Cubicles Are Back, 9 to 5 is Dead, And Privacy Protection Is In ICU

Staggered shifts, driving alone to work (like a cowboy), no more open space offices… Not only were spaces not “stimulating creativity”, they were recipes for distraction and potential harassment claims. It is a relief to take a break from office proximity, breathing in each other’s faces, sneezing on each other’s hair, invading one another’s personal space, have someone snoop up on ya under pretext to access the shredder… 19th century is officially out of fashion.

For example, from now on, you have to buy individual staplers (or maybe even cars) to all employees you want physically at the office, limit the use of paper, disinfect bathrooms every 2 hours, check temperature, imagine how much that will cost.

The way online exams are being administered around the world right now, requiring 2 cameras filming exam-takers, full screen access by proctors, and 3 videos per student to document what exactly happened during each individual exam sitting, should be a fair example (tip of the iceberg) of how remote work in this profession is about to unroll. Say hello to technical issues.

It is kind of obvious that the remote office may remain the only viable office

After having spent at least two weeks rearranging my physical office space, you know those two decisive walls that the whole world suddenly has access to, I’ve spent half of past week with Adobe, Google, and other usual friends remotely accessing my computer to fix bugs, because new tech issues arise every time you update an app. I’ve learned so much about my own OS just by observing tech support do stuff inside. For hours. At times, we fight for mouse control, because I have more efficient ways to access certain features. If something messes up, we retrieve downgraded versions from TimeMachine and start over again. Time travel has its own way to reveal stuff you had completely forgotten about. And then a whole afternoon is gone. You still have to work past midnight to catch up on actual work.

Tech issues are the new normal. Everybody is learning.

Unless it is beginner luck, technical issues on remote platforms are the norm rather than an exception. It is important to give options for technical support whenever you require people to work or sit an exam remotely.

Exams are guaranteed to be filled with bugs

How many equipment checks and simulations did you perform before rolling out your actual event or exam? If the answer is none, then you can safely postpone and start over.

Simulated exams act weird, too

I was on Emond’s platform this week to answer two sets of 220 questions, barrister exam went perfectly fine, solicitor on the other hand was a mild disaster… You can’t answer 220 questions without a break, so after a 100 questions, you stop the timer and do lunch or lie down and stare in space to recollect your brain. After I returned from break, I logged back into the system to find that 25 of my answers were completely lost, from Q105 where I left off I was sent back to Q80 and what’s even freakier, the timer was running the whole time while I was logged out. Never seen anything like this before. I literally cried for 30 seconds while contacting support. This wasn’t even a real exam.

Bugs are not intentional, but they’re likely to occur. If there are none, fantastic.

I managed to complete the simulated solicitor exam. I could go quite rapidly through the 25 lost questions, because I had already worked with the facts and deliberated on the answers. Another detail I terribly missed is a highlighter tool. Without one you stare at the facts and commit to memory all the facts and complex interactions.

Surprisingly I passed both, what is even more surprising is that I performed better at solicitor, the exam that made me suffer the most, and I was certain to fail. My brain feels as if it ran a marathon.

You may ignore data, but data won’t ignore you

Do you even know how many apps share your clients confidential information with 3rd party apps, simply because you were too lazy to opt out in the thousand different ways you were supposed to? It is likely you didn’t know you had to opt out, because it is not common knowledge. Did you buy work phones and work computers for all your remote employees? If not you may stumble upon some PIPEDA issues such as inadvertent sharing of confidential information.