A few weeks ago, I requested VPN access to the EA network and today was I was granted that. What that means is that I can now check my work e-mail away from the studio and using remote desktop, work from home. Having such access is a double-edged sword. While having VPN access allows you to respond to messages quickly, keeps you aware of potential issues even while away from work, and can make you more productive, no one can dispute that you’re essentially working more and doing so on your own time. The key to using this access properly is using it in a smart way. Some of the tasks I do on a near daily basis involve kicking off a build, which means my computer has to crunch away for several minutes as it constructs the latest version of the game. For the most part, I can’t do anything while this happens, so it’s not productive time. If can get this going before I head off to work, the build will be ready for me once I arrive at work. That’s just once example. Now I’m sure some of you out there are thinking I’m a fool for giving up that time where I can surf the Internet while my build is going.
I used to have VPN access at EA starting way back around 2007 or so. It was a bit different then. I was given a physical token generator which generated an authentication code every 60 seconds. I kept this thing on my key chain for years and only surrendered it when I got laid off in late 2010. This time around, the authentication code is now generated by an app that’s on my phone. It’s cheaper and more convenient to do it this way since you don’t have to hand out physical tokens anymore. It’s interesting how smartphones continue to make life easier(?).
Well, time to go check my work e-mail! 🙂