Working at work

From: william (WILLIAMA)28 Mar 11:12
To: ALL1 of 32
Are many of teh folks here still working at a workplace other than their home?

My wife has to start back on Tuesday in an NHS facility having just had 10 days off with a chest infection. I must admit I'm worried as she's still breathless and is on a course of steroids which will reduce her immunity to other infections - such as the one that happens to be going around at the moment. 111 told her what she has at present "probably" isn't corona virus but obviously, as she isn't a member of royalty or the tory party, no test for her.

My son is still going to work at his insurance company, which involves a busy train journey. His office was also packed and only permitted any sort of distancing in the last few days*. It would be easy for the company to let him work from home. All of his work, which is casework, is done on one PC, which is a laptop in a docking station. They have homeworking VPNs in place which can access the exact same systems that he works on. He has a steady caseload, so it's not as though he's going to loaf around all day - he couldn't get away with it. I suspect that it's a combination of terror amongst some managers that they'll actually have to do some organising and sheer bloody-mindedness (this is how we do things).

My daughter, on the other hand, who works for the civil service, was sent home clutching a laptop even before the advice came out.

*it still barely meets H&S spec for individual space let alone distancing.
EDITED: 28 Mar 13:01 by WILLIAMA
From: Dave!!28 Mar 13:05
To: william (WILLIAMA) 2 of 32
Both my wife and I are working from home. I've actually been WFH for around 3 years now, so already have a nice setup in my man-cave with a proper desk, 3 screens, dock for my work laptop etc. My wife meanwhile has her own office upstairs (being a university lecturer, she has worked odd days from home in the past). Hence from our point of view, we're both very lucky really.
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX)28 Mar 13:06
To: ALL3 of 32
My last day in the office was Monday. I spent most of the rest of the week getting my home software infrastructure up to scratch. Yesterday I did some actual work, and it went pretty smoothly.
From: Matt28 Mar 21:52
To: william (WILLIAMA) 4 of 32
Been working from home for over 2 weeks now.

I had already been WFH at least 1 day a week for the past year, but Pennsylvania's Governor closed all non-essential business in my county so my employer was forced to close the office temporarily.

The first week Schools here were on Spring Break but they've now also closed too, so Rebecca has joined me in WFH. She however has a much more difficult time as she is a Elementary School Teacher who is now spending most of her day trying to keep 7-8 years old focused via Zoom, while answering emails and supporting her colleagues as they try to work out how to use online teaching resources.
From: william (WILLIAMA)29 Mar 11:47
To: ALL5 of 32
TBH it's not such a big deal for me either. Heading towards my 4th year of retirement and on a daily basis, my trips into the outside world have largely been 1) walking around the area 2) shopping. Although both of these are curtailed by the emergency powers, and the fact that there's no point in going to the local shops and queuing for eggs that they haven't got, that remains the same. I can still do both of these, although I have no wish to be attacked by a drone or the local plod, so I tend to restrict my walking to one outing a day and a bit less than I used to. 

Spend a lot of time online and watch less and less TV, except in the evenings when we binge on box sets. Currently just about to finish Lost again. Doing odd things around the house, but then I was doing that anyway. Yesterday bleached the ceilings in the bathroom and the little en-suite shower room where some mould was beginning to appear (that was a treat!), and the day before I gave the garden gate its 6-monthly refresh of stain and preservative (I know how to live). Today I will probably investigate searching and finding files on usenet.  

I have observed some of our neighbours who are under the impression that the back garden is a safe zone where no viruses may spread. This would explain how they can congregate for drinks and a natter on a Saturday afternoon as though all's well with the world. I could be generous and assume that they were all actually self-isolating households and hence safe to meet up. But I suspect that they are the people who bought all the bog roll and are now panicking over where to store the 17 tins of Borlotti beans they don't know what to do with.
From: Manthorp29 Mar 13:39
To: william (WILLIAMA) 6 of 32
God, that's dreadful. Love to you both.

I sent myself packing a week before the Uni did, and took a week's holiday last week anyway.
From: william (WILLIAMA)29 Mar 15:41
To: Manthorp 7 of 32
Some responses from employers has been as dreadful as you might imagine. The usual suspects such as Tim Martin and Mike Ashley have been beaten into behaving properly, or at least better, but probably don't really understand why they're being criticised. There are others, such as Hastings Direct, where my son works, who are keeping quiet and flying under the radar because they can get away with it. Plenty of other businesses are doing the same. Business as usual but a handful of sympathetic sounding emails with platitudes about 'this difficult time' etc. 

