In the weeks leading up to our workforce moving out of the office, the IT team were scurrying about, ensuring every staff member had the hardware they needed and access to all of the systems they require. As they did this, the staff were instructed to spend a day working from home before it was necessary. That meant we were able to test everything worked and we weren’t missing anything we needed.
Personally, I found out the hard way that it’s not easy to connect a Bluetooth mouse to a computer when you’re completely locked out and you don’t have another mouse to ease the process. However, with a lot of time spent clicking ‘tab’, I eventually got there and was fully prepared when it was time to start full-time remote working.
Today I caught up with Shane, IT Operations Manager (UK&IE), to see what it was like for him and his team.
You were certainly a busy bee leading up to this week. What would you say has been the biggest challenge for the IT team as staff started working from home?
The biggest challenge was to ensure that we had the right capacity, and to ensure all staff were able to work - thankfully we had a plan in place that allowed us to prioritise accordingly so although the team were under pressure, we all knew our roles. If we didn’t have a plan and direction, we would have been inundated.
As a business, we’re already using Teams for instant messaging and video conferencing, but do you have some quick tips on how to get the most out of the software?
I do indeed - firstly, etiquette is important - talk to people as if you were talking face to face. It's very easy to come across differently via written word. Emoticons and gifs can certainly help convey your feeling and also add some banter too. Second tip, if you're calling someone, video call where you can; this makes communication much more personable and can help you feel a bit less isolated to see a friendly face of your colleague.
Great tips, thank you. What would you say has been the biggest challenge for you and your team now that you’re all working remotely?
Having the majority of colleagues connected to our servers via VPN is a something that we’re vigilantly monitoring, along with phone call quality. Due to how our old phone systems are configured, we've rolled out the 8x8 cloud-based phone system to a few members of staff to overcome some of the challenges we've encountered with phone diverts. So far so good on this! However, other than that, we seem to be doing pretty well. The team are keeping a good routine, making sure they get enough exercise/breaks and we're constantly in touch via Teams. One of the guys is struggling with his family pulling faces while he’s on the phone but no one else seems to mind, helps the day go fast!
What would be your top 3 tips for people working from home?
My home working tips are:
Yeah, and all equally as important!
Planning and proper implementation certainly made a huge difference for us, as has the ongoing support from the IT team. However, what amazes me most, is that even while Shane has been extremely busy, he always makes time to have a laugh.