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Doing My Part; Helping Our Clients Work From Home

This month at Ashton, we’ve been working to keep America working. In order to do that, we had to keep ourselves working. In the midst of global pandemic, the engineers of Ashton retreated to their homes to practice social distancing and do their part to subdue the spreading virus. For many businesses and industries, these drastic measures can be devastating if a team cannot work together or at the very least cannot work alone. I want to tell you how the Ashton team barely skipped a beat in the wake of this situation, and how we helped our clients do the same.

Who Else Has a Love/Hate With Technology?

Ah, modern technology. Some say it has the same potential to make our lives harder as it does easier. In certain moments I may agree, and I know for sure that our sales and marketing manager would. You should see him try to print something (he edits and posts all of our blogs, too… let’s see if he deletes my crack about him). Anyway, when it comes to remote work, you really have to respect what we are able to achieve. Through various connection methods, I can give you full access to a computer that you primarily use at your office or place of work, and all I need you to have access to is a computer and an internet connection. Not only can I do this for you, I can also do this for you while I’m connected to my own workstation from the comfort of my home. This was necessary because it was decided that beginning on the 16th of March, Ashton engineers would be working from home for the foreseeable future.

I Could Get Used to This

I used to hate working from home. My workspace is great, don’t get me wrong, but I never felt as productive sitting in my home office compared to at Ashton. I dreaded the coming weeks, or however long it will be. I started making changes to my workflow and due to the magic of remote access I have pretty much recreated my office space and achieved the same level of productivity. This was critical, because during the week of the 16th we were bombarded by remote access requests. Clients who had the capability for remote access needed users set up, and clients without the capability for remote access wanted the capability. Our usual projects and service tickets took a back seat to setting users up with VPNs and remote access shortcuts on their home computers. Many users don’t know what to expect when they are told they are going to be given remote access. They may think they can access some files that they need, or a program they work in. Based on their reaction, it is clear to me that many of them don’t realize that we can set things up so it looks like they just sat down at their desk at work. It’s nice to watch them click around to test, and breath a sigh of relief when they realize they have access to everything they need and that maybe things don’t have to grind to a halt after all.

Business Continuity Plans Are Key

If you don’t have a business continuity plan, make one. A common theme that was expressed by clients after things died down in the second week is “I can’t believe we had to utilize the continuity plan” and “I can’t believe how smoothly that went”. Things need to go smooth when users are out of their element, and our team goes above and beyond to make things go smooth for each and every user.

Maybe I Don’t Want to Go Back to The Office…

I’ve found that I’m a natural at this social distancing thing. Like I’ve had years of practice or something…  I also don’t yet feel like I have cabin fever. Probably has something to do with putting time into hobbies I’ve fallen out with or completing home improvement tasks I’ve been putting off. In a sense, we’ve all been given a jail sentence, and when given a jail sentence you can choose to stew in despair or make the most of your time. Let me hit you with some bright sides; Pollution is down, people haven’t been this cheerful to each other since after September 11th, 2001, and I get to work in my pajamas. Ok that last one was for me.

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