The COVID 19 situation has been evolving swiftly. Just last week my work went from one extra day of work from home (if eligible) to everyone go home until further notice. This was all in the span of 24 hours and it does leave ones head spinning. In my original post I was all for if the technology exists then let people work from home and I stand by that. What I have learned in the meantime is that our company seriously overestimated their infrastructure.
Where I work we access company files via a VPN; you know to keep files secure and private. That makes good business sense, but the VPN was never designed for the amount of traffic hitting it. This is causing significant delays in just getting common tasks done. It took me literally 5 minutes to send a “quick” skype message to my boss. Yikes that was a time killer.
The second issue we have is the company does not provide any kind of equipment. Each person is stuck with whatever equipment they happen to own. I happen to be a tech junkie and I play online games (shout out to my World of Warcraft buddies). My computer is good and my internet is good so technology is not a problem for me, at least when I am not on the ancient VPN.
However, several of my coworkers have computers that are very old or they have the basic internet that struggles to connect. A few coworkers don’t have computers or internet at home for various reasons. Now obviously these people did not telework before this whole public health issue began. Now they are being told to go home and work….these people rightly ask HOW????
With slow connections and sub standard equipment the people I work with are struggling to get their jobs done. Even though I have what I need in terms of equipment I struggle too. My job relies on a lot of collaboration. At first I thought, I just have to learn this new Teams software and I will be up and going again in a day or two. That is not the case after all since my coworkers are not up and rolling.
I think what we have learned in my work environment is that the company needs to take a serious look at its work from home policy, how it prepares people to work outside the office, and the type of resources they provide. Also, I think we learned that we need to have a better emergency plan. This came on so fast that there was no time to plan, only react. That has not worked well. Here is to hoping it gets better since we were told not to come into the office until further notice. Who knows how long that will be.