Is this the preamble to some very dark days? The news is somewhat muted in their coverage of the Novel Corona-virus (2019-nCoV). Some videos on Twitter and Reddit are disturbing, yet seem almost unreal. It’s almost as if the mainstream media in the US and Canada are taking the whole “Pandemic” reports in stride and low key. Even the official updates sound like fodder for a bad B horror movie where initial reports play in the background as chaos slowly erupts.
Thank goodness we have Microsoft Teams, Team Viewer, Google G Suite, Office 365 and VPNs to work remotely should schools close and public gatherings become precarious endeavors. Of course, that’s hopefully a ways off at this point, but it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to have everything you need to work from home should the need arise. Even common events like snow or ice storms, such as we have experienced recently, can interrupt your daily commute to an office or job site. A pandemic may seem far fetched, but weather-related troubles are closer to home for many who have experienced such troubles.
If working from home is a possibility for you, make sure you have a working solution. You may need a VPN application installed on your laptop, and possibly added security authentication processes such as RSA tokens or iPhone apps. Make sure they work, and you know how to login to actually be productive. E-mail, Secure browsers, some basic social media experience, and a working smartphone could be your foundation for a mobile office solution, but if you don’t know how to use these tools effectively you could be out of the loop for anything happening while you’re out of the office.
Your cell phone could be a second Internet option – a hot spot for an alternative to a primary Internet connection. “Practice makes perfect” they used to say, but testing your solution for working away from your regular report site could point out some weak points in your emergency work support solution. Regular road warriors should check over their setup too. Things can change quickly on bad days, and flexibility is often an asset when they do.
As a side note, I find Google Apps extremely useful. Gmail, Google News, YouTube and Calendar are very useful and available via the Chrome Browser. This allows them to work very nicely with Windows, Linux, and Chromebook. They are available to almost anyone with a laptop, smartphone, or tablet.
Working from home doesn’t have to be over complicated. If you have a simple solution, take it for a test drive and make sure everything works the way you expect it to. Make sure you have proper permissions to work remotely if it’s not part of your normal function or duties.