Bracing ourselves for Coronavirus
As the outbreak of COVID-19 continues to spread across the country, I wanted to provide an update on how we're planning to ensure we can continue to offer our services and support in the event of restrictions imposed on people movements.
It goes without saying that our first priority is to ensure that we have a clean and safe working environment, taking all reasonable precautions to avoid falling ill to Coronavirus. We're listening closely to the advice and recommendations published by government and other reliable news sources, and while we've no immediate plans to close the office and work from home, this may be something we consider in the coming days or weeks.
As a digital business, we're very well placed to continue our work in the event of home working being enforced, or strongly recommended. Much of our data is stored in the cloud, our servers are off-site and we're no strangers to using video calls and email to communicate with clients on projects.
So as of today, and providing we all remain healthy, I want to reassure clients that we don't foresee any major disruption to our ability to deliver projects or continue working to support your businesses. The reality is, that in 2020, the technology we have around us means that self-isolation doesn't really need to be mean isolation.
If you've any concerns about working with us and the potential impact on your project, or if you're lucky to find new opportunity in the face of adversity, then please get in touch.
What are the tools we use?
In case you're interested, these are some of the tool and apps we use to communicate on a daily basis.
Slack is a free, private chat app that allows us all to remain in constant contact with each other. With mobile and desktop apps available, we've long used Slack for general chatter, quickly sharing files, and to be able to see who's online at any one time.
Our projects are all grouped into Teamwork, a cloud based project management app that allows team collaboration and task visibility. It goes much deeper than that though, with options to track time, costs, project risks and store related files.
Technically, we're not using Harvest at the moment, but we may return to it as it's an excellent little app for tracking time. Teamwork does this to, so we're using that for now, but if you're looking for a way to keep one eye on productivity, then Harvest is worth checking out.
We moved all our documents to the Google Cloud around 18 months ago. While the functionality available in the G Suite won't suit all businesses, it is excellent for collaborating on documents together. The obvious alternative to Google's cloud is Microsoft Office 365 which available for both Mac and PC users.
For keeping in touch with people, we have the traditional telephone, but Zoom is a great tool for video calls and webinars. Video conference meetings aren't quite the same as sitting across a table from each other, but to save time, travel costs and under current circumstances the risk of spreading infection, I imagine they've suddenly become a lot more popular. Both G Suite and Office 365 offer their own video conference options but we've found Zoom to be easy to use and doesn't require accounts with other services.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
This isn't an app, but it's a key part of our remote working infrastructure. Although we've virtually no on-site data, there are certain services we restrict to being accessed only from our studio. Using a VPN provides a secure network connection and enables us to work from anywhere, as id we're based in our studio.
This is more specific to our type of business, but all of our code is stored within version controlled repositories using Git. This means the code is easily accessible from any location and automatically flags up any conflicts where more than 1 person has updated the same file.