What a very strange world we are living in right now. As I type this, I am sitting opposite my son who is doing his school work online, I have a daughter upstairs who is now not sitting her GCSEs and is missing her friends and I have a wife who is a frontline medical professional in a GP surgery who is now having to deal with patients who may or may not have Covid-19.
This seems a million miles away from where we were a few weeks ago and it really makes you realise that you just can’t take things for granted.
As the outbreak started to get serious in the UK, our workforce at Phoenix was asked to work from home. For many of them, this was very different to what they were used to and it could have proved very challenging, but technology has been a real enabler.
Microsoft Teams has been a critical platform for us. I have never done so many video calls and it has allowed our various teams to interact and collaborate as if they were still in the office. I saw a stat last week which showed that in one week alone there were 12 million new active users of Teams; this highlights the extent to which Teams is becoming the platform of choice for organisations.
Within our household, it’s not just me using Teams for business work. My son has Teams set up to check in with his teachers, my daughter has a channel to keep in touch with her transition to sixth form, and my wife is now using it to keep in touch with other members of her medical practice. We are really living and breathing a modern workplace every hour of the day.
It should go without saying that I have nothing but respect and admiration for those front-line workers who are risking everything to save others. It’s also not lost on me that, here at Phoenix, the vast majority of our customers are providing critical services to citizens, patients, tenants and students across the UK.
As the front-line workers are facing incredibly challenging days trying to support the country, behind the scenes it has been remarkable to see local councils changing the ways they work to keep critical services running, universities and schools moving to remote learning, and housing providers using technology to check in with tenants.
It has been truly fantastic to see the technology providers pulling together as well, with global technology giants making resources available to help customers and working with governments, and technology partners going above and beyond to provide the support and expertise required.
The next few weeks and months will be very challenging but just spare a thought for all of those front-line workers who really do prove that not all superheroes wear capes.
Keith Martin is the sales director at Phoenix Software.