Could you work from home if...

Lämmchen

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If the Coronavirus were to scare your employers enough to force everyone to take a 2 week leave and work from home, is your company set up for that? Does everyone have a laptop? VPN? Any other security issues covered? Could the business successfully complete 2 weeks without the employees being present in an office setting?
 

vince284

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I would guess that half my building could work from home right now. There are about 2200 people working here daily. Another 800 would take too long to set them up, the COVID-19 pandemic would be over. The rest would have to come in... on a shift work as they do now. I would say, when I come into work, there are only 50-60 people in the building. My whole team (6) could work from home, we would just need one person to be here, at a time, for any hands-on stuff.

Interesting, yesterday... we were just told that may happen.
 

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If the Coronavirus were to scare your employers enough to force everyone to take a 2 week leave and work from home, is your company set up for that? Does everyone have a laptop? VPN? Any other security issues covered? Could the business successfully complete 2 weeks without the employees being present in an office setting?
I suspect this issue will demonstrate just how many meetings are totally unnecessary.

My thoughts are that a lot of public-facing work (retail, medical etc) is the kind of work where remote working simply isn't possible. The cashier at Walmart can't check you out from their home and the only way to operate without cashiers is to either close the store completely or expect everybody to use the self-checkout (I can't see that ending well).

Work that is usually done sitting at a computer can be done from anywhere, the main question is whether the company is willing to invest in the security to make it happen and whether management is willing to trust the workers to actually work from home. It seems to me that there is ever-more micromanagement and monitoring of staff in an apparent attempt to squeeze every last drop of productivity out of them, even when that level of squeezing results in a drop in quality of output, that many managers will resist attempts to let people work remotely.

Who knows, maybe this virus will shake out a lot of dated management practices and indicate that most workers can be trusted to get on with their work.
 

vince284

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Interesting, yesterday... we were just told that may happen.
It's started, configuring 35 people to work from home that previously could not. Trying to get them done by Friday evening. I do not want to work the weekend.
 

vince284

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The email just came out, everyone that can work from home will work from home tomorrow. They are going to test the load on the system. This place will be empty!
 

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Funny how unprepared for this my workplace is. Our team was part of a 'Mobile Workplace Task Force' test site a a few weeks ago. We all tested a couple of tablets and a laptop that were fitted with VPN. We used them "in the field" to find out if it was reasonable to do so. And (SURPRISE!!!) of course we could! It seems to me with the size of the business I work for, this should have/could have been done YEARS ago. It's only now that it's being looked at. Sooo, short answer, yes. Skype meetings and different "meeting" sites make it possible, and with an app installed on my phone (by the tech guys a couple weeks ago) I can securely access my work desktop from ANY computer as long as I have an internet connection. So much of it is a "trust" factor, knowing where employees are and what they're doing. But it's amazing what a virus can do to micro-managers. They loosen the reins a bit.
 

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With my previous employer I could work from home. A new company took over the contract that I was on and now I can't. Same job, nothing changed but the employer. My wife started to work from home 8 years ago, she hasn't been to her office since. Last year her employer did away with the physical office space and now everyone works from home. She has a hard VPN, so her phone, printer and pc are always connect to their virtual office.
 

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Years ago I worked for a guy who simply refused to trust people. When there were transport issues that meant my journey to work would take 3 hours instead of 1 I suggested I work from home for a couple of days. The work I was doing at the time was writing documentation, which could be done anywhere and on any computer.

He decided it was more important that I was at the office. So I showed up two hours late and left two hours early so I could get home. The stupid thing is if he could just have trusted me he'd have got those four hours of extra work, plus extra because my commute would have been reduced to zero those days. That's the downside of micromanaging.
 

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My husband is IT and is considered CORE and even though he can do most of his work from home there are components to his job that needs to be done hands on so he will have to go into work for the business to keep going. He works for a global company and his particular office is not completely prepared for this (not his fault) and the manager's are scrambling to get laptops for all...but that's not easily done when you have 200 people who only have desktops and new laptops need to be ordered and imaged then all their software installed. Shocker that it can't be done in 24 hours to suit their needs ;)
 

tango

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One thing I really hope companies learn from this whole thing is that the theoretically perfectly optimised process might be the perfect setup when everything is going well but is hugely vulnerable to even small external shocks. When everything is pared to the bone and there is no redundancy at all it means you have absolutely no slack if you do need something unexpected.

It's the same from companies "streamlining" the workforce to the relentless obsession with "just-in-time" deliveries. A little slack might cost more in the here and now but provides a whole lot more resilience later.
 

