Like many millions of other people, I’m working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic. I consider myself fortunate my employers reacted quickly enough to enable me to do it.

To be honest, we weren’t really set up for remote working but the rapid purchase of some extra software and the boxing-up and transporting of a rather expensive computer means that my dining room table is now, in effect, my office.

And I also consider myself fortunate that I actually still have a job – many others don’t as shops, bars, restaurants and leisure centres are forced to close.

But I also realise that my company relies on business in general continuing to function to enable it to make money. Essentially, my employers operate in what is known as the B2B world – business-to-business.

As the pandemic shows no sign of abating in the very near future, I wonder how many employers – mine included – will be able to continue.

So yes, things look pretty gloomy at the moment but I am trying to find some positives (for the sake of my own wellbeing if nothing else).

Perhaps the drastic changes that have been forced on our lives may cause us to pause and rethink once this is all over.

Take, for example, my situation.

I was happy to get my current job last year but it did mean commuting to Manchester three days a week. Regular readers will know that brought me face-to-face with the trials and tribulations of dealing with Northern Rail’s shabby and unreliable train service.

To ensure I got to work on time, I had to get up a lot earlier than I’ve ever had to in my entire working life. Then, at the other end of the day, I was at the mercy of the rail network again.

Not to put too fine a point on it, I really dislike my commute.

Since Thursday, I’ve been set up to work from home. I was at my computer before 9am and worked steadily through the day. I made sure I stayed in touch with my colleagues in Manchester by phone, email and instant messaging. I took breaks, went for a walk around the garden and generally cracked on.

The ‘new’ way of working, I believe, was successful.

Now I expect my experience is not unique. I’m guessing there are tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people who would normally commute are working from home.

Maybe, when this is all over and life returns to something approaching normality, it will prompt more companies to consider remote working as the new normal.

Just think of all the benefits that could bring in the battle against climate change. Perhaps those who do have to commute could actually start getting a seat on the 7.39 from Warrington Central to Manchester Oxford Road.

  •  It goes without saying we are in the middle of a crisis. You only have to look at the staggering sums of money the government to get a sense of the scale of the problem.

We can only assume the information we are being given by the scientific and medical experts is correct and that social distancing and self-isolation is the one means of keeping the coronavirus at bay.

So what, then, do I make of Wetherspoons owner Tim Martin who said last week that shutting pubs because of coronavirus is ‘over the top’ and they should stay open ‘for the duration’.

The chain’s founder and chairman argued that supermarkets were far more crowded and claimed there had ‘hardly been any transmission’ of infection in pubs.

I think the world would be a much better place if Mr Martin kept his opinions to himself.

  • This column was written on Sunday, March 22, so my reference points are the new rules and regulations in force at the time. It may well be that by the time you read it, things will have changed.