Nathan Hardman, M247 Support Manager and his team look after our suite of connectivity products. Supporting customers with wireless radio technology, fibre and DSL circuit queries and pro-actively monitoring the network 24/7/365. We asked him what it was like for his team moving to a remote working environment.
How did your department transition to remote working?
We transitioned as quickly, smoothly and safely as we possibly could, this was completed in a staged approach which we felt would best suit our customers and colleagues. We transitioned the Line 3 engineers first (Friday), we then moved to Line 2 engineers a few days later (Tuesday), before finally moving the Line 1 team and Network Operating Centre (NOC) to home working (Thursday).
Given the importance of the NOC and support teams it was vital that there were no disruption or loss of service during the move to working from home, so transitioning our teams in stages allowed M247 to maintain the same level of service.
We made sure everyone was provided with the correct equipment to work from home including laptops and dual screens, plus desks and chairs where needed.
Finally, it was important the whole team has a live, current view of the network. Allowing them all to view the monitoring platform and continue to contact our customers pro-actively. This level of communication was a key focus during the transition but communicating internally via phone calls, Microsoft Teams and our own Unified Communication services was equally as vital for the teams.
How are your team working differently now, to before?
With the current situation the engineers are not able to talk to each other in person, but have taken full advantage of the Unified Communication products at our disposal; such as softphones and Microsoft Teams. These products have enabled the engineers to continue collaborating with each other when work on customers issues or requests.
What would be your standout highlight during the transition to remote working?
For me is just how easily the company, my team and myself have adapted to working from home and how easy this has become BAU for M247. The whole dynamic of the company has changed yet the experience to the customer is no different.
What if anything, would you change?
I can’t believe I am saying this but I miss the office so the one thing that I would change is to be able to go back into the office to see and speak to my team in person. We have a great team bond and that really shows when we are as a group in the office.
What has been the biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Although the company’s transition was seamless, the biggest challenge for me personally was getting used to working from home. I have spent most my working career in an office around people, so it was hard at the beginning. It became easier with support of my colleagues and my main priority was helping my team adapt to the change in working which in turn helped me.
What does a typical day look like that is different from before?
If I’m totally honest my day doesn’t look much different at all, because of the tools we have to complete our job it allows us to work like we do in the office. I start the day the same way with my cup of tea and then check in with the engineers just like I would if I was in the office.
How have M247 supported you during this time?
M247 have been fantastic, firstly in the fact they were ahead of the curve in making the decision to move to a working from home model. We already had the tools in place to allow this to be an easy transition but M247 have really put colleagues first. Encouraging people to take regular breaks, with regular communications from the CEO down, encouraging cross-team learning and collaboration, as well as ensuring the health and wellbeing of colleagues is the best it can be with support and advice on working from home and mental health awareness. I can honestly say I’m proud to work for a company that looks after its colleagues the way M247 do.
As a result of the current situation what do you think this will change in terms of how companies work flexibly in the future?
Yes absolutely, I don’t think anybody thought we would ever be in a situation like this and the way M247 and other companies have moved so quickly to home working and continued to operate just like they would if they were in an office is fantastic. This shows that business can operate a flexible environment for all colleagues.
Top tips and recommendations (can be books, Netflix etc)
Books – Lee Child – The Jack Reacher series I am on book 5/24, these are really gripping and great reads.
TV Series – Elementary (Amazon Prime) it is a modern-day Sherlock Homes and Dr Watson set in New York and each episode gets better.
Films – The best film I have watched recently is “A Few Good Men” it’s such a classic “You can’t handle the truth!”
Wine – I have certainly been sampling the different white wines that Aldi has to offer but my favourite now is the organic prosecco and goes down really well with a meat and cheese board 😊