ash.

21. When you're on the clock, you're on company time. Don't waste time during work hours by watching Netflix, telling your children you love them, or fretting about our imploding economy and collapsing health care system. Save that for reactional hours.

22. If you already find your living space a bit cramped, working from home can feel downright claustrophobic. Get creative: Turn your wine cellar into an impromptu board room, convert your drawing room into a reception lounge, and reserve your panic room for document shredding.

23. Continue to write "DANIEL'S LUNCH — HANDS OFF — THAT MEANS YOU, WILSON" on everything you put in your fridge, even your home fridge. Yes, you're working from home, but your co-worker is extremely sneaky and if you don't label your food, he will break in and steal it.

24. Be careful: By emergency order, CDC guidelines have upgraded all "Not Safe For Work" internet links to "Not Safe For Home" links.

25. Take comfort: If the president of the United States can work from his home, then so can you!         

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About The Author

Daniel Walters

A lifelong Spokane native, staff writer Daniel Walters is the Inlander's City Hall reporter. But he also reports on a wide swath of other topics, including business, education, real estate development, land use, and other stories throughout North Idaho and Spokane County.He's reported on deep flaws in the Washington...