Work-from-home tech confessions

These are the major issues that tripped us up during the first weeks of remote work.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman
2 min read

Every office is now a home office. Maybe it's the open-office version, taking up a corner of a dining table. Maybe it's even a kind of upgrade, to the kind of private office virtually no one has anymore, just tucked away in a den or basement. But unless you've been a full-time work-from-home type since before the arrival of the coronavirus, this is still uncharted territory, full of missteps, problems and unexpected consequences. 

I asked some of the people I work with, tech experts all, what issues they've discovered in our brave new WFH world. 

Read more: How to stay sane and productive when working from home

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Josh Goldman

While I work from home regularly, I don't have the dedicated workspace that everyone recommends. It's never really been an issue either, but now with my kids at home, finding a quiet spot to work is suddenly about as easy as finding Charmin at the store. Instead, we're going the opposite direction and turned our dining room into an open office by using the table's leaves to extend it and giving each one of us a "workstation" so no one is fighting for space. And like a true open office, everyone has a pair of headphones.

Read more: Online education classes for every age and grade

Lori Grunin

My confession is I can't work from home. My chair isn't high enough, so my back is killing me, I don't have enough space to spread out, and on top of that, I can't concentrate at all. Being surrounded by sleeping cats makes me just want to go back to bed. On the upside, I can sit in the dark, and my network performance has been pretty normal.


A rustic desk, Katzmaier-style. 

David Katzmaier/CNET

David Katzmaier

My basement, where I have my main "home office" desk, is a visual disaster that makes a terrible backdrop for Zoom calls. The first thing I did was create a decent backdrop with a bookshelf and some knicknacks in another corner of the basement. I can quickly set up the "conference area" using a secondary desk made of sawhorses and a plywood plank that nobody in the meetings can see. 

Read more: How to change your Zoom background

Scott Stein

Even though I sensed the shutdown coming, I didn't accumulate enough home recording options on my own, like microphones. Now I'm realizing how key certain pieces of gear are. Also, while I've worked from home for a while, off and on, the continuous nature and the not-going-out-at-all part has made me respect and clean my spaces more. It's like living on a ship.

Watch this: CNET video team share home setup secrets

What have you discovered about the full-time WFH lifestyle? Share in the comments or tweet me

More on WFH tech

Watch this: Coronavirus lockdown: Why social distancing saves lives

35 things to buy if you're stuck at home thanks to coronavirus (besides toilet paper)

See all photos