Firstom – A Lockdown Journey
March 23rd 2020 seems a lifetime ago, but it is a date that shifted the way we live and work dramatically as I am sure you will have all experienced at varying levels.
Getting the news from the government that everyone had to lockdown, stay indoors and work at home was a dramatic shift in what we then considered the ‘normal’ way of working. Wholly necessary in light of the proposed risk to family, friends and colleagues alike, but also set the stage for what is now considered the ‘new normal’ making telecommunications integral to keeping people connected and making work-life for people at home as amenable as possible.
The telecommunications industry is all about people staying connected, so for us and our customers how we reacted to lockdown would have massive implications. This is where Firstcom steps in. Home working or at least the ability to do so is something we have been shouting from the rooftops for a long time; the flexibility it gives you, increased leisure time and time with family, less commuting are just a few benefits of home working. More importantly, it’s keeping you safe, too.
We reduced our office to only skeleton staff and sent our army of home/keyworkers out to battle. Within a matter of hours, we were a fully functioning telecoms company still able to look after our 7000 plus customers from the safety of our homes. Working collaboratively has always been an effective tool which, on paper, seems impossible if you are working from home. It’s something we endeavour to do with all of our customers and colleagues alike to develop, not as only as a company, but as people, too. This was made a real possibility with our own Universe hosted platform and the technical expertise of our support guys who have the knowledge to get the most from this adaptable technology. Our proactive approach meant that we offered temporary homeworking solutions to our client base. This is how we did it…
There are two solutions that would work in this instance, one being a divert (quick fix) and the other would be replicating your desk phone and feature set at any location. Although the divert is a solution that on paper “works” it does have its limitations. Let’s say for example you are on a call that is sent through using a divert onto a given number (office landline to mobile) and you wanted to manipulate that call (like you would in an office environment) for example, transferring to a colleague, this isn’t made easy. However, if you were to use an IP handset on our Universe platform, simply plug into your broadband (at home) and you have a fully functioning handset as if you were sat at your desk. An example of how this works is how you could have members of staff dotted around the UK at home, answering calls on the office main number, handling multiple calls, holding and transferring and making internal calls between each other; essentially simulating a real office environment but from the comfort of your own home. It really is that simple!
Another feature of the Universe platform is the built-in video conferencing function, ‘Meeting Space’. This was a seamless experience that enabled us to frequently meet (in the virtual sense), undertake demonstrations and presentations and most importantly, kept us connected as we would have previously done in the boardroom, but online. Meeting Space successfully keeps everybody in the loop.
Historically we have always reached out to new potential customers via face to face meetings, this now feels like a thing of the past (although we are still seeing customers). Luckily with the Universe platform we are able to conduct any demonstrations via video and we have seen a great deal of interest in business’ looking to invest in such technology to make way for a more forward thinking business model, that assists staff and customers alike in keeping connected in a simple manner.
Lockdown as we have touched upon here has been unprecedented for many. Our staff sharing positive thoughts and encouragement really helped us all get through the testing times. Here are a few stories from Firstcom staff that helped get us through it.
Our sales account manager Lyndsey Jackson runs “more than” a marathon!
After training for 6 months and being the competitive type anyway, Lyndsey Jackson has always wanted to cross the dreaded marathon off her bucket list. When the Bolton marathon was announced for May this year, she saw a good opportunity to compete in her hometown.
Then came Covid-19 putting all her plans into jeopardy, or you would think. Alas, no! Alongside her friend, Jenny Diggle, Lyndsey completed a mammoth 29.86 mile run in an impressive 6 hours 47 minutes to soften the blow of not being able to compete in the race. Not only did the pair manage to raise £200 for Macmillan Cancer, they are now planning to run the original marathon when its hopefully rescheduled in 2021.
Long serving sales executive Jordan Crompton welcomes son Teddy!
Obviously, March 2020 was a difficult month to welcome a new baby to the world. A new baby during lockdown was not ideal what with all the lockdown restrictions in place; seeing family, sadly, wasn’t an option. All that said, Jordan welcomed young Teddy into the world during lockdown and showed off his new pride and joy to his friends and family through the window of his conservatory.