I have always been grateful for the professionalism and integrity of Schneider Electric’s electrician partners as they serve customers with expertise and courtesy. Now, with the challenges electricians face on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, my admiration for them has grown. Around the world, from sparkies in Australia and contractors in the United States to artisans electriciens in France and elektrikers in Sweden, they continue to power our lives.
The coronavirus has prompted legions of people to work from home. In the United States, 66% of employees are currently doing so for at least part of the week; globally, 88% of organizations have encouraged or required their employees to work from home and 91% of teams in Asia Pacific have implemented “work from home” arrangements since the outbreak., As a result, our electrician partners have been busy making residential installations and, more often, emergency repairs. Thanks to them, laptops are charged, Zoom and WebEx meetings are convening, and people are finding new ways to get projects done.
At the same time, with school closings affecting more than 1.2 billion children in 186 countries, electricians are helping to make remote learning possible for students. What’s more, they are ensuring power is available for everyday household conveniences, including internet connections, televisions, dishwashers, refrigerators, washing machines and dryers, and more.
Working in the new normal
Our electrician partners are also helping to provide power to office buildings, critical care facilities, utilities, and municipal agencies. Not that it’s an easy job – far from it, especially these days.
In addition to the regular demands of their trade, electricians now have to contend with new, virus-related business requirements, including monitoring themselves and their teams for symptoms; investing in and wearing personal protective gear while they work; and wiping down all surfaces with disinfectant after jobs are completed, just to name a few.
Reports from the field
Via social media, our electrician partners have shared glimpses of their “new normal” with us. It is amazing to see how agile and adaptable they have been in addressing their customers’ safety concerns while also ensuring the safety of their employees. Here’s a sampling:
- “I had my first job where the customer sprayed disinfectant on the bottom of my shoes.”
- “We’re providing individual towels, masks, handwash, etc. to all the guys.”
- “We’re mainly fixing stuff, so lots of little jobs every day (50 or so).”
And then there was the heartwarming report from an electrician who was midway through an installation for an elderly woman suffering from dementia when his government issued a stay-at-home order. Believing in good conscience that he couldn’t abandon the project with the work half-done, especially given his customer’s circumstance, he kept at the job and finished by week’s end. The woman was able to return home from her daughter’s place, where she had been staying in one room, where she resumed her familiar daily routines, now with a new bathroom, a safe electrical installation, and an efficient new heating system.
Making the most of downtime
Still, the onset of COVID-19 prompted the postponement of many electrical jobs. When that occurred, Schneider Electric teams around the world reacted swiftly to help our electrician partners make the most of their downtime by up-skilling through online learning opportunities covering a variety of topics, including:
- How to sell smart home solutions more effectively
- Designing your website to connect to more customers
- Keys to landing more projects in the renovation market
- How to ensure power continuity for your customers’ appliances with UPS devices
- Preparing your business for the restart by improving your visibility on Google
- Keeping up to date on norms and regulations
As shelter-at-home orders have escalated during the pandemic, participation in Schneider Electric’s various learning offerings has grown significantly. The number of electricians using our digital tools has increased by 67%. Five times as many partners are participating in our webinars. And when we launched a podcast for electricians in the United Kingdom, it was ranked in the Top 40 New Business Apps by Apple.
For our electrician partners, the time invested in learning and acquiring new skills will no doubt pay off in the future.
With the gradual re-opening of economies worldwide, all of us at Schneider Electric salute our electrician partners and thank them for their professionalism. We stand by them in good times and bad, and look forward to continuing to team with them, to our mutual benefit.