Handling IT Functions Safely at the office

2 Jun 2021

When we first started hearing about the “new normal,” not many of us grasped the reality of what it meant. Daily life changed for many people when they began following new social distancing rules and restrictions. For companies, employee safety came first in the way they approached particular tasks and procedures. Procedures like new hire interviews and various IT functions were done in a limited, remote manner.

Consider for a moment a company’s IT department. We are all too familiar with asking our “IT guys” for troubleshooting help or dealing with connectivity issues. This always made them the most hands-on department and one that you could call on right away for help. Many wondered how impacted an IT department’s functions and responsibilities would be. After all, questions about connection security and how they would still provide services to those working at home would arise.

While we do not have an all-encompassing answer to this, let’s look at how Diversify’s own IT department addressed these challenges and concerns.

Plotting the Biggest Changes

Before tackling the safety measures implemented, let’s look at the overall situation caused by the pandemic. Quarantine restrictions brought on by the pandemic caused several businesses to close, temporarily or permanently. This caused a ripple effect felt by different industries in their ability to produce deliverables. Due to this, Diversify’s IT department predicted delays in IT product delivery. This was one of many challenges they were going to prepare for.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for Diversify’s IT department was how to remain more hands-on while being socially distant. The pandemic caused several physical limitations in the way our IT services are typically provided and handled. At the start of the pandemic, the IT department was swift in deploying PC units for those at home who didn’t have any. With assistance from the service master and Facilities and Administration department, they were able to deliver the needed units to employees to help ensure minimal to no delays in operations. Prior to this, they tested each unit and installed key programs to ensure their operating capabilities. They were able to resolve issues and do troubleshooting via remote software to guide them. Dongles were also provided for those without internet access or those with outage issues.

Employees working from home had their PC units brought to them.

Adapting IT functions to remote support was a big challenge and it was something they took head on. As a whole, Diversify’s IT department saw the need to build and adjust processes to accommodate the new work-from-home setup. While robust systems were already in place for data security, they took a newer approach to it to help ensure operations continue.

Working and Overcoming with Limited Resources

In the following months, companies saw a slow but gradual return to work. This meant IT functions returning to their hands-on approach. However, there were social distancing regulations to follow and as a result, unique challenges arose. For instance, the IT department was responsible for the reallocation of the previously moved PC units back to the office. As we’ve seen recently, the Philippine government mandated that employees work from home as a result of spiking COVID cases. Because of this, the IT department became responsible for shifting PC units to and from the office.  Another unique challenge was the turnaround time for resolutions. Any good IT department is especially helpful and hands-on with those who are less tech savvy. 

Being less hands-on when performing IT functions was a challenge they eventually overcame.  Despite these unique challenges and circumstances, the IT department remained committed to putting safety first. Members of the department limited their physical interactions and focused on providing quality remote support. Aside from abiding by social distancing rules while in the office, they were also required to wear protective clothing and always have alcohol on-hand. Door access was also very limited to prevent people from moving between our sites regularly. Those that needed to move would have to get approval from upper management to do so. 

A Company Effort

Despite these processes, a company’s IT department does more than we sometimes give them credit for. Diversify or otherwise, their responsibilities certainly go much deeper as they maintain data infrastructure and focus on data security daily. In our current situation, they must also consider the situations of employees and remain committed in providing needed services for clients. They remain a key part of what it takes to run a global company efficiently and effectively.