A few weeks ago, OnlineNW completed a large-scale fiber construction project throughout the entire city of Willamina, making it the second fiber city in Yamhill County. As we celebrated the hard work of our fiber team and began to set sights on our plans for the future, we realized we would have to quickly shift our focus to account for the vast changes taking place around us as a result of the COVID-19 threat, also known as the Coronavirus.
Internally, we observed the effects of the virus as new health precautions were set in place in local businesses, schools and communities. Then we quickly launched a new operations model starting with the question; “How can we make this work at OnlineNW?”
As of today, OnlineNW operates almost entirely remotely with the exception of the field tech crew and fiber construction crew. Person-to-person contact has been greatly limited and because of those restrictions, our teams have had to creatively innovate new solutions to these problems — and fast.
Our NOG (Network Operations) team was a key part of this moving process. Performing tasks such as helping a customer adjust their own wireless receiver while reading them signals over the phone, to developing a remote form of customer interaction for all departments, has given our company a unique perspective on remote work as well as a better understanding of our capabilities as a team. Last week, NOG spent most of their time assisting OnlineNW staff to get their home offices set up, while simultaneously helping many of our business customers do the same thing. “It was a little bit hectic,” acknowledged Duncan, our Network Operations Admin. He explained that while last week was fast-paced, this week has given the team a chance to slow down and take it day by day. Between adjusting to a new home working environment, troubleshooting with online meeting tools and continuing to offer customer support, he says that it has challenged the whole team to reassess all of their remote processes for now and for the future.
With eyes set on the uncertain future of the community’s quarantine procedures, Duncan says; “It is a little bit sad,” reflecting on the new daily meeting dynamic and being away from his coworkers. But at the same time, he expressed that these large shifts are changing the way that businesses and communities support each other, which will create stronger and more reliable emergency procedures in the long run.
While the near future is unpredictable in our community and the world outside, we are dedicated to our customers as well as upholding our company values. As we continue to gain a better understanding of the situation, we are cultivating a flexible support system and continuing to deliver our services to you, while doing our part to keep our staff and community safe and connected.