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Working Safely During Coronavirus (Part 1)

August 2020

Whilst many businesses prepare to reopen for the first time since restrictions were introduced at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, for DW Windsor it’s business as usual. As documented through our #MakeLifeWork blog series, DW Windsor has remained operational throughout COVID-19 thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff. And whilst the virus has presented new challenges, a core team of employees has been working tirelessly to ensure the company can operate safely, both from home and as we migrate back to the office, protecting our staff and minimising the impact on customers.

An Interview with Jason

For the final instalments in our #MakeLifeWork series, we’re highlighting the extraordinary efforts of our staff, who have kept DW Windsor operating under the most challenging of circumstances. Told through a set of four interviews, the series discusses DW Windsor’s response to coronavirus, the impact it has had on the lighting industry and lessons we have learned from the experience.

In this first post, we’re talking to Jason as he explains how our IT department was equipped to deal with COVID-19 and the technology that has allowed staff to work effectively throughout the pandemic.


What was the IT department’s immediate response to coronavirus?

As a department, we’re always looking to support the needs of our staff, and the company as a whole. Over the last few years, DW Windsor has invested heavily in IT infrastructure, equipment and services to help improve the workflow of our employees and enable more off-site work.

At the start of the pandemic, we recognised the potential effect it could have on the business. The IT department needed to respond quickly to enable staff to work from home. Whilst many roles were already well equipped to work remotely, we sourced additional hardware including laptops, cameras and headsets to ensure all staff could operate away from the office.

When the government finally introduced lockdown restrictions, we were able to seamlessly transition staff out of the office, ensuring their safety and minimising any disruption to the business.

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Jason Patey, Group IT Manager

With over 15 years’ experience in IT support, Jason joined the DW Windsor Group in 2014. As Group IT Manager, Jason and his team deliver IT support across the three group brands; DW Windsor, Pulsar and Urban Control.

Enabling our colleagues to continue working throughout this period has been our primary concern. We’ve worked incredibly hard to ensure that as a business, we can continue serving the needs of our customers.

—Jason Patey, Group IT Manager

How did the team support staff working remotely, and the transition back to the office?

Even before lockdown measures were announced, the IT team were busy updating DW Windsor’s systems with programmes such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom to improve communication. With coronavirus, this took on increased importance, however, the company was already in a strong position to accommodate staff working both in and out of the office.

We’d recently upgraded AV equipment in our meeting rooms to include 4K cameras for improved video conferencing, as well as adding extra VPNs and building additional servers to cope with the demands of off-site users.

Enabling our colleagues to continue working throughout this period has been our primary concern. The team has worked incredibly hard to ensure the business remains operational and can continue to serve the needs of our customers, whether they’re working from home or at the office.


How will the pandemic change our working lives?

In recent years we’ve seen a trend towards remote working, whether from the home or in shared workspaces. Whilst the technology has existed to support this way of working, adoption has been slow. Coronavirus changed everything.

Collaborative tools, such as Microsoft Sharepoint or Planner already allow organisations to work more productively, however wider adoption will see an improved workflow, enabling better cooperation between departments.

Video conferencing software and chat platforms like Teams have changed how we communicate, both internally and with customers. And whilst this has created challenges, in time these systems will become commonplace, aiding communication regardless of location.

As an IT professional, the opportunity to re-train and educate staff on how to use technology to their advantage is incredibly exciting. And although I don’t believe technology will ever fully replace face-to-face meetings, recent events have shown we now have alternatives.


What is the greatest lesson you have learnt during lockdown?

As someone who is surrounded by technology, I know the value it can add to one’s life, both professionally and personally, however, sometimes its good just to switch off and enjoy what is around you.

To stay up to date with the latest DW Windsor and industry news, follow us on LinkedInInstagram and Facebook. Whilst we still face uncertain times, we will continue to provide educational and valuable content and invite you to be part of the conversation.