My wife is in a difficult position. She had/has a bad chest infection, but she works in a psychiatric unit and simply can't take endless time off, because it's a mixed unit which can't close. If she takes time off the pressure on other staff rises. She tells me that she intends to spend as much time as possible tucked out of sight in an office.

But it's not all gloom and disaster. My daughter works for the excitingly named Dept for business energy & industrial strategy. When the first hints of the virus were around, their boss was telling them to prepare for home working and they were out of the office, lickety spit, way ahead of the lockdown. 
EDITED: 29 Mar 15:41 by WILLIAMA
From: milko29 Mar 22:31
To: ALL8 of 32
We were out of the office about a week or so ahead of the official word, so that was nice. I had approx two thirds of a day working with the house to myself, blissful concentration at the desk I recently built, it was lovely. Then the school sent my boy home with a fever, which we suffered for a few days before the doc diagnosed an ear infection by phone and prescribed antibiotics, that took about a day or so to see it off. So yeah, a week ahead of the school lockdown I was already doing the childcare plus work thing, fun times. Then they shut the school and at least Tina also got sent home so we can do split shifts. And now I reckon I’m on approx day 5 of having COVID-19, although I can’t really fathom how, maybe I incubated for a full 2 weeks? I’ve barely left the house or anything otherwise. Bah. 
From: milko29 Mar 22:33
To: milko 9 of 32
Oh yeah I probably will be furloughed this coming week too. Just hoping the business survives really, we rely on professional sport and things like flagship retail stores that are very much not key infrastructure so it kinda sucks for us right now. Not the most important thing by a million miles, but still a thing. 
From: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ)30 Mar 09:25
To: milko 10 of 32
Sorry to hear of your woes Milko. Hope your symptoms clear up soon. As far as your work goes, any luck in getting your animated boards mounted on large autonomous airships which broadcast slogans like "STAY THE FUCK HOME", "REALLY STAY THE FUCK HOME" and "A NEW LIFE AWAITS YOU IN THE OFF-WORLD COLONIES"?
From: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ)30 Mar 09:50
To: william (WILLIAMA) 11 of 32
I've been working from home for two weeks now. Should have been on holiday, but it was cancelled just in time to prevent me going to a locked-down resort, and I got my money back, so can't complain too much.

My company has been reasonably ahead of the game -the plan had been to split into two broadly similar teams and alternate working from home with working from the office. That all changed, and we're now all working from home, with the offices all closed. It's not too much of a hassle - we're pretty much all capable of working remotely. The marketing and sales teams have had their activities curtailed somewhat, however. We've been doing weekly Zoom-based social activities on a Friday afternoon, and the boss has let us claim for beers and takeaway, which is nice of him.
From: ANT_THOMAS31 Mar 09:25
To: william (WILLIAMA) 12 of 32
Been WFH for 2 weeks as of today.
I bailed before our work was allowing it. I've got a blood condition that means I'm higher risk. I was on holiday for a week then got back two weeks yesterday, went in on the Monday and thought "fuck this, I need to WFH". Rang my doctor for a bit of advice, he said if I could WFH I should.

We have a lot of people at head office who often WFH so there's infrastructure and systems in place, but it would be fair to say they're not 100%. Best option IMHO would be work computers (or laptops) at home then connect over a VPN.

Instead we have a virtual remote desktop which just isn't the same and resources are limited - open a hefty spreadsheet and it grinds my session to a halt. It also has limited licences it seems considering the recent All Staff emails asking people to logout. I've been nagging the IT Manager a bit too much, but he has setup an RDP connection to my work desktop PC. This is definitely better, but because I think it is going 
My Site --- Head Office (or other data center) --- Home
there's laggggggg.
And because it's being presented over VMWare Horizon rather than a direct RDP there's some keyboard issues.

