On the second week of our holiday Down Under visiting family in Australia, it became apparent that getting home was going to be a problem! No matter how long we stayed on the phone or how many people we contacted online, the reality of getting back to the UK, to be back for work for Monday 30th March, was getting further and further away – what was I going to do?
Having worked from home in the past, I knew what I was going to need a laptop and wifi – easier said than done from Australia! By then the country had started to lock down, shops were shutting, those people that could were asked to work from home and social distance was the name of the game. The news reports on the TV were saying prices of laptops were increasing, and a shortage may occur whilst shops restock. Two shops later we found a laptop in our price bracket, then the hunt for a dongle or wifi, one way or another, commenced. Five shops later with a dongle securely in our pockets we went ‘home’ to see if I could access all the relevant areas I needed to be able to start work on the Monday.
The first thing I did was add the Virtual Private Network (VPN) onto the laptop. Connecting to the VPN allowed me to access University services as if I were on campus. After adding this and connecting to GlobalProtect, I went to AppsAnywhere. Here I could start checking to see if I could access the applications required to do my work. The only site I seemed to have problems with was getting onto the Employee Self Service, as I wanted to check to see what annual leave I had left, as when (and if) we were able to get flights home, I knew I’d need time off. However, I’d been in contact with my manager since 23rd March giving him updates on our predicament and letting him know of the procedures I had put into place to start work on Monday 30th March.
Logging in on Monday 30th March was a little surreal, knowing that my colleagues were either in bed or just going to bed! As you can imagine there were loads of emails to start working through and information about COVID-19 – the main topic. My plan was to work for so many hours, take a break, have lunch, get some exercise, then log back on to work the last few hours at the same time as my colleagues so I could touch base with everyone. This system worked very well for me, I’ve been able to access all areas and I’ve messaged my colleagues using ‘Slack’ and even had a few GMail Hangouts video calls which were great, but made me homesick.
On Friday 27th March we were lucky enough to purchase tickets for Saturday 4th April, so fingers crossed by the time this blog is published I’ll be home.
First Image: Casarina Beach where I took my daily exercise
Second Image: On Google Hangouts chatting with Marie Kendall-Waters