2020 was an unusual year to say the least. One which none of us could have predicted to the extent that we experienced. However, it did happen, and as I write this, the effects of COVID-19 mean we continue to adapt.
Our sofas, kitchens and dining room tables became our new office space. That line between work and home became a little blurred as everyone strived to ensure we could continue to be as productive as we are when in the office. We picked up a laptop, found a spot at home and switched on. For a lot of people, missing out on the nice big work display, and making do with a much smaller laptop screen took a bit of getting used to.
With the demands for working at home coming rather suddenly, the need to revisit our remote working solutions was paramount. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) were setup, Remote Desktop Servers were implemented. The Internet probably had a number of sleepless nights over the amount of extra work it had to unexpectedly cope with. Odd issues coming off the back of working remotely came to the fore and people found themselves needing to learn a bit more about how their home network works and often we found ourselves roaming the house to find the best WiFi spot.
Once connected, we found productivity was often higher and the teams engagement with one another improved. Next was how to communicate effectively. We now all open up our Teams chat and spend far too long finding funny images and GIFs to send to each other as reactions to comments. It brings a little fun to the day where the regular office banter can no longer take place. The normal chit-chat and ad hoc conversations we used to have whilst making the tea round have, for now, been lost to a time before lockdowns.
Next on the list was how to conduct meetings whilst everyone was out of the office. We all know that phone calls alone just aren’t the same. We all needed something more. And so, the video call became the new normal. Even after almost a year of using this technology, most conference calls include a muted speaker “Mike you’re on mute again…” presenters asking everyone “can you see my screen?” and people abruptly vanishing from the discussion only to return 3 minutes later due to an internet, machine, camera issue or “sorry I have to get the door”.
So it’s strange to think, that although for the most part, we now sit at home and work away from our colleagues, the technologies we use daily have managed to bring us back together – to support each other not only as work colleagues, but often as people and as friends. Of course, it’s not the same as a hug or high-five, but the chat programmes and video calls which let us see and hear each other, the VPN connections to allow collaboration on documentation, the Remote Desktop connections that give us back a form of familiarity in a topsy-turvy time, have all allowed us to support each other in ways we didn’t think possible before COVID-19. They have allowed us to reassess the endless possibilities in the way we work. To find new and creative ways to get the job done and make sure that the services provided to our clients, no matter what sector we work in, is as good or better, than it ever has been, unbreakable bonds have been formed and not a day goes by without a belly laugh.
For Complete I.T., it has been a time of learning, of growing in experience and knowledge, of becoming more in order to provide more. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been extremely valuable. We have changed some of the ways we do things to make sure we remain in line with new technology needs and requirements, not only of our teams, but of our clients. We come out the other side of 2020 with a much better understanding of ourselves and of how we can support others.
I hope 2021 will provide us all the opportunity to continue providing that support to everyone around us beyond the boundaries of IT, because if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s clear that the people around us care more than we ever realised before! Let’s learn from 2020 and remain hopeful that 2021 will see us return to some sort of normality. Happy new year!