Today Sheffield saw the worse rainfall that it has experienced in years. The issue with Sheffield is, like Rome, it is built on seven hills and has the associated rivers and valleys running through it.
Our building is based in the City Centre just slightly up one of the hills, which is located at the meeting of all the main rivers in Sheffield. This means that when the rivers get dangerously high, the building is ok, but the ability for our staff to get to and from work is severely disrupted.
When the early shift came into work at 7am, no one had any idea of what was to come, it was raining but there was no indication that floods were on the way. Come 3pm we had some staff who lived locally with flooding at their homes, they went home and took action where they could and returned to work to service you, our customers.
Around 4pm the roads around the building became gridlocked with some cars not moving for up to one hour. Flooding at the bottom of our road created a round robin effect with the cars outside our office. Staff who were due to finish shift at 4pm, left and within 1 hour were back, they had made no progress and came back into work to sit it out! They stayed and continued to work tickets to help with the increase in volumes we were seeing to the support centre.
We had one guy needing to get home to York but was still at the office at 9pm this evening.
At 6pm things still weren’t any better and we had plenty staying in work to wait for things to clear, the TVs were giving us information on the problems throughout the city and especially in Rotherham. We also found some key websites which would help us all understand the issues out there and review our travels home based on this information.
At 7pm we sent out for pizza and side orders to feed the troops and build up the energy levels as some of our analyst had been working for 12 hours+ They had been away from home for longer than this so thanks to the ones working at the hut who stayed on to get our pizzas ready.
At 8pm the roads had cleared some, but the rain kept on coming down. I left and headed home on a 3 mile detour from a normal 4 mile trip, as it was all up hill and up the valleys I managed this in just under 30 mins. Luke one of the TSMs following on to be sure of a clear route home if possible, in a Plusnet convoy, you could call it contingency planning, or was it safety in numbers.
At 9pm it was identified that some staff were struggling to get in for nightshift, myself and Simon TSM on shift, decided to allow 1 Analyst to work from home, on a target of acheiving 130% of his usual issues, we would have some staff in overnight but decided to put a message on the phones politely explaining the situation and asking customers to raise a ticket if they could due to staffing problems.
Tomorrow brings a new day with new challenges, who and how many will be in work? What will be the fallout of the water damage on staffing? More importantly on volumes, as the BT network takes a hammering with all the water.
Sigh, another day another new challenge!
Ramble over, one of the many trials and tribulations of Support centre management