When news of the four week lockdown was announced last Monday, Company-X directors Jeremy Hughes and David Hallett told their staff to pack up and work from home. Within 24 hours they held their first full staff meeting, online.
It was a seamless transition for the Hamilton-based software company, which since its creation in 2012, has allowed staff to work from home in what Mr Hallett said is a crucial part of the company's philosophy. Mr Hallett had already been self-isolating for a week, after returning from a holiday in Australia.
"We've embraced the philosophy of working from home since we founded the company in 2012, it's not a new norm for us, but it could be for different companies in the future," Mr Hallett said.
"It's helped us build a highly competent team of the best and brightest software specialists from around the world.
"We've got team members who work in Hamilton, the Greater Waikato, across New Zealand, in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States and Thailand."
Mr Hughes said it was a matter of making sure everyone had the necessary equipment before closing their Hamilton office doors.
"We told them to take whatever they needed home with them," Mr Hughes said.
"The following day we had our first full staff meeting via video conference on Google Hangouts."
Mr Hallett said that the company is also focusing on making sure their staff are still socialising, by organising a virtual happy hour on Google Hangouts.
"On the Friday we had a staff happy hour as well, because maintaining that social interaction is important. So we had about 40 people in a conference call all with their various drinks just chatting and it was so cool," Mr Hallett said.
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The company is now busier than ever helping firms across New Zealand, and the world, set-up to be able to work from home for the Covid-19 lockdown, and in general.
They have been working with various companies who are now interested in acquiring virtual reality technologies to their companies.
"A lot of companies are buying our RealWear kits, which are head mounted to do remote support for expensive machinery because they can't travel freely right now."
"They are using them to talk with someone who is on an essential service site and see what is happening from their office at home," Mr Hallett said.
The company also built a remote mentoring application for the Te Tamawai Trust, which operates The WaterBoy.
The organisation sets up businesses to help sponsor kids, who were unable to participate through no fault of their own, to take part in sport.
Mr Hallett said that working from home used to be the norm before the Industrial Revolution, when blacksmiths, doctors and many other professions and trades would operate out of their homes.
"It was only when the industrial age hit, and these big factories started pulling workers together did we start moving away from working at home and into these offices."
He said that New Zealand's infrastructure in terms of the internet is in a good spot, and the limitations would come from some rural zones, and people's home hardware.
Base router models that are provided by internet providers at times struggle with a large amount of internet traffic heading into it.
Company-X has provided a list of tools and software that they are using to work from home.
"As well as Google Hangouts Meet, G Suite also includes Gmail, Google Docs and Google Drive for business and enterprise.
"It's a low-cost entry to document editing and online collaboration for small businesses from one person upwards because you use your own domain for email. We started with this in 2012, and it has grown with Company-X whilst remaining a cost-effective solution."
The Microsoft's Office productivity suite, rebranded to Microsoft 365, is essential at Company-X for the creation of documents and collaboration among the team.
Microsoft 365 includes email client Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, SharePoint and document storage in OneDrive.
There's no need to run Exchange or SharePoint servers. You can purchase licenses to install the suite on desktops and laptops, but you don't have to, you can edit documents in the browser."
Company-X uses online chat program Slack for collaboration between its team members with different channels for every project.
"We use Slack because it's a de facto standard for developers, and others are playing catchup with features and the user interface."