Remote Working Stories #1 | The one with the broken back

Posted: 13th Mar 2020
When a sunny Sunday went pear shaped, it was only Martin’s back that was broken, not his productivity.

A little about me

Hi. I’m Martin, and I work in the marketing team at Atlas Cloud. I’m a Newcastle United sufferer fan and a keen badminton player. I say keen, more frustrated at the moment; I’ve not played for almost 2 years. But I’m targeting a May return following ACL surgery so wish me luck.

I’m going to kick off our new remote working stories feature with my tale of a broken back (slight exaggeration) and an unbreakable commitment to marketing duty, enabled of course by Atlas Cloud’s remote working technology.

One lazy Sunday afternoon…

Our tale starts on a sunny Sunday afternoon in a leafy Newcastle suburb. The kids and I were visiting my dear mum and stepfather for a spot of lunch. Upon retiring to the sofa post-nourishment, I suddenly felt a dull ache in my back and, when I stood up to try and stretch it out, my back locked and I was left in excruciating pain. After eventually returning to an upright position I paced the floor for about half an hour until I was just about loose enough to shimmy into the car and be driven home. Bear with me, there is a point to all this.

The next day I gently rocked myself out of bed and peeled back the curtains to be greeted by the first significant snow of the year. I was supposed to be at work, but I wasn’t exactly feeling up to the commute. The idea of being sat in a car or on public transport for any length of time filled me with dread. I envisioned needing to be crane lifted out sideways after slipping into 5th gear and slipping a disc in the process. Besides that, driving through 2 inches of snow really did seem like the straw to break the camel’s back. And I knew that in this story, I was most definitely the camel.

How do you solve a problem like back pain?

By this point I was really starting to get the hump (sorry couldn’t resist) and I knew that the only way I was going to make quick progress with my back issues was with a trip to my friend Bruce, the chiropractor. The problem was, Bruce was stuck in the snow and I wouldn’t be able to get an appointment until the next day. Then I struck upon a great idea; I couldn’t sit down for more than a minute at a time, but standing up was no problem at all. The solution? A standing desk.

There was only one teeny, tiny problem… I didn’t have a standing desk. Not to be deterred, I put my super-creative marketing brain to work and trawled the house for inspiration. A kitchen bench, a lovely oak shelf, and an exercise step later, my new workstation was ready for business.

A picture of a makeshift laptop workstation using a kitchen bench, an exercise step and an oak shelf.
My makeshift, yet entirely functional, standing up desk.
I was up and running, well I was up anyway, and having completed a new partnerships brochure I was glad to be contributing again. But of course, none of this would be possible without my Atlas Cloud hosted desktop (shameless plug, I’m not sorry). Read on to find out why.

Hosted desktop to the rescue

The biggest problem with my new setup was that that I was stuck using my own brick of a laptop. It really is a useless piece of [INSERT YOUR PREFERRED EXPLETIVE]. However, when I connect it to my hosted desktop, it becomes a machine transformed. Suddenly I can run resource-hungry design packages that would ordinarily leave my laptop on its knees. Believe me, completing a 12-page brochure on this brick feels like winning the Monaco Grand Prix on a milk truck.

Another thing worth noting is that not all hosted desktops are created equal. My new upright setup simply wouldn’t work with any old desktop. The reason? One-part brick walls, one-part rubbish internet, and the final part rubbish router with even worse wireless signal. This lethal combination means that connectivity is extremely poor right where you see my laptop sat in the picture above. In fact, it’s so bad that I can’t really use the browser on the laptop itself to surf the internet. It takes an absolute age and it keeps cutting out. However, when I connect to my hosted desktop, this problem just disappears. How is this possible you ask?

"Not all hosted desktops are created equal."

Martin Sharpe - Atlas Cloud

Basically, the thing you need to know about Atlas Cloud hosted desktops is that they run on Citrix Virtual Desktop technology. That may not mean anything to you, but suffice to say that when it comes to connecting to virtual desktops (or hosted desktops as we refer to them) Citrix has got it absolutely nailed. Their receiver application is so low latency that you can connect to your hosted desktop on a train using your phone as a 3G hotspot if you want. And I can even connect to my hosted desktop in my kitchen without the dropout issues I experience when surfing outside of the cloud. So here I am working from home, smoothly running resource-hungry design applications on a threadbare internet connection. It shouldn’t be possible, but somehow, both magically and mercifully, it is.

The moral of the story

Never underestimate just how much enabling remote working in your organisation can positively impact both your business and your people. If this post-Sunday lunch disaster had happened in a different organisation it could have been a real problem. I could have been laid off for weeks, adversely affecting the productivity of my team. As it was, by having the right technology in place, I was able to work on any old device, with access to role critical applications, from a somewhat random location, and with a shockingly poor internet connection.

I’d rather not work from home personally, I actually much prefer the banter of the office. But, while this was an episode of home working that I’d rather not have needed, I was certainly thankful for the option. Plus, as it turned out, it was great practice for being forced to work from home due to the dreaded Coronavirus.

If this blog has piqued your interest in hosted desktops, then I’d heartily recommend you read my ‘5 reasons why I love hosted desktops‘ blog from last year. It’s absolutely riveting, I assure you. Alternatively, click the button below to see how Atlas Cloud can provide a full remote working solution for your team in as little as a week and from only £25 per person per month. If you’d like to talk to one of our specialists right away, please call our remote working hotline on 0191 250 5222 and we’ll be happy to help.

About The Author

Martin is a keen badminton player and Newcastle United supporter (for his sins). Outside of sport he loves spending time with his wife and two young children; usually watching copious amounts of Hey Duggee and building masterpieces out of Lego.

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