Way back in 2007, after 8-9 years of mostly developing a product from home and supervising programmers remotely, I went off to work at a workplace. Frankly I was getting bored with the network layer, working with remote customers and on remote servers. So I took a job working more at the hardware layer.
Looks like Covid-19 has put me back at home for at least the immediate future. This isn’t because I’m self-isolating because I’ve come in contact with a possible infectious source.
It is because the company I’m working for has decided to allow all employees who can work remotely to do so. That is across all of their employees world wide, including the 50 odd staff in NZ and more in Aussie.
It means that the remaining staff with essential on-site skills who are still at the site can be have 10s of metres between their workspaces. There are fewer of them to get possible exposure transiting. Those in countries and cities that have had their kids sent home from school can now have the joy of dealing with bored children.
Even with my previous experience, I’m really surprised about how little difference it makes to the type of work that I do. Way easier than when I was making these things up for the dev team in the late 90s and early 80s.
E-mail, slack (instant messaging), zoom (remote meetings with audio, video, and desktops), calendar, timesheets, expenses, IT requests, and whole host of other applications that I seldom or never use are on the web. All protected and accessible from linux as well as windows.
The code and development notes are accessible via the company windows laptop from my linux workstation – stash (code version control), confluence (programmer notes), and jenkins (the build systems) are all accessible. I’m actually coding on a USB 3.1 Samsung T5 1Tb SSD. Since I’m on linux for most development, so I just use linux tools from my home workstation. I build windows applications, android applications, embedded applications all in linux because it is just way easier.
The biggest hassle is that I had was to cart a chair from work. My old mid-2000s Formway Life office chair is in dire need of some remedial work. The next is that I don’t have space for both the DC regulated power supply and the boards that it meant to be powering… Back to work sometime today to change that over and to pick up some hardware needed for the next task.
Obviously not everyone can do this with their work. But I suspect a lot of the better businesses will be spreading their employees out in a similar fashion.
These are all of the productivity tools that have been steadily going into this company even since I joined them in 2015. They’re designed to increase productivity by making the base systems more coherent over a multi-national corporation. It means that over the last year I have been remotely working as much with teams in Texas, UK, and Singapore almost as much as I work with many of my colleagues at the workplace.
But I have to say that they provide superb tools to make it easier to disperse their staff and keep them from harm.
It’s going to be fascinating looking at what companies in NZ are up to that challenge in the coming months as we wait for covid-19 to drop back from its current pandemic growth curve.