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Our company is not allowing us to do any face to face visits for the next two weeks at least. I don't know how this is going to work since I deal with kids who are very resistant to therapy to begin with. Though I am taking next week off anyway. I had that planned for a month now because I wanted to take a break
 

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If the Coronavirus were to scare your employers enough to force everyone to take a 2 week leave and work from home, is your company set up for that? Does everyone have a laptop? VPN? Any other security issues covered? Could the business successfully complete 2 weeks without the employees being present in an office setting?
Absolutely not! I have a job where I work with the public. There is no way I can do my job without being face to face with people.

My hubby doesn't work with people like I do but they are still trying to avoid shutting down at all cost. At first, they separated all the tables in the lunch room so only a couple of people could sit at each table (originally they were all lined up in rows where a bunch of people could sit together). As of yesterday, they had taken all the tables out of the lunch room so you can't sit down in the lunch room to eat your lunch. Plus, he has to remain in his dept. during work and if he goes to the bathroom then he can only use a certain bathroom. If rules are not followed, then that person gets written up. He thinks they are trying to do everything they can from shutting the place down.
 

tango

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My husband is IT and is considered CORE and even though he can do most of his work from home there are components to his job that needs to be done hands on so he will have to go into work for the business to keep going. He works for a global company and his particular office is not completely prepared for this (not his fault) and the manager's are scrambling to get laptops for all...but that's not easily done when you have 200 people who only have desktops and new laptops need to be ordered and imaged then all their software installed. Shocker that it can't be done in 24 hours to suit their needs ;)
This is where a little notice of pending forced shutdowns would at least give people a fair chance to get things in order. When an order is given with a matter of a few hours notice it's impossible to prepare for the consequences, leaving businesses and workers in an impossible situation.

If it's known that staged shutdowns are coming over several days at least people have a fair chance to get what they need in place. Otherwise, as you say, even things that could theoretically be done remotely can't actually be done remotely because nobody had chance to set up the infrastructure.
 

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I would guess that half my building could work from home right now. There are about 2200 people working here daily. Another 800 would take too long to set them up, the COVID-19 pandemic would be over. The rest would have to come in... on a shift work as they do now. I would say, when I come into work, there are only 50-60 people in the building. My whole team (6) could work from home, we would just need one person to be here, at a time, for any hands-on stuff.

Interesting, yesterday... we were just told that may happen.
What are you using, here is some that one of my fellow moderators came up with..
For group gatherings in a video conference setting, the following softwares are presently available.

1. Zoom / https://zoom.us
Zoom presently is available for free for up to a 40-minute limit for groups of up to 100 people. For one-on-one meetings, it's free for an unlimited time. But the expense is not high for a monthly subscription. Check it out. It allows screen sharing, audio and video for each participant on an elective basis (can be muted or turned off, as desired), and it can record the meeting. Zoom seems to be widely compatible with Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices, even those running somewhat older OSes.

2. Webex / https://www.webex.com
Webex is a favorite among some corporate users and online education providers. It offers nearly the same features as Zoom, but seems to require a lesser internet bandwidth to do so. It is similarly available at present, during the COVID-19 crisis, for free for limited use. It seem less device-compatible, requiring newer installations of an OS. It does, of course, offer compatibility with most modern devices.

3. Open Meetings / https://openmeetings.apache.org/index.html
Apache's Open Meetings is entirely free, but being an open-source software with volunteer developers, it is not entirely bug-free. It does have a fairly rich feature set, despite this, which requires Java to run. It offers various combinations of audio/video as well as whiteboard, etc. and the moderator can can control these individually for each participant. For those on super-low budgets, it's worth a try.

4. EZ Talks / https://www.eztalks.com/pricing#meetings
EZ Talks has a similar deal to the first two right now, offering up to 40 minutes of meeting time for free. After that, it is a nominal fee for monthly subscription that allows unlimited time, albeit with some limitations on traffic and server storage space, presumably for recorded sessions.
 

vince284

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What are you using, here is some that one of my fellow moderators came up with..
For group gatherings in a video conference setting, the following softwares are presently available.

2. Webex / https://www.webex.com
Webex is a favorite among some corporate users and online education providers. It offers nearly the same features as Zoom, but seems to require a lesser internet bandwidth to do so. It is similarly available at present, during the COVID-19 crisis, for free for limited use. It seem less device-compatible, requiring newer installations of an OS. It does, of course, offer compatibility with most modern devices.
We use WebEx, but it's totally paid for by corporate. So we have unlimited access and features. It actually works better than I imagined.
 
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