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    After some initial teething problems our remote access and VPN seem to be holding up reasonably well and the techies are doing a good job of making it more stable - MS Teams calls are mostly ok although on larger calls we've had some people being thrown out and having to dial back in. Even having multiple people homeworking in the same household using the same Wifi router doesn't seem to be breaking things. My biggest annoyance (more of a fear) is that I start a new job on Monday (same org, different role, new subject matter), I know no one in that area and will be leading large calls (20-40 people) where everyone else on the call knows more about what we're doing than I do. Sleepless night on Sunday, I suspect...

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      Tried and failed to have a union cttee meeting on ‘Teams’ yesterday.
      Negotiations about the closures/redundancies by Skype on Thursday and Friday... we’ll see.

      I might have to get dressed for those.

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        Our department head lives alone and is clearly struggling to find stuff to do with himself now we're all stuck at home. His latest wheeze is to start a journal club for the department. I bloody hate journal clubs.

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          What’s a journal club?

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              I'm having to help out on Customer Services, which I hate doing (in any customer service job, the idea is to get as far away from actual customer contact as you can). My payslip got emailed through to cheer me up, but when I opened it I found an attachment of earnings has taken 160 out of it. Which may or may not be meant for me, but I've certainly had no warning of this.

              I'm not in the best of moods

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                That's a proper annoyance Pebble.

                I'm about to go on the redeployment list.

                Meanwhile

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                  Originally posted by Simon G View Post
                  Had our first telephone conference call using the Skype business app today - 8 of us on the call.

                  Well, what a disaster - there was constant echoing, a strange number of weird noises and frankly no-one could hear a thing each person was saying. After 15 mins, we gave up. Another planned for Thursday when there will be absolutely no difference whatsoever...
                  Perhaps worth spending two minutes at the start running through some online meeting etiquette? For example, everyone agrees to keep their mic on mute when they're not talking. Makes a big difference, both in terms of background noise and also the possibility of people talking over each other.

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                    It was actually quite successful today. Only one person sounded like he was a million miles away and it turned into a pleasant catch up.

                    I could certainly get used to home working, I've got to be honest.

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                      We did our team call on Teams, which went fine, and then our sub-team call on Teams, which went better because there's just three of us. The second one has some point, the first not, but I actually found it a nice change to see a few faces.

                      Did we find out what a journal club is?

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                        Originally posted by TonTon View Post
                        We did our team call on Teams, which went fine, and then our sub-team call on Teams, which went better because there's just three of us. The second one has some point, the first not, but I actually found it a nice change to see a few faces.

                        Did we find out what a journal club is?
                        If S.aureus is in the same (or similar) field as me, then it'll the discussion of an article from a journal (scientific/economic/whatever) that is in some way relevant to the work the group is doing. We run them occasionally, and have PhD students lead the discussions as it helps them learn how to read and interpret scientific papers and place research in context of their own work.

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                          I'll be "back" to work on Monday, which means working from the spare room / office. Apparently my department has daily calls over Teams but as we all get along (not to mention actually like each other) I can't see it being much of an inconvenience. It does mean I need to find somewhere else to store the toilet rolls, though.
                          Last edited by Toby Gymshorts; 26-03-2020, 11:56.

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                            Originally posted by pebblethefish View Post
                            I'm having to help out on Customer Services, which I hate doing (in any customer service job, the idea is to get as far away from actual customer contact as you can). My payslip got emailed through to cheer me up, but when I opened it I found an attachment of earnings has taken 160 out of it. Which may or may not be meant for me, but I've certainly had no warning of this.

                            I'm not in the best of moods
                            Well, after 36 minutes on hold, I've finally sorted it - apparently they overpaid my Universal credit in May 2018, but didn't think to write to me until Feb 2020, by which time I'd moved. Oh well, at least they’re taking the money when I’ve got nothing else to spend it on (and it could be worse – I thought the Student Loan company might have tracked me down!)

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                              Been using Teams this week; finaly realised that I don't need to plug anything in to hear/speak.

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                                Yeah, sorry about the slow response. But a journal club is as gjt stated, only we don't have PhD students and the discussion is generally dominated by the loud mouthed know-it-alls misinterpreting most of the article in question and making believe that it confirms their pre-existing world views. Even worse (for me) is the worry that this time around I'm the one who is completely misinterpreting it and looking like a complete idiot in front of all my co-workers.

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                                  Originally posted by Gangster Octopus View Post
                                  Been using Teams this week; finaly realised that I don't need to plug anything in to hear/speak.
                                  Ooh - I just tried that - I can too! I wondered why I was the only one wearing a headset.

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                                    You can use a Bluetooth speaker/microphone and not even have to be in front of the device.

                                    Or download the app to your phone.

                                    (And if you do have to use video, the “blur background” option is very good.)

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                                      Since the Covid-19 disaster started, my office have been mainly working from home, with a skeleton crew in the main office, so today, I was on the phone to one of my bosses, walking him step by step through one of my jobs which can't be done at home. That was fun!

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                                        Your office monitoring everything you do as you work from home

                                        [URL]https://twitter.com/ruchowdh/status/1243910202224553984?s=21[/URL]

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                                          Just got a text from work, we're expected to be in work on Monday, no way am I an essential service.

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                                            Don't know what you do guapo - is it not something that can be done remotely?

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                                              I'm in customer support basically, two weeks ago we were split in two and some of us were moved to a separate office. Last week, all of head office were sent home with their computer terminals to work from home. For some reason, they haven't done the same with us and expect us to still go in. TBH,I'm someone that it doesn't really affect, I'm 5 minutes cycle from home, and I'm only in work from 9 until 1. They just don't want some of us getting paid for sitting at home.

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                                                Glad it's not a big issue for you personally. Is there space to work and stay 2m away from everyone for your full shift?

                                                If your work can be done from home, then it really should be. It's not good enough for your company to be insisting on people coming in to the office because they aren't happy managing people remotely.

                                                Is there a union at your place?

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                                                  In fairness we have our safe distances and all other safety protocols in place, I just got another text that they are now talking to the union, so we'll see what happens.

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                                                    I'm in the office today. I find it easier to work and I need to get a couple of things done before I get furloughed on Wednesday. I came in by car, bringing my own food and drink and haven't seen anyone else in the entire building. (Our company is just one of a number in this building.) If I get enough done today, I'll probably work from home tomorrow.

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