Earlier this year, Sunco Communication and Installation Ltd. (Sunco) decided to send all employees home to work remotely and test connectivity and streamlined operations for all stakeholders. Fast forward to the middle of March and the test is near reality. As our CEO, Mike Schoenberger communicated, “we needed to know, as a business, could we keep our employees safe, and still run an efficient operation if we could not be in the office.”
We are a telecommunications company, specializing in…. well… communication tools! The technology was already in place, it was just being able to use the technology efficiently. It was a true test to one of our core values – “We embrace change.”
We nailed the technical aspects of our test – there were minor hiccups, but overall, we did not miss a beat. The emotional aspects, personal, missed comradery, and the overall ‘surprise’ were the main points to consider.
How did we do it?
We have all the Mitel tools to work remotely and stay connected, including MiTeams conferencing, MiCollab collaboration tools, and phones that can work from anywhere!
Our reception physically packed up the 6930 Mitel phone system, plugged it in at home and transferred calls to employees directly. Employees had either a Mitel 6900 series phone, or a hot desk function to their cell phone to continue their work. Our Senior Sales Engineer said, “I used both the Audio & Web Conferencing and the video. I could not be bothered with the softphone and a headset. I brought my Mitel S720 Bluetooth home with me as it provides even better audio quality on conference calls then the physical phone.” Telecom Engineers took dispatch tickets from their laptops and used MiCollab collaboration tools in chat groups to ensure projects were updated in a timely manner.
What were the major concerns?
Productivity. Some staff gave feedback that they “felt bad” they would not be as effective at home. Other concerns that were brought up were that they didn’t have as many monitors, the internet is not as reliable, and there were family distractions. They felt more productive with other staff to “bounce ideas off of” and cross-training. This is where we learnt we needed more chat groups and casual MiTeams forums to discuss our days, and peaks and pits of the operations during the shift. One change we are considering is a virtual break room/lunchroom, where you can update on your day and take a coffee break with your fellow employees.
Our biggest win
People noticed you don’t always need to e-mail, or you can consolidate e-mails, and that you can have a quick chat or call to avoid an overwhelming amount of incoming mail in your Outlook inbox.
Our biggest takeaway
Don’t forget about the social aspects. Have communities, chat groups, virtual social committees, and calls that incorporate support and some companionship.
“Working remotely is not a trend, it is here to stay… the workforce has, and is, shifting towards work-from-anywhere models to ensure employees are safe, provide better customer support, recruit better talent, and save operating/office costs.” – Director of Operations