April 2020

Read how Mark Barnes, Project Manager at dB Broadcast, is coping with remote working.

08:30 I am currently working from my home office as we’re three weeks into the national coronavirus lockdown. dB Broadcast was quick to respond to Government advice to close offices wherever possible, and almost all of our workforce is now away from the HQ buildings. Actually, it’s not too much of a change for many of the team, as they are often working remotely at client site offices, and so they’re well equipped for mobile operation. I start with one of our regular internal Skype calls with the dB Engineering team.

Our factory is still operating with a skeleton crew, and it’s a good time to make progress with design, commercial procurement and remote testing and configuration, ready for a fast start and accelerated deployment when access to customer sites is available once again.

Our new HQ is planned to be finalised this year, so we’re eagerly awaiting news of the timescales on that.

09:00 I am managing three projects at present, and I begin work on the first: a three year major broadcast infrastructure project that is nearing completion, and involves work at all of the UK’s transmitter sites. We are maintaining bi-weekly update calls with our customer using Microsoft Teams for audio and video conferencing. I’m happy that we’ve done a great job, and the client is impressed with the flexibility that dB has shown as plans have been adjusted over the life of the project.

10:30 The rest of the morning is spent finalising a quarterly report for our customer to confirm our financial prudence in monitoring and controlling project costs so that we are able demonstrate that we have delivered value for money.

13:00 As I’m at home, lunch is easy to arrange, and it’s nice to be able to take it with the family in the garden. With three children and my wife also at home, I’m lucky to have my own work space when needed!

13:45 I next have some work to do on another project, one that is in the support phase. It’s for the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. I have a scheduled meeting with the customer and a key supplier – this time by Zoom – for an update. We normally have at least one call a week.

15:00 My third piece of work today is on a confidential multinational project. dB is managing the installation of IP-based remote production workspaces, and as Project Manager I am responsible for two European sites. I make a call to our Production Manager in the factory to check progress on the prefabrication of equipment for these sites.

Typically, I have video calls with our design engineers, suppliers and our wider project teams – as many as 10-12 people on a call at once.

Today I need to clarify some of the high level design requirements with the customer to ensure that our implementation meets their requirements, and liaise with our design engineers to produce the corresponding detailed designs. I also track spend against budgets, and produce Bills Of Materials for procurement. I will need to authorise some equipment purchases which I can do remotely through dB’s custom ‘Magpie’ database system for equipment and materials management.

16:00 Working from home can be very efficient with fewer interruptions, and I’ve embarked on some personal skills development, enrolling on a Microsoft Project Advanced course. Several dB clients use this tool and it will be useful for me to be able to use it to a high standard on future dB projects!

18:00 My last activity for the day is a final check through emails, responding to a few urgent ones immediately, and scheduling when I’ll get to the rest.