Working in the Field During Coronavirus
BRCK’s field team plays an essential role in keeping Moja WiFi up and running and our customers happy and online. On most days, we're spread out across different cities and towns, providing maintenance to our equipment in matatus and at fixed sites. We are continuously problem solving as unexpected challenges arise. We are used to workdays full of variety, personal interactions, and enjoy the buzz and energy in the field. It keeps us fit, energetic, and cheerful. But working in the field during Coronavirus means that things have looked a little different lately. [caption id="attachment_11055" align="aligncenter" width="770"] The field team prior to the restrictions.[/caption]
COVID-19 in KenyaKenya announced its first case of COVID-19 on 12th March, several months after the beginning of the outbreak in China. We had to first internalise the whole situation and strategize a way forward for field operations. Being on the frontlines, where our daily routines involve interacting with people, there were quite a few things to consider. Before the pandemic, our operations included daily visits to fixed and mobile spots, with one-on-one interactions with drivers, agents, and users. Field techs would move freely in town, fixing and maintaining WiFi devices. At lunch hour, we would meet up at our favourite joint while planning out the rest of the day. This free movement gave us the flexibility to repair equipment and address issues as they arose. Overnight, this had to change immediately to prevent the possible spread of the virus.
Safety MeasuresAt this point, in line with government regulations, field operations are continuing - but with some significant changes. To flatten the curve, we are taking the following measures:
- Practising social distancing. To avoid the use of public transport, one person picks each tech from their homes and also practises caution while in the vehicle. When off duty, we stay at home. We avoid crowded areas and only operate in designated areas with minimal interference where we can observe social distancing. On the mobile network, we no longer move to bus stops and stages. Instead, we contact the individual drivers and meet at identified parking areas that are not crowded.
- Cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects. We use disinfectants to clean hand tools and equipment used on site. Prior to touching any agent-owned or site infrastructure, we spray or wipe down using a disinfectant. Regularly washing our overalls and dust coats, we make sure our work vehicles are kept clean and well ventilated. We regularly clean the commonly touched surfaces with a disinfectant.
- Practising hand hygiene by thoroughly washing hands using soap and water and/or using a hand sanitizer regularly, especially after maintenance at a site or a matatu.
- Wearing protective gear such as gloves, face masks, and safety glasses.
- Using good judgement. This includes avoiding the sharing of phones or other work tools and equipment, reminding others on the precautions to flatten the curve, and observing the government curfew.