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14 March, 2020 - 08:38 By Tony Quested

Home guard: Cambridge tech army closes ranks to fight coronavirus

Some of the greatest companies in the Cambridge UK technology pantheon have sidestepped government inaction in a bid to protect staff from the potentially fatal coronavirus.

A powerful cohort of businesses have either banned visitors from their premises or ordered staff to work from home until further notice. Anyone regarded as high risk is being given no choice but to self isolate, Business Weekly understands.

Reliably sourced data supplied to Business Weekly today (Friday) suggests that our best tekkies are leveraging technology to work smart – and safe.
Our bulletin suggests that:-

  • Redgate Software has kept its office open but that employees are working from home from Monday for the foreseeable future 
  • UltraSoc has temporarily closed its St John’s Innovation Centre offices and all its people are working from home for the foreseeable future
  • Napp Pharmaceuticals has reportedly shut its Cambridge Science Park offices to visitors but staff continue working from the HQ. PA Consulting is said to have followed that model
  • All Amazon office-based employees locally are reportedly working from home, ditto Arm staff although the superchip architect tells Business Weekly that all its offices remain open.
  • Videogames ace Frontier Developments is said to be reinforcing its homeworking technology to allow staff to work from home
  • Qualcomm has apparently given all employees the option to work from home but anyone regarded as high risk is not being given the choice
  • Roku Europe, based at the Science Park, has reportedly given all its people the option to work from home but there is talk that this will become mandatory next week

One technology cluster source told Business Weekly that the template being deployed in the current crisis might have a lasting legacy.

They said: “Our tech companies have the tools needed to work smart and are not constrained by bricks and mortar. Many tasks can be carried out remotely.

“Better to have staff at home maximising their time and technology than sitting for ages on a congested A14 and other routes. If the coronavirus lasts for weeks or months employers are bound to look at whether the current arrangements represent a more sustainable and cost-effective model for future working practice.”

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