A day in the life of a network tech during COVID-19

The last few months have required huge adjustments for our network techs in the field. From new elevator etiquette to replacing the receptionist candy dish with hand sanitizer, here’s how COVID-19 is changing our daily routines on the front lines as we keep customers connected.

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Network techs working during COVID-19

COVID-19 has turned everything upside down and inside out, and has caused most of us to work from home—creating an environment where even our pets may want to social distance.

At Allstream, our network field techs are still out in public enjoying the lighter vehicle traffic and geared up with much-needed PPE.

But this pandemic has provided us with many new phobias to be concerned about when entering office buildings—such as avoiding all possibilities of running into asymptomatic COVID-carrying humans and opting for the stairs rather than being trapped in an elevator with them. The receptionist candy dish has been replaced with a quart of hand sanitizer and multiple COVID-19 disclosure waivers.

But between the additional flights of stairs and lack of sweet tooth cures, both have been beneficial to our physical fitness—considering all the gym closures.

Adjusting to COVID-19

These last few months have been a huge adjustment for those in the field. Many of our customers aren’t able to put a face to our company until we arrive at their door. Now, wearing face masks, they can only guess our excitement level with heavy eye contact (which can be a bit awkward) and a muffled greeting.

But facial expressions while wearing a mask can be achieved with the eyebrows—all you have to do is watch a Jack Black or Jack Nicholson movie to see how it can be done.

Continued safety measures moving beyond this pandemic are going to be crucial, and we in field ops are prepared to help our customers while also staying safe.

New norms in the field

Our customers truly do appreciate the measures we’re taking to protect them while keeping their businesses rocking ’n rolling with the latest voice and data products.

While past norms like a simple confident handshake have fallen to the waist side (literally), this has not stopped our customers from taking the time to show their appreciation and write in specific praise for those in the field.

One customer recently wrote us to say that our field tech was prompt and professional—in fact, he was 30 minutes early: “​He was able to quickly test everything and we were able to track down the issue to our new firewall … I’m a little embarrassed to find out that this was our problem all along, but I really do appreciate your guy coming out. He was a huge help in tracking down the cause to our firewall.”

Also, during the same week as the government shutdown, Salt Lake City was hit with the biggest earthquake it’s seen in several decades, rocking the downtown area. At that time, one of our field techs was installing a new high-demand on-net dark fiber circuit for a business, but the building had to be evacuated.

Later that very day, the building was given the all-clear and our tech was able to successfully complete the install and cut-over for this very grateful business.

Moving forward

Moving forward, face-to-face contact with our customers is still essential, but we’ll continue to take all necessary precautions set forth by Allstream, state/provincial guidelines and CDC recommendations to keep everyone safe.

The COVID-19 questionnaires sent out to businesses are also beneficial for those of us in the field to make sure an environment is safe for repair or install dispatch.

Let’s all hope as we come out of our quarantine comas after binge-watching too many movies and TV shows that we don’t apply any Tiger King principles or mannerisms to our business routines.

Working together during this challenging time, our team has shown amazing work ethic, resilience and determination while we transition to the ‘new normal.’

Images: Jesussanz/iStock

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