Remote #atozchallenge

Image by LEEROY Agency from Pixabay

I wrote this about a month ago, when the dreaded Covid-19 coronavirus closed restaurants for all except carryout and delivery service, businesses and schools closed, grocery stores were running out of things like meat and produce, and families found themselves barricaded in their houses, attempting to avoid human contact, for fear of becoming fatally ill. Some are treating the virus like it’s no big deal, others are treating it like the Zombie Apocalypse… Seriously, though, I hope this finds all of you in good health and that, by some miracle, things are either back to normal or rapidly approaching that point.

Many businesses were (and are) able to carry on as usual, despite the fact that no one was physically in the office to handle telephone calls and carry on with the daily routine. If you have a phone, a computer, and access to the Internet, it doesn’t matter whether you’re at the office, at home, or at the beach, you can carry on as though you’re sitting in a cubicle farm next to your co-workers. This miracle is called working remotely.

Rather than getting up, showering and dressing in a manner appropriate for the office, catching the bus or train (or several buses and several trains) or sitting for an hour in rush hour traffic to get to the office, you can get up a little later, dress how you wish, sit down in front of your computer at an appointed time and log into a virtual private network (or VPN) that protects the privacy and security of your communications with other people in your organization and your organization’s data. You now have access to everything you need: company email, data on other servers, conferencing services, company voice mail, Sharepoint and wiki services… pretty much all the same stuff you have access to when you’re in the office. Subject to company policy and your immediate supervisor, you can work flexible hours so you can do things like grocery shopping and shuttling the kids between soccer practice, dance lessons, and tae kwon do, etc.

Obviously, this doesn’t work for everyone. There are a lot of jobs that can’t be done remotely, among them the job of keeping all those servers going. There’s a lot of reluctance to allow people to work remotely, particularly in agile development where each day begins with a "scrum" with all the members of the team physically in a room together. While technology jobs are the most logical choices for a remote work environment, many managers want everyone there. I went onsite to a company where almost everyone who worked in data processing was named John. Apparently, the boss wanted to be able to yell "John! Get your ass in here!" and have them all show up. (No kidding, he tried to recruit me…)

You know where I’d like to see remote work? In government, specifically in the legislature. Too many politicians leave their districts for the capital (whether the state capital or Washington, DC, or whatever the equivalents are where you live) and forget the people they’re meant to represent until election day. If they were forced to work from their home districts, where their constituents could see them at the store, the movies, at their kids’ soccer games etc., effective representation of their consitituents would become not simply their job but an act of self-preservation…

25 thoughts on “Remote #atozchallenge

  1. I am working remotely and I had major muscle pain yesterday from an uncomfortable chair. I will get my office chair this weekend. We are on lockdown which is a very good thing. I have to say, I watch a station from Toronto and I really like the mayor, John Tory, who is on that station every morning and discusses what is new and answers emails. He is excellent in my opinion. On a sad note, my hubby’s niece, a nurse, has tested positive for the Covid19 and is sick at home. She does have asthma so I hope she doesn’t get hot too hard.


    1. Was the pain in the glutes? That’s the worst. I get that occasionally.

      I’ll keep your niece in my prayers. We’ve had pretty good luck with cloroquine in this country. I guess it’s still considered “experimental,” but they’ve had good luck with it in France as well. It’s supposed to be good for asthma, too…


  2. But how would you get all the lobbyists to individual houses to convince Congress to take care of special interests instead of the people who voted them into office? With crazy talk like this, you could end up saving hundreds of lives and an entire culture instead of an extra pipeline. Or worse! Someone would reroot the waterline and make Flint, Michigan safe again. Do you know how much money would be lost saving lives like that? OMG.

    dies of my own sarcasm

    +Here lies J. He loved people more than money. Sick bastard.+


    Great post. Stay safe!


  3. Well, personally I have been retired for awhile now. I went on early retirement at 61 when I had my first back operation. I had my 3rd in August of 2019. Unfortunately, my husband did early retirement too, but I must tell you I won’t go into gory details, but we got a phone call this morning and hubby is CANCER FREE!!! WOO HOO!!! We’re so excited can’t begin to tell you. I plan on doing a short paragraph on it on my blog tomorrow. Too excited now. Have a good night John.


    1. That is wonderful news! I’m happy for both of you!

      I went on disability in 2014, when I was 58, and consider myself retired since then. I got to a point I couldn’t work outside my home…


  4. We are under stay at home orders and otherwise A-ok. I have to say I loved the part – “Hey John get in here” and they all showed up. I am fortunately one of those remote workers and it has been both a blessing and a curse. The days are looooonnnngggg because of the convenience factor. I have a hard time shutting down for day. It’s all work, all the time. I can’t say I miss my commute but I do miss the decompression time and songs on the car radio.


  5. John,

    DH is one of the fortunate ones to work from home. Every day he’s on conference call with his boss and other co-workers, so that seems to be going well. We had to buy a printer that produces 11×17 documents, as well as scan them and had to clear enough space into the catch-all room so he’d have place to work. Next house we hope to have either a basement or a spare bedroom to convert to a home office. Otherwise things seem to be going okay. Technology is super cool! Your story about the place that had an office full of Johns was funny. Thanks for making me giggle. It’s been a bit hectic around here today trying to get things done away from the net which means I’m now even farther behind than before. sigh Have a good evening and stay well, my friend!

    Cathy’s Pinup Girl Art Sketch Series ‘M’


  6. We are still shelter in place and no one is leaving except for grocery shopping and I’m taking our son to work a few days a week so he doesn’t have to take the train. You know how I feel about working from home and fortunately for me, business has picked up a bit in the last couple of days.


    1. It takes a certain mentality to work at home. The tendency is to go surfing the Internet or spend all your time on social media, so you have to switch that off and go to something else. I always had a work computer and a home computer and I’d use them for just that.


  7. While I am frantically busy, I count myself lucky to have a job that I can not only do from home, but that has become an essential service for my institution. Hubby is not so lucky as an optometrist – he sees emergencies, but is otherwise home for the duration…


    1. It’s rough having a job where face-to-face contact is required: it isn’t something you can do from home, unless his patients go to your house (and he had the several-hundred-thousand dollar equipment to do it with).


  8. on tight lockdown here in michigan as well. i love your idea about the state government staying in their districts and working remotely whenever possible.


  9. Hi Jim it’s still tight lockdown here. As many as can are working from their homes, Eg my eldest and youngest son’s, our middle doesn’t work in IT, but at Heathrow and as he is at risk due to health issues he was at first on sick leave and now on furlough. The other two lads in IT just carry on as you say without the travel hassle, dealing with the USA and India.
    Be safe John you and Mary what ever they tell you this Covid is real and bad.💜


        1. That was probably it. Predicted text and spell check are the bane of the blogger’s world. I always shut them off. I can make my own mistakes, I don’t need a computer to do that…


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