Across One Manchester, different teams have been coming together to ensure that we can continue to provide key services to our customers and to support our colleagues through any challenges.
Our contact centre is now working from home and is fully operational, and in less than three days we completed a proof of concept for softphone deployment, and procured and configured laptops, headsets and monitors.
We also deployed a further 70 softphones to establish an emergency service for vulnerable customers and have provided training for colleagues beyond the contact centre so they’re able to help with calling customers.
To further support our customers, within just 24 hours we re-designed and configured our housing system’s classification and workflow processes to identify, support and manage Covid-19 contact activities.
All of our colleagues who can work from home are now doing so in a fully operational way. Before lockdown, we had deployed Microsoft Teams on a pilot basis. However, the lockdown forced us to accelerate the roll out of Teams. We have now fully rolled the programme out to the entire at-home workforce on multiple platforms including Chromebooks, laptops, Surface Pros, mobiles and tablets.
We procured, tested and provisioned around 60 Chromebooks to convert colleagues into home workers within the first week of lockdown by adapting our remote desktop and application publishing infrastructure.
Throughout these challenging times, the One Manchester IT team has been supporting colleagues. We have established an ongoing logistical operation to equip colleagues to work from home safely, including remote new-starter inductions, and the direct delivery of equipment from suppliers.
We’ve also been using technology to support our colleagues’ health and wellbeing, using Teams, our intranet, our wellbeing challenges which incorporate fitness trackers and electronic surveys to check on welfare, share activities for children and even start a new fitness challenge.
As with many housing providers, the technology, processes and programmes now in place were on our roadmap, but the lockdown has forced us to deploy and implement things much sooner than anticipated.
In terms of what lies ahead, One Manchester is looking at our future state and designing our programme to deliver more agile ways of working. Although we’re all currently working in uncertain situation, we see this as an opportunity to work smarter and embed innovation into our ‘new normal’.
John Cafferty is the head of IT at One Manchester.