There's definitely been resistance to people WFH from the senior management (who are all at home). We're a food manufacturer and it is pretty much business as usual. This means we're entering one of our busiest new launch periods and nothing has changed, very little delayed or put on hold. It feels a bit ridiculous and I'm definitely struggling a bit when the work feels somewhat futile.
From: william (WILLIAMA)31 Mar 10:22
To: ANT_THOMAS 13 of 32
A virtual remote desktop is what I said goodbye to when I retired. As a DBA team we also had actual terminal access to our mainframe and SSH, remote desktop etc. to live servers, but most of the developers and testers had to make do with a virtual remote desktop. On the other hand, all our admin systems were accessible through VPNs. The other issue was that our client was HMRC and the live systems were all air-gapped so no homeworking on them. 
From: william (WILLIAMA)31 Mar 10:32
To: william (WILLIAMA) 14 of 32
There's definitely been resistance to people WFH from the senior management.
 That was always the way. There are classes of manager who strongly believe that they should have you where they want you to be, quite literally, because somehow that's how they get their money's worth. There are cost etc. arguments but the driving force is bums-on-seats. 
From: ANT_THOMAS31 Mar 10:55
To: william (WILLIAMA) 15 of 32
I'd cope with the virtual remote desktop if the server had the resources to do the job. Not perfect, but "good enough" if it did. Sitting watching Excel calculate and eventually crash isn't productive.

And yeah, I think they struggle with the idea of people managing themselves. My manager is great though, he's encouraged it but those above him struggled with one making the comment along the lines of "they won't be working 100% at home". We've had team Facetime calls daily which has helped keep morale up. The business as a whole has been using Zoom quite a bit.

It has though made me realise more than ever that I rely on human interaction to enjoy my job.
From: william (WILLIAMA)31 Mar 13:01
To: milko 16 of 32
How are you doing today?
From: milko 1 Apr 09:54
To: william (WILLIAMA) 17 of 32
Thanks for asking. Day 8 by my estimation. 
this morning my chest finally feels a bit better, the tightness/heaviness is almost gone. I’ve got a return of the headache though. I’m starting to get aches that I know are just from being stuck in bed so long, so I’m going to try and move about some more today, see how that goes. The worry with that is if I’m still emitting a viral load or whatever they call it, I don’t want to increase the chances of the household getting it. 

I’ve been thinking back to possible ways I caught this (boredom) and I remembered my son having that ear infection a couple of weeks ago. Is it possible I caught whatever gave him that and it manifested in me with these Covid-like symptoms? It’s so frustrating that I can’t find out what I’ve got for sure. 
From: william (WILLIAMA) 1 Apr 10:34
To: milko 18 of 32
It is frustrating. I know plenty of people who are wondering whether that odd illness they had sometime in the last couple of months may have been Covid-19. Maybe there'll be an antibody test available eventually. I had an attack of something I assumed was norovirus back at the end of December (largely because the in-laws had it too) but it was immediately followed by flu symptoms, conjunctivitis and a hacking painful cough. The cough was so bad I couldn't lie down and for a few nights I had to try and sleep propped up on the settee. I now read that in China, about a third of confirmed cases began with D&V rather than the classic fever/aches and pains. My brother in law had it too and he was with all of us around the same time. The thing is, we all naturally self-isolated - not because that was a thing, but because we all felt too ill to go out.

Anyway, this is the kind of talk that feeds the pointlessly optimistic narratives of the libertarian right that it isn't so bad and we've probably all had it anyway. Hardly unusual to be ill in winter.

Stay warm and take paracetamol for the headache. Over here the idea that ibuprofen may be dangerous to Covid-19 patients is sniffed at a bit. My rellies in France tell me that it's pretty standard wisdom over there, with strong advice to avoid it. And stop shedding your load all over the place. We all know you're bored. 
From: milko 1 Apr 11:31
To: william (WILLIAMA) 19 of 32
Tina reminded me of the day (approx day 2 for me) where she had an allergic reaction to something that meant she was lying next to me in bed gasping for air and coughing continuously and I was barely aware of it at all, so I think I may have been mentally downplaying my early fever symptoms. 

It's going to be so surreal if this thing sticks around for the year in waves. And possibly even more so if/when we step out of the other side into whatever normality will be then. I see the early moves in the "we should implement societal change from this" vs "we should aggressively return to the previous ways" are happening already.
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX) 1 Apr 11:44
To: william (WILLIAMA) 20 of 32
it isn't so bad and we've probably all had it anyway.

I'm sure many more have/had it than have been tested positive, either for lack of testing or testing only indicates active infections. The sheer number of deaths attributed to it so far (again probably some fraction of the actual total) indicates it is so bad. Latest theory is asymptomatic infecteds (to borrow a term from Dead Island) probably spread it the most, since they haven't been self-isolating.

EDITED: 1 Apr 11:45 by DSMITHHFX