Coronavirus Diary: 16th March 2020

I thought I would document our experience of working remotely during the Coronavirus pandemic, as it seems a fairly honest way of advising you as a potential buyer why it might or might not work for you in the short and long term.

I have not thought this out as an exercise, so there is nothing that is pre-conceived, and I hope it will be a fairly honest assessment of the escalating pressure on us as a business and our ability to cope or otherwise by working remotely.

To let you know what platforms we use as a business:

  • 8×8 Virtual Office for our communications.
  • Microsoft Outlook for our emails.
  • We have different programmes for marketing, and we access a number of network portals to manage our customers services for them.
  • We also have a cloud-based billing system, which I have never used so don’t know the name of and an online direct debit system too.

Last week a relative of one of our employees reported flu-like symptoms and in response we had our first self-isolating member of staff. Today, a second member of staff began to work from home. I’m not sure whether they believe that what they have is the virus, but Government advice has been pretty vague and all-encompassing about what this looks like in the early stages, and I think everyone is hyper aware of any symptoms that might even suggestively present as a cold. In other news, my hands have never been cleaner!

We have been aware that decisions might begin to be taken about this, but like most businesses, we were unable to predict the speed with which this crisis might enforce changes. This morning a personal call from our Managing Director to the team made it feel like those choices would be implemented sooner rather than later. But like everyone, I think we are waiting for the ‘event’ or the advice to trigger the response.

But, we have used the last week to be somewhat prepared. We have now tested our ability to work from home by using personal or business equipment to login and should the occasion arise, I think in terms of just day to day functionality, we should be set to continue as usual.

We have noticed some decrease in expected communication with our customers. It’s not been a sharp drop off, but there has certainly been a decrease in phone traffic, though our email folder would perhaps suggest that people are instead choosing to get in touch digitally rather than over the phone.

It’s about ten to five and we just heard Boris Johnson advise that non-essential travel is now limited, and that people should start working from home wherever possible. Here we go…

Kieran Knowles
NSL Telecoms