Coronavirus COVID-19 - how are folks and companies experiencing and/or impacted by this?

I’m really curious how the Coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting the IT industry and software testing specifically. Things like reduced working hours/days, cancelled work streams, recruitment being put on hold, etc. Keep it anonymous, i.e. no company names though it may be good to indicate a little about the company if that’s OK from your perspective.

For me, our company is from Norn Irn, smallish (30 folks total, 10 in IT) and we supply software as a service to an industry associated with the charity sector. I heard that incomes in the charity sector had taken a sharp dip due to the Coronavisus hitting the economy, which makes sense as in the UK high street traffic, which is where a lot of the charity income comes from, has been hard hit recently and now we’re in complete lockdown for at least several weeks! As of now, there has been no word of our order book reducing so we’re working flat out as normal, just we’re all doing it from home.

Working from home for me feels a tad weird when it’s for longer than the occasional day here or there. So far we’ve done it since 16 March. So far, so good. We have Teams and it has been robust save for the occasional dropout as apparently Microsoft had some issues recently - perhaps due to so many more people using Teams.

In terms of hiring, there has bene nothing official announced, but we’ve essentially had in the past an open invite to recruiters for any decent software developers, i.e. they are in short supply in Norn Irn, so I believe that remains an open invite. It’s hard to see how we would on-board anyone remotely, but I guess there’s that possibility… Also, an interview process that was totally remote may be a bit strange, too.

So I guess to summarize, so far we’re doing OK, no bad news yet! How are others experiencing and/or impacted by this?

Cheers

I’m in the USA, in rural-ish Pennsylvania (about an hour out of Philadelphia if there’s not much traffic). My employer is one of those mega multinational companies but my group is pretty much its own ecosystem. We went to work from home for the programming group on the 18th, then as of the 23rd anyone who didn’t have to be in the office was required to work from home.

The company has deferred bonuses and merit raises indefinitely, is offering loans to employees who are being hit financially, and has been setting up contingency plans since January. So far the only change I’ve personally seen is the shift to work from home.

Since our customer base is pretty easily defined (“businesses of all sizes and types”), we’re expecting to take a hit from the customers who have been forced to close. We don’t know yet what that hit is going to look like or how bad it will be.

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For now, we continue business as usual, but we all work from home now. Only we’re using Zoom and not Teams.

I believe after all this pandemic period is over, many companies will reconsider the necessity of employees to work in the offices.

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We can hope! Too many people in senior/C-level management seem to think that backsides on chairs is a viable measurement of productivity.

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Our company is having an all hands meeting on 2 April. Here’s hoping there’s not bad news ahead! Will post an update soon. In the UK there’s been a government initiative of “furloughing” (hopefully spelt correctly), whereby the government will pay 80% of employees salary if the company has no work for them, but is prepared to not make them redundant. Good initiative! Hopefully we’re not going to need that in short term in our company…

Frequent working from home has been the norm for me for a while now and being in a team split between the UK and India means a lot of Skype meetings, so not being in the office and talking to people online doesn’t seem unusual to me. I’m about to change jobs and that’s making returning kit to present employer and getting new kit interesting, it’s going to require couriers for both! I’ve also been informed that I’ll be on reduced hours (four-day week) at the new employer for the immediate future, but that’s company-wide. I’ll be remotely on-boarding too, which will be a new experience!

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@professorwoozle wish you every success in your new position. It’s good to hear that in your case the new position recruitment still went ahead and they’re getting equipment to you and doing the on-boarding in the challenging circumstances.

You can also see more covid related posts here - https://workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/covid-19
It has some posts about layoffs in IT, vpn problems etc. You’ll have to search a bit.

Here is a question for example - https://workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/156565/how-can-i-assess-my-recession-risk-as-a-software-developer

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Hi, we carrying on working and preempted the working from home directive and got our organisation WFH very quickly. A couple of things that changed that really benefited:

  • The management met every day to assess and report on the impact and issues WFH and took actions to resolve any issues reported from individuals. Gradually we’re no meeting every other day and have found that these meetings are valuable anyway.
  • For my test team they as routine have daily huddles related to the projects they’re working on. Being co located we’d stay in contact with what eachother were working on, which obviously fell away with remote working. So now we have our own discussion slack channel to report briefly what we’re all working on today so we can carry on helping eachother
  • On Fridays, we have a non-work video call at 16:00 building up to the weekend where we just chat. The office banter is massive but for remote working you need to make an effort to continue it.
  • Ironically with video conferencing, meetings have become easier. No need to book a room has each team has their own virtual whereby rooms and we have project whereby rooms. So we’re actually talking now more, than we were in the office.

Lots of good practice is coming out of this experience that I’m hoping we continue with after this is all over.

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I heard first hand that some people have to work way more than their normal work hours since the WFH started. Do you find yourselves working more since you are at home ?

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Yes, but that seems to be a natural thing. I would suggest a number of us who would normally travel to work are then looking to “get home” at the end of a day. That can sometimes have further issues of traffic delays, train cancellations etc. so getting home becomes a cut off. Take that away and it means the urgency to “get home” has gone so we naturally end our working day related to what we’re working on, rather than a time to get home.

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IMO, getting entry/mid level QA jobs could get harder in this market since one could be competing with laid off or to-be laid off developers and also other QA. There will be developers who might never have considered QA, but will do it now. From an employer’s perspective, there could be more supply of eligible workers.

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Slaughtered.

The place I work at has had incoming customer queries and orders double, because we support remote working, and this means all the teams in the company are busy. Our dev team have to make sure that things we do dont upset the gravy train obviously, but I am finding the drive quite hard going.

I have gotten over an hour of my day that was lost to commuting back, which is nice, but I am ploughing it back in anyway, because I don’t spend long lunch breaks on Facebook or going out to the sandwich shop anymore. I’m still taking just as many teabreaks as usual, but still finding it very draining.

Hiring…, next week we have a new member join our team, it will be awkward, but it’s going to work well I hope. We still have 2 openings, an engineering manager, and a UX + product-owner role. So we are bucking the trend. This is going to be the time where non-digital workers find ways to use digital tools in new ways in order to reach more people. Interesting times, but as I consider, for me, it’s all a bit much.

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