We all very much enjoyed the snow over the Christmas holidays and spent a few days building snowmen, throwing snowballs and sledging as a family, it was almost literally the icing on the cake that was Christmas 2009. My Father-in-law and I spent a few hours on Christmas eve and Christmas day constructing an icy slope sufficient to send Maria across the length of my Mother-on-law’s large back garden. I felt like a javelin or hammer thrower as I perfected my method of drawing Maria down the slope before applying more power and speed into the technique and surprisingly she was a willing participant through-out.
I have been reluctant to try working from home before today, but finally caved in and set myself up. Even without being given the facilities to become a proper remote worker we can all pick up works e-mail via the internet and Skype usage is in vogue with our Developers as part of their team is based in Newcastle, so I set up an account and have a headset to try to keep abreast of their activities. I installed our products on my unsupported home operating system and away I chugged. As feared I’d not brought enough home with me to configure one of the linking products but I’ve got more working than I expected. The Developers all work from laptops so it was business as usual for them. However, it’s harder for us Testers who need our testbed and access to particular datasets to provide sufficient evidence of errors to feedback to the ‘Testees‘ (those who or whose output is being tested) so I suspect it is going to be like working with an arm behind my back or at least with limited amunition. Probably a bigger barrier to our distributed working is the lack of communication which is something we as a team and a wider company have an issue with, but by staying at home I’ll find out how to use the tools to best keep in touch and not spend a large chunk of the day monitoring and discussing people’s journeys into the office.
Today I drove in and arrived at my desk for 7:30 after being the first to drive up my road at 6:40. The roads were quiet but there were already a couple of cars stuck and had it not been so quiet I might have struggled to pass them. A car in front of me failed to climb Adephi Street nr Salford Uni which brought me to a halt that I didn’t want to make. The A-Class Merc ahead had 2 passengers that got it moving again but without any assistants of my own I spent 5 minutes sliding around before finally finding that little bit of traction I needed to get me moving again. At 8:30 there were only 2 of us in an office that would usually have 20 working at that time. One guy made it in from the Wirral though it took him 5 hours and he spent less than an hour at his desk before heading back. I won’t be driving again, I took buses on Monday although I also ended up walking 9km (3 of which were to source some walking boots at lunchtime) I’ll listen out early tomorrow morning to hear if the buses are running but if I can’t get in early I won’t bother and after spending this afternoon setting myself up it will be good to get some benefit from home working without the hassles of working out who’s in or out.
The snow is probably the worst in living memory. We might be worse prepared for bad weather than ever before; none of the roads I drove today had been salted and the only gritter I have seen in recent days was doing laps of a McDonald’s drive-through, but the internet helps pass information (BBC Manchester has just confirmed that Maria’s school is shut tomorrow) and we don’t compound problems by setting off on dangerous unnecessary journeys especially when we have alternatives and remote working is easier than ever.