This week's totally unseasonal appearance of snow wreaked the usual havoc on the transport infrastructure of many parts of the UK, causing many workers (Sneak included) to work from home.
Another predictable effect of the weather was a flurry of press releases either jumping on the opportunity to publicise the advantages of home working (usually from purveyors of mobility tools), or pointing out the dangers of remote working (usually from purveyors of security tools).
Sneak would concur that working from home sounds a good idea on occasions like this, especially if your work is heavily web-based and needs little other than a computer, internet connection and a phone.
However, it can quickly turn into a nightmare for those workers with a corporate IT department that believes the only secure system is one that nobody can actually access.
Sneak's company email system is based on Lotus Notes, with external access provided by a web-based tool called iNotes. The version Sneak has access to is virtually unusable and requires a different set of credentials to the Notes client on the network (naturally), but it also proves to be incompatible with modern browsers, refusing to work properly in FireFox 3 or IE 8, even with compatibility mode turned on. Fortunately, Sneak was saved by having an old PC at home still running IE 6.
There is also the problem that several documents Sneak was working on happened to be on a PC hard drive in the office, meaning they had to wait for another day to be completed.
Oddly, Sneak didn't used to be bothered by difficulties like this, because tools like GoToMyPC and LogMeIn allow you to reach your office PC via the web, so you can access your desktop email account and copy across any files you need in a flash. Unfortunately, someone in the IT department decreed these to be a security risk, and blocked them at the firewall.
Flexible, remote working is possible now, but a change in mindset is needed or we might as well not bother having all this modern technology. Now, Sneak is going to make another cup of tea before frustration causes him to do something that might invalidate his computer's warranty....
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