While questions are being asked of the government over its coronavirus exit strategy, one thing is clear: large parts of the UK workforce are able to work remotely, thanks to the efforts of IT teams around the country. By enabling people to communicate, office workers do not have to travel. They can remain socially distanced from work colleagues and commuters, which, ultimately, saves lives.
The brand new NHS Nightingale hospital at Excel is now operational. Along with the dedicated medical staff, the beds and life-saving equipment, it recently took delivery of “essential” IT equipment.
For some, the coronavirus is leading to a whole new respect for IT. IT has transformed everything. People do not have to go into work.
Last week, the BCS launched the #vITalworker campaign, and is asking people to share and celebrate examples of IT and IT professionals working to keep essential elements of national life functioning.
One IT chief Computer Weekly spoke to said that people realise they can get so much done at home. The need to work remotely has led to people now realising what tech works and what does not, and how office-based work can be achieved in a secure remote environment.
Fast, country-wide connectivity
However, the UK’s telecommunications infrastructure needs much more investment. AA president Edmund King told BBC News that the current crisis has shown that people can work more efficiently from home. Rather than spending £27bn on roads, or £100bn in the HS2 rail link, King suggested the money could be better invested on improving broadband.
In a recent Linkedin post, Jon Cosson, head of IT and chief information security officer at London-based wealth management firm, JM Finn, thanked his team for the amazing work they have done to enable the company’s traders and investment managers to continue buying and selling shares, at a time when the volume of stock trading is peaking. He wrote: “I want to thank my incredible, hardworking IT department for their professionalism and dedication during the Coronavirus crisis. This is echoed around the world, with IT professionals working 24/7 to ensure organisations can survive, through remote access, home working and telecommunications.” In a comment on the post, one investment manager at JM Finn, wrote: “This team has done a fantastic job over the last couple of weeks, [and has] supported the firm brilliantly.