Update 23rd March 2020 @ 6:15am
The Prime Minister’s speech last night and the advice contained within the supporting Cabinet Office guidance does not radically change the EasylifeIT™ stance I have already set out in previous updates. Our office has been closed for a week now, and non-urgent site visits have been cancelled since Monday 15th March.
The only change comes in our response to critical incidents and attendance to site in that context. Previously I had stated “Urgent on-site visits will be evaluated before anyone attends to site. A risk assessment approach will be taken. While this may introduce a delay, I will ensure each decision is a “common sense” approach rather than an extended bureaucratic one.”
As relates to urgent on-site visits our stance will now change with immediate effect.
- Urgent on-site visits will continue to be evaluated on a risk assessment basis
- A tangible business need (in current circumstances) for the failed equipment must be demonstrated
- All possible remote options must be absolutely exhausted before an onsite visit is considered or discussed
- All possible work-arounds and contingency measures must be absolutely exhausted before an onsite visit is considered or discussed
- No engineer under any circumstance will attend an incident where they meet more than one person.
- No engineer under any circumstance will attend an incident where a member of staff based at the site has either been diagnosed with or suspected to have contracted COVID19 within the past 14 days
- The engineer must be left to work in an isolated area on their own as much as possible.
- The ultimate arbiter on whether to send an engineer to site will be myself, and my guiding principle will be the health and welfare of my staff.
In these extraordinarily times, I wish you all good health and good luck.
Update 17th March 2020 @ 7:45am
We all wake this morning to a strange world. The moment for many has come to hunker down at home and for many this will mean remote working. Yesterday I made the decision to close our office and ask my team to work from home. All at present remain well and I hope the same for you.
Today is likely to be an interesting day for us as not only are we adjusting to a new reality, but it is likely that many today in our customer base will respond likewise. Some are more prepared than others and some have done no preparation at all. I therefore ask you to be patient with us and accept that this is not “business at usual” for any of us.
I have been posting to this website updates and our continuity plan for some days now. I will not fill your Inboxes with emails but will continue to update this page. For the interested I would invite you to follow this page.
Update 16th March 2020 @ 19:05
The guidance I had expected last Thursday has arrived. Although not compulsory at this stage, the advice to avoid the office is clear and unambiguous. I have therefore decided that the office will be closed with immediate effect and we shall all be working from our homes as of tomorrow.
Update 15th March 2020 @ 20:15
I have decided on the following measures to reduce my team’s exposure to potential risk and protect their health and wellbeing. These measures will remain in force until further notice.
- Non urgent on-site visits will not be arranged and existing will be cancelled.
- Urgent on-site visits will be evaluated before anyone attends to site. A risk assessment approach will be taken. While this may introduce a delay, I will ensure each decision is a “common sense” approach rather than an extended bureaucratic one.
- Staff will not attend customer meetings in person. Wherever practical we will attempt to arrange conference or video calls instead
- For as long as our office remains open, visitors will be discouraged and meetings at our office will be cancelled. Again, wherever practical we will attempt to arrange conference or video calls instead
- Staff on Monday 16th March 2019 will be given the option to work from home should they feel more comfortable with that option. Compulsion at this time in not considered appropriate.
Update: 13th March 2020 @ 11:37
It would appear that everyone in our customer base are today asking about and for remote access to their systems from home. Alongside our pre-planned work we are also experiencing very high demand at the moment. Please be patient with us!
Update: 12th March 2020 @ 17:44
Although the Government stance has changed from “Contain” to “Delay”, the advice given appears to be weaker than was expected or practiced by our neighbour Ireland. I have not at this time decided to ask staff to work from home or cancel non urgent on-site visits, but will continue to monitor official advice and the situation in the localities in which we operate.
11th March 2020 @ 16:30
We know your business depends on our ability to keep your IT running and provide an uninterrupted service should you have an issue. Considering recent development around the Coronavirus (COVID-19), I would like to share with you the measures we are taking and have in place.
We have long had the capability to work remotely and utilise all our systems while on call at weekends and evenings. All our systems on which we rely are available via the Microsoft Office 365 cloud platform and other cloud services.
To enhance this capability for what may be an extended period away from the office, we have taken the following steps
- Ensured we have access to the phone system remotely and in a robust and reliable way. Issuing of headsets for the same.
- Enhanced remote working equipment. For example .. ensuring staff have 2 screens at home as working on a small laptop screen reduces efficiency quite quickly.
- Enabling access to quoting tools via remote access.
- Microsoft Teams will be used more extensively to communicate with our colleagues and customers.
- Remote access to account and payment systems.
When will we move to remote working?
I had honestly expected the government advice to change from “Contain” to “Delay” on Monday 9th March 2020. The delay phase would recommend working from home wherever possible alongside other measures. I believe this advice will come and come soon and depending on events in our locality or within our team I may well pre-empt this advice. While remote working is undoubtedly effective, it is never optimal, so it isn’t an obvious call to make. I will not however jeopardise the health of my team by delaying for that reason alone.
Will we attend to onsite issues if government advice changes to “Delay”?
It depends. One of the key aspects of the Delay phase is “social distancing” and so is incompatible with onsite visits. Therefore, for non-critical work the answer would likely be no.
Critical incidents would be treated on a case by case basis and would depend on circumstances and the environment into which the engineer would be going. I would like to reassure you though that it is not my intent to allow any critical incident to go unanswered or unresolved.
Of course, we all hope that none of this is necessary but will of course keep you updated as and when the situation develops
Lindsey Hall – Managing Director of EasylifeIT™