Klaus vom Hofe


Noon is the new prime time

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Visitors were banned from Deutsche Telekom's network management center in Bamberg weeks ago. In the interim, the employee workplaces are now nearly empty, too. Harald Metzner is one of the few people still holding down the fort inside the building. In this episode of our series "We are there for you", he explains how they keep things running smoothly anyway. 

Bamberg network management center.

Only a few employees sit in front of the large monitor at the Bamberg network management center.

Harald Metzner: "Normally we'll have 35 colleagues sitting here in front of the large screen. They monitor the fiber-optic cable network, the transmission equipment, special international corporate customer networks, and the internet platform. In early March, we switched to a 50:50 system. That means half the employees – the ones with longer commutes or young children – have been working at home since then. After the government implemented tougher measures, everyone began working from home, aside from the few exceptions you see here: our 'skeleton crew' is based largely on occupational safety requirements. For instance, an employee can never be here alone, due to safety concerns

Open-plan office

The employees are working from home. Their monitors have temporarily relocated, too.

Our open-plan office isn't just empty; it looks like it's been gutted, too. That's because we let the employees who don't have access to large screens at home take their office monitors home with them. We had already equipped all the colleagues with notebook PCs some time ago, so they could do their work from home in an emergency. But it's clear that they don't have the big picture they’d get from our giant screen here. That requires a bit more coordination effort, but we've created the communication channels to handle that. If you want to get some fresh air, for example, you report it on Jabber and someone else will take over.

Core network manager Maik Schönherr.

Core network manager Maik Schönherr.

Our core network manager Maik Schönherr in his living room at home. We have our dailies to make sure our 'homies' don't go stir crazy. We all hold a video conference to make sure everyone is doing okay. We haven't changed our shift schedules. Everything has pretty much stayed the same, although the night shifts are working from home, too, of course.

Harald Metzner in the empty office.

Harald Metzner in the empty office.

A manager who makes decisions has to be on location, of course. I currently have this function. It's a bit of a lonely existence – as you can see – but I'm doing fine. The network is stable. We don't have any particular outages. But it's interesting to see how loads have shifted. Our classic prime time is usually around 8 p.m., when everyone's in front of their TV sets or computers. Right now that already starts at around noon."

Working at heights of up to 100 meters to ensure the best possible connections.

How we keep important work going

DT employees ensure that networks, service and connections remain stable during the Corona crisis.