While many of us have been adapting to home working, a dedicated team has continued to work on campus to ensure the security of buildings, support students who remain in halls and to provide the equipment necessary to facilitate distance working and learning.
We take a look at some of those keeping campus going – starting with Graeme Euington and David Cruickshank from the Digital and Information Services Team – and their special helper Bella.
David is keeping more than 3,000 desktop devices that are being used for remote access going so that staff and PGRs can continue their work at home.
He is also troubleshooting issues that cannot be resolved remotely and dealing with laptops with connectivity and hardware issues.
Graeme (G) is facilitating hardware requests and repairs for our University community - all assisted by his two-year-old Border Collie, Bella, whose favourite task is the unboxing of new equipment as it comes in!
Global restrictions on movement have meant they have needed to be creative in supplying equipment to new staff who have not had the opportunity to relocate to Aberdeen yet but they have managed to get physical equipment out to people across the UK and been able to provide resources for those outwith the UK that they can access remotely.
They are also enrolling the idle classroom PCs into a computing cluster working on COVID-19 projects.
The pair say that coming onto campus during lockdown has given them new perspective – and new views – of both King’s and Foresterhill and walking Bella has meant G has explored areas he hadn’t previously visited.
They are also going the extra mile to keep the University’s many abandoned indoor plants alive by giving them water in any of the offices they are required to enter.
Project work also continues at pace such as assisting in the running of a Microsoft Teams Live event with less than one day of advanced access to the tool and the roll out of Multi Factor Authentication.
David said: “I’ve had a few people say how lucky I am still being on campus but it can be strange sometimes going days without speaking to someone in person or sitting in a canteen with a tea on your own.
“It’s not all negative though; there are plenty of car parking spaces, no queues for a cup of tea and if noise at SDRL was an issue for you then this is bliss! I would just like to end with a thank you to all the security and porter staff who have helped support me in accessing locations as well as running a drop-off and collection service.”
G added: “Operating on campus whilst adhering to social distancing guidelines has kind of become second nature. The regular use of gloves, face coverings and regular cleansing has become so integral to how I am working onsite that I don’t realise I am doing it. Especially after you get used to typing with gloves on!
“With working for long periods of time in isolation on campus, checking in and out with Security when coming on and going off site has become the norm, although it felt very odd for the first few times. Using the Safezone app on my phone has also been something new that I have incorporated into my ‘normal’ working practices whilst onsite.
“We are very thankful to the University community at large – and particularly the security team - for the patience they have afforded us during this strange and unique time. The messages of thanks and gratitude is warmly received and appreciated.”
Desktop manager Ian Rowley said: “They have both worked tirelessly to continue to provide a first-class service in extremely difficult times, especially in sourcing and repairing equipment, often with innovative and imaginative solutions to some esoteric requests.
“Normally working as part of larger teams they have both adapted to lone working on site with grace and good humour.”