Jason Larez - Working from home

COVID-19 and Working from Home – an IT View of Things!

Here at BPG, we are of the lucky few who are considered essential workers during the COVID-19 quarantine, yet most of us get to work from home and stay safe and healthy. Setting up approx. 150 employees to work from home within three days proved to be challenging at times. Luckily, we had all the resources, leadership and employee support we needed to get it done! The work performed by the IT Department was a collaboration of the entire IT team with the full support of the Leadership Team.

Here is a timeline of the events:

Monday evening, March 16, 2020: The Executive Leadership Team decided to have everyone work remotely to avoid the spread of the disease. A timeline was sent to the IT Department along with the approval to purchase as many VPN licenses as needed. That night, the IT Department pushed through the night to test that VPN was working correctly and to work with outside providers to make it all possible.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020: The Executive Leadership team identified the users to work from home and approved the purchase of additional VPN licenses. The first 38 employees were fully operational to work from home and an additional 23 users were capable of remote work with remote assistance. The IT Department fielded over 50 IT support tickets that day. And again, the IT Department worked long hours that night to test that our VPN could handle this many users and more.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020: An additional 118 users were fully operational for remote work, and the IT Department fielded over 110 IT support tickets that day. This work was done in phases, as divisions and departments were prioritized on who would move from our facilities in the three states first. Careful planning determined which teams to send home first. It was obvious, due to workstations being close in proximity to one another, our design and engineering division was first. The next few days were spent on testing, helping people with login issues, and planning next steps.

It is easy and routine to come to work every day, turn on your computer, enter your password and start working. Working from home, learning all the steps just to log in, learning how to solve VPN issues and learning how to fix crashed computers proved to be a giant learning curve for individuals. Supporting the teams remotely was also new and extremely challenging for the IT Department. Within two weeks the daily questions became less and less and one month later, we have no more questions!

Considering the little time we had to test the process through to a successful end, issues that arose were fixed surprisingly fast with the support of the whole BPG team. Individuals figured it out; the IT Team figured it out! #oneBPG! #BPGstrong!

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