Remote Working a Silver Lining in 2020

To say 2020 was a tough year is one of the great understatements. Amid so much loss, it’s tough to find silver linings. But as with any trauma, they are surely there if we look closely enough. On behalf of the Workspot team, I’d like to send heartfelt sympathy to all those who have been affected by this horrific pandemic. As we set our sights on better days, Workspot is making a cash donation to regional food banks whose work is so critical in this moment.

Preconceived Notions Around Remote Working

On February 20, as information about COVID-19 was just starting to be revealed, we published a blog that speculated about the possible benefits of transforming remote working from something that is notable, negotiable and difficult into a routine activity that takes place as-needed for a variety of reasons. Certainly, during cold and flu season, it sure makes sense for people in close proximity to each other to go home to work when someone in the office becomes ill. But that didn’t happen – not as a matter of course. Why? The answer is twofold: Technology deficits and company culture. While the technology to support remote working has been around for a long time, it has been out of reach for many organizations, either because of high costs and management complexity or because these legacy remote work solutions – such as VDI – cannot adequately support use cases where high-performance computing is needed, therefore crippling productivity. Culturally, there has been resistance to allowing people to work from home, primarily out of productivity concerns. Even in organizations where remote working is generally accepted, there has been an undercurrent of disapproval, or it’s regarded as an “earned privilege” that is the exception to the rule.

As we all know, a lot has changed since February 20, and we are living the grim reality of the full-force of COVID-19. As it turns out though, there is a silver lining for remote working, which affects people both professionally and personally.

Shining a New Light on Remote Working

Our team was right in the middle of the frenzy to transition out of the office. For our existing customers, it was easy. They simply had to let their Customer Success champion know they needed additional licenses to send people home. Our customers made the adjustment to work from home in hours. One customer said “We were so fortunate to have had this in place prior to the pandemic. Workspot quickly reacted to our needs for additional systems during that time. We highly recommend this product!”

Wood Rodgers CEO Mark Rodgers agrees. “It just so happened that we were already invested in the Workspot platform, and we were invested in the idea of expanding the platform to encompass most of our company, to take us into the future. We’re extremely pleased at how quickly we were able to adapt and get our people home and working.”

Dudek CIO Brian Nordmann had another perspective as his firm began to see the results of sending people home. “With Workspot cloud workstations, it’s easy to work at home – sometimes too easy. Productivity is stronger than ever, so we are focusing on work/life balance.” Brian pointed out an interesting challenge: People are so productive at home that many are having difficulty establishing a boundary between work and life. It can be too easy to work all the time. Many other customers underscored that their concerns about reduced productivity were not only unfounded, but that productivity actually improved as people stayed home.

We also added many new customers during this time, and while their transition, either from physical PCs and workstations or from VPNs and legacy VDI took a little longer, it was extremely gratifying to be able to get these customers up and running in record time so people could work safely at home. End users at these companies also had a perspective on their cloud desktops:

“We are incredibly grateful to our IT team for setting up our employees to work from home so seamlessly via Workspot. Because of their expertise, our firm can continue to support clients, plan for future projects, and most importantly keep our employees safe.”
“Our IT staff is doing an amazing job.”
“Thanks for putting us in such a great spot with technology before all this happened!”
“We often don’t realize what a great job the IT team does because things just plain work. It takes a lot of hard work and planning to keep this many people running smoothly. Thank you, IT!”
“I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for Workspot, Panzura, and Azure, we would not have been able to survive this virus.”

Better Days Ahead in 2021

It turned out that in 2020, Workspot and the IT thought leaders who reacted immediately and took a leap of faith in adopting cloud desktops and workstations probably saved some lives. There’s no doubt that together, we saved many jobs. For having the ability to contribute that value, we are humbled and grateful. As the world community navigates more difficult days in the near term, we stand in solidarity, continuing our commitment to customer success, doing what we do best in support of the remote work silver lining. At the stroke of midnight January 1, let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief as we usher in 2021 with a heavy dose of optimism.