Darren Linacre, IT & Security at Arcus Global
Sweaty. That’s probably the best way to describe how I felt the morning of Tuesday 17th March 2020. The morning after the Government issued the Work From Home order and we officially invoked our Business Continuity Plan.
You see, I look after all the IT at Arcus, and whilst the company had predicted the lockdown and prepared for it – flicking the switch and moving into the unknown was always going to be sweaty. Many of us work from home a couple of days a week, but the make-do attitude of working from the sofa or dining table every now and then has a very different flavour to working from home full time. How many people would have problems setting up their equipment? How many people would forget much needed peripherals? Can our tools cope with the demand? Can the internet itself cope with the demand suddenly about to be imposed upon it? I had visions of rapidly going from one house to the next, re-configuring routers, setting up monitors and laying cable to spare bedrooms. Sweaty.
Fortunately (and with some proud self-congratulating) our preparations and Continuity Plans were amazing. The transition went smoothly and everyone rose to the challenge and settled into their new temporary lives without issue. All staff were working from home within hours and services were coping well with demand. It had gone off without a hitch – in fact it couldn’t have gone better – and so over the coming days the nervous feeling uncurled itself from the pit of my stomach and manifested into a roar of pride. Pride at how well the company had handled its first serious invocation of the BCP in the face of our struggling and scrambling peers.
Life post-lockdown has certainly been different, I don’t think anyone would challenge me on that. I’m used to being a face-to-face kinda guy. Before, if someone had a problem on their computer, I’d go over and pay them a visit. I’d explain what’s gone wrong and show them how to correct the issue themselves. Now it’s video conferencing or third-party remote connection tools – I log in, fix the problem, and log out. Sure, we have a natter over the video call while doing it, but it somehow feels different. Colder.
Not to disparage the company’s efforts to keep the family spirit alive, of course – a massive social drive has been enacted led by the directors themselves. We have virtual pub nights, lunch time pub quizzes, lunch time virtual board games, game nights. Once again, the feeling of pride for the company I work for and what they’re achieving shines bright and proves to me that we actually believe in our core values – a rare thing in today’s corporate world of buzzwords and numbers.
I’ve also taken on new, unexpected duties and have become something of a delivery driver. Life doesn’t stop in the face of coronavirus; laptops need configuring and (safely) shipping to new employees, we’ve had equipment break and need replacing, and sadly had a member of staff leave and required their laptop and monitors collecting. All were either doorway deliveries or dropping off at the freight company for longer distance, as I don’t want to go into people’s houses. I have non-essential RAM upgrades temporarily on hold but that could be an interesting challenge depending on how long we remain in lockdown.
Finally, we also have our ISO audits looming on the horizon and so I’ve been busy knee-deep in process documentation so we can be ready well ahead of those…
Suddenly that sweaty feeling is coming back in anticipation of days of meetings with auditors, but if our current experience of how we handled Coronavirus is anything to go by, I’m confident we have what it takes to smash this too.
About Arcus Global
Arcus Global, formed in 2009 and based in Cambridge UK, is a market leading GovTech cloud company, delivering mission critical technology solutions that enable local authorities and other public sector organisations to transform their service delivery to citizens.
The Software as a Service division of Arcus has developed a platform based suite of Applications for Local Government. Addressing the challenge of legacy technology in Citizen Digital interaction, Planning, Building Control, Licensing, Environmental Health. Arcus has grown to over 30 customers including Folkestone & Hythe District Council, Eastleigh Borough Council and the London Borough of Southwark.
The Cloud Infrastructure Division of Arcus provides Consultancy, Managed Services and Cloud Storage to a large number of Public Sector bodies across Central Government, Local Government, the NHS and the Education sector.
Kate Warboys, Marketing Manager at Arcus Global