16th March 2020

Remote working put to the test…

Summary

Like many of you, your employer will be in the process of implementing a contingency plan, should they need to make the decision for you to work from home. Our Head of Managed Services is currently testing out our remote working solutions whilst in self-isolation. Keep updated on how Greg gets on with our 'working from home plan'.

For many of us, remote working may soon become the norm. At present, business continuity is key across many industries... Stay tuned to see how Greg gets on with our 'work from home' plan.

Sian Webster Head of Marketing

DAY ONE:

9:00am: Working at home. For some it’s normal. For most, even in 2020, it is something that we do once in a blue moon or not at all. I am writing this post from home right now. My little girl is running a fever so we need to isolate her for a week. On the odd occasion I have worked from home in the past it has been a case of background tunes and solitude. Now it is a case of background CBeebies and rampaging toddler! 😁 The perfect test of the AirPod Pro’s noise cancelling capabilities!

11:00am: I have to say the AirPod Pro’s are working an absolute treat. Paired with both my laptop and mobile so I can jump between all types of calls automatically, whilst drowning out the sounds of destruction coming from the living room! Best of all, callers at the other end can’t hear her either! 👍

1.00pm: Successful day so far! Video meeting with one Client this morning via Google Hangouts (they are a Google house…) including sharing the usual presentation, followed by video calls with senior members of my team – one via our Horizon Collaborate app and the other in Microsoft Teams working on a rather huge shared document! Adding the video element, although still a novelty to lots of people, really makes the difference bridging the gap with actually being there.

1.30pm: Also… the number of people whose reaction is “really?!? I had no idea!” when they twig I am not actually in the office, really proves the point about how seamless these technologies can be (when implemented properly)! 😂

3.30pm: Definitely feeling very involved in office life today despite working from the dining room table! Joined in with our usual Monday management meeting via Collaborate again, even presenting for everyone (nice to be at the head of the table for once…). Then joined in with our staff briefing this afternoon – albeit with my massive face on screen like Holly from ‘Red Dwarf’! 😂

DAY TWO:

8.30am: So last nights new guidance means that we are all now self-isolating for 2 weeks – 2 home workers, 1 rampaging toddler & 1 moody 8 year old! Not your usual WFH challenges! 😂

9.00am: Today’s new “2 weeks working from home” set-up! 😁 iPad Pro with Duet Display app installed – seamless second screen to the work Surface Book – brilliant! 👍 Not the 3 screens I am used to in the office but its portable and gives me 2 touch-screens.

 

1:30pm: It is easy for us to evangelise from within the industry but it does occur to me how fortunate I am that our own set-up allows me to be able to work from home so easily! Files and emails in Office365, Teams and Horizon Collaborate to be able to communicate internally and externally without any difference to being in the office and then good ol’ VPN into those pesky servers that still remain on-premise for reasons. This is like living a ‘hybrid cloud’ textbook! ✌😎✌

5.00pm: Wow! Busy day today. Not wanting to sound like a broken record but video is king when working from home. The added personal touch of being able to see the person you are speaking to is invaluable. So much communication is done non-verbally so video is great when you can’t be there in person… and makes you feel far more connected that just a phone call. A number of calls supporting Clients with their own “what can we do if we need to work from home” type questions… being able to help them with “well, what I am doing right now is…” type answers is very satisfying!

DAY THREE:

10:00am: Day 3 in Isolation: Walls feel closer. Toddler is now completely feral. Wife seems to be evolving into an angry monster. Fashioned spear from garden broom this morning. Dog has started talking to me.

12.30pm: Todays revelation is how easily individual apps have found their purpose. Microsoft Teams is great for collaborating internally on files and documents. When you need to speak to, or work with, people outside of your organisation… or just catch someone on the good ol’ telephone… Horizon Collaborate is a winner! A particular shout-out must also go to Microsoft RDP Server which makes running on-premise apps seamless from any PC without even needing a VPN. Essential for some of our apps that can’t be moved out to the Cloud.

3.00pm: One for the SysAdmin’s out there but; managing a modern cloud phone system is such a relief compared to ‘traditional’ (read ‘old’ or ‘pain-in-the-a**e’) phone systems. As a business we use Horizon Collaborate from Gamma. (Yes, it’s something we sell but we took the decision to implement it across the business for a reason…). We needed to make a few changes this morning to the call routing and it struck home how easy it is. Firstly, I could do it even though I am not as close to the system as my team are nowadays. Secondly, I could do it from my kitchen table (or back garden on a tablet if I was really showing off). Finally, compared to an old system it is all done intuitively in plain English – ‘Forward Call To 123 After 12 Seconds’. Compare this to an old Avaya system where the routing would have to be programmed like Rμν − ½Rgμν = 8πG Tμνc4!

DAY FOUR: 

10am: Day 4 in the Big Brother House: An air of calmness has come over the house. Wife is off work and so able to marshal the kids which helps! OK…. so the air of calmness really only applies to me and the kids. Wife is tearing her hair out! 😁 Dog is no longer talking to me.

3pm: More collaboration goodness today! Very easily becoming normality after just a few days. Today’s geek-fest moment came with an online collaboration on a spreadsheet with a colleague… Video included, then randomly dropping other colleagues in and out of the chat via video as we needed to ask them questions. It was so seamless as to almost be mundane… only after the call does it hit home at just how cool that actually is! 😎

 

DAY FIVE:

10.00am: It’s amazing to see our team pull together in such challenging times! Despite deploying a completely remote workforce within 48 hours, we have managed to answer 96% of all inbound calls within 3 rings proving that with the right systems and technology you can still run a call centre environment from the comfort of your own home (even in isolation!)

5.00pm: Well, what a week it’s been. Posts and blogs about people working from home has become the norm on here and other social media platforms! It has been really positive to see how so many people are dealing with so much change and, in no small part, embracing technology to help them do it. For my part I am proud of my family for handling the weirdness of ‘self-isolation’ (…how quickly the term has become normal…) and I am also incredibly proud of everyone at Vivio for flipping to work from home so impressively.

Need more information on remote working solutions? Contact our team today.

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