Covid 19 and the odyssey of working from home
Many of us always wanted to work from home without having to move around a lot. The truth is that it is overwhelming having to walk from one place to the other, taking public transport, getting in the car and enduring the exhausting city traffic. We always imagined how nice it would be to work in the comfort of our home, with homemade food and hot coffee around the clock.
Well, this dream came true for many, but at what cost? For the last few days, our entire context and lives have changed. We have been sent to isolation and #StayHome is the new hashtag that is exploding social networks.
A virus named Covid-19 sprung worldwide, impacting radically our countries, cities, and neighborhoods, and even more radically, our day-to-day lives. The truth is that even the smallest of organizations are sending their employees to work from home. Mandatory remote work will accompany us at least until the Covid-19 starts to slow down.
Total chaos? Is this really going to drive us crazy? In the face of crisis, human beings are supposed to be adaptive. In fact, we have always lived in a volatile, uncertain, changing and ambiguous world. The numbers of infected people and deaths increase every day and, apparently, many people have not yet understood that the only way to prevent this scaling further to stay at home. Somehow coronavirus is testing our system, as the world has never been prepared for an event of this magnitude.
Preventive and compulsory isolation made us change habits and accelerated the pace at which we incorporate a different working method: “home office”. This practice has been implemented increasingly by large corporations and service companies mainly for two reasons: because new technologies allow this to be possible, and because companies have discovered that it can help them achieve greater productivity.
This pandemic has only strengthened this trend. While in this context it is difficult to talk about productivity, as we are invaded by uncertainty and anguish, both employees and employers are discovering that working from home is possible and beneficial. No good opportunity comes without a cost. Hence, employees must understand that with the flexibility that comes with “home office” there is also an increase in responsibility and trust levels expected from them by their employers. In life, everything we live is a mirror of what we need to learn. Covid-19 and its effects on “home office” dynamics could not be an exception.
In Teracloud we decided to talk about this phenomenon. We have agreed that this too will make us stronger as a team. First, we are taking great care of our teams in the process, constantly checking in to understand their dynamics and how they are coping with all the changes. "It is more productive at times. The good and bad thing, in turn, is that I hang around with something and while I take a bite I keep working; or not having to run to go look for my son at school (as usually happens in the office)”, said Lucas, one of our DevOps.
Second, now there are fortunately a wide variety of tools and services available to help employees effectively carry out their duties from home. One of the crucial components to this is maintaining communication with colleagues. For example, at Teracloud we use Slack. We find it is the best service available to keep in touch with everyone when you work remotely.
In addition, in this context companies must give freedom to employees, in terms of time and access to information for example. This means companies must be able to implement safety measures to cope with this requirement; this becomes a challenge. Most companies will have to update or invest at this point. Luckily, “cloud service providers and undergoing thorough tests. […] the world’s leading cloud providers are testing their infrastructure and activating various resilience testing procedures,” according to Infoworld.
AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure have also taken steps in this regard. First, they have taken steps toward its resilience planning and growing scales of users at a given time as a pandemic response. This allows them to manage spikes in demand, similar to those that occur during Black Friday. AWS has incorporated policies and procedures around disaster recovery planning, and has taken steps to ensure continuity of service and ample capacity for its users.
As the world is fighting a battle to overcome Covid-19, everyone’s emotional balance is challenged too: “On the one hand, home office is good; there is no need to run around for the schedules. It is much more comfortable. But I miss the dynamics, the talks, the shared moments, the silences, the environment (the chair, the extra monitor, my bottle of water). I particularly like working in the office, I feel more comfortable there”, shared Lu, Teracloud´s DevSecOps. Learning from chaos is crucial, and hopefully a healthier balance will come from this odyssey both for employees as for employers.
At this point, the pandemic offers at the very least a powerful case study on different work dynamics, to mention one. At Teracloud we have activated an emergency protocol thanks to Covid-19. We know these are temporary measures, and we try to remain positive in what will come. Yet, our pledge is to continue to be responsible and be there for our team. We understand that coexisting 24/7 with partners, children, family, and friends, can be difficult. Generating common ground-rules, agreeing on schedules, and giving each other love and encouragement to stay calm. It is key to remember we are not locked up; we are merely taking care of ourselves and our loved ones.
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