remote work

ONE telecommunications company is planning for an increase in traffic on both their full fibre and mobile networks in Trinidad and across the Caribbean as more and more companies are allowing their employees to work from home via technology amidst the deadly COVID-19 outbreak.

Liam Donnelly, general manager of Digicel Business, made the revelation at the American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM T&T) webinar, on Monday on Technology and Navigating the Pandemic.

Donnelly said all Digicel staff are enabled to work remotely, which includes the 140-plus call centre agents.

“We are planning for a 40 per cent increase in traffic on both our full fibre and mobile networks in Trinidad and across the Caribbean. Our core and transmission networks have sufficient capacity to handle the growth and we have engineers monitoring growth daily.”

He said Digicel has a full comprehensive plan which includes:

•Full operational plan in place to ensure customers can be connected and any faults can be addressed.

•Flexibility on payments and maintaining services over past payment due date

•Notifying customers of our support readiness and resilience

•Providing technology such as MiFi devices, Collaboration tools and Conferencing tools across current platforms

•Official commitment letter to Government and actively working with regulator & partners on giving more to our customers with no additional costs.

Also giving his input in the webinar was chief executive officer of Massy Technologies InfoCom, Ian John, who said all employers must engage in proper education and awareness on the virus to disseminate to employees.

John said with regard to technology, businesses, in preparing for any possible outbreak should consider the following:

•Support resource requirements of alternative work strategy for critical functions, investigating possible additional options of technology services

•Expand teleconferencing capabilities within corporate facilities as well as remote locations as an alternative to travel

•Initiate and be prepared to support a virtual emergency operations centre.

•Ensure phone system has capability to transfer high numbers of calls to employees (e.g., call centres) in different locations.

In terms of implementing policies and procedures in light of a possible outbreak, John said employers must develop policies and procedures that will make it safer for employees to come to work, especially regarding hygiene practices following an outbreak of the disease.

Also, limited contact with the public and/or customers and vendors through changes in receiving practices, barriers or distance.

A question was asked to the panel on whether public servants benefit from the work-from-home policy, as in the public service most of the work is manual.

AMCHAM CEO Nirad Tewarie said unfortunately not all jobs are suited for remote work, but it is something that can be worked on in time to come.

Tewarie also highlighted the fact that when this pandemic is over the world will experience a much “deeper recession” and it’s against this background, he said, T&T government must act quickly and put proper measures in place, which will be good for business and making people lives easier.

“We are going to have to attract investment, the competition for reduce resources, is going to be greater and therefore we need to start thinking not just now, but beyond as a country and as a business community interacting with the government.”

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