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Working From Home Journal #1 - What's It Like Being a Service Tech During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Working From Home Journal #1 - What's It Like Being a Service Tech During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

While the work-from-home situation isn’t a new phenomenon, it’s definitely happening at a scale that has never been seen before. So, while the majority of us are stuck at home, and performing our social distancing duties, we thought we could talk (remotely, of course) to one of the employees in the Cobb family every week during this world-wide event.

This week’s entry is from Billy Ju, a Field Service Technician.

I sat down with Billy on Friday, March 20th — me at my desk at home, and Billy out in the field still providing Cobb’s customers with the service they’ve come to expect from us. Normally, you always want to pretend that an interview took place in-person; but now, we tout how remote our communications are. How quickly things have changed — both large and small.

As someone who’s been cooped up in their house for almost a week now, I was probably a bit more curious about the goings-on of the state of businesses in the greater Richmond area than usual — but at this point, any news about the outside world that isn’t about the virus is good.

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Below, you’ll find my questions, and Billy’s answers:

What’s it like being a tech and out in the field right now?

So far it’s business as usual; we get out there and fix our clients equipment as efficiently as possible.

What changes has your job faced in the past week?

Access to locations is a bit harder — many clients are closed to visitors, or functioning with a minimum level of work staff. 

What precautions are you taking to combat the spread of COVID-19?

Good hygiene is paramount. Before working I wipe the entire copier/printer down with alcohol. I even wipe down equipment after I am done, to reduce anything I may be unknowingly carrying. I chose not to where gloves; rather just be aware of not touching my face and washing well after every service call.

I realized the other day that I use my forearm to push doors and my elbow to push elevator buttons all day, but never wash them during the day — I wash up to my elbows now. Another thing I really never gave any thought to, until now, is disinfecting the steering wheel and controls in the van, which I now do. You can’t be too careful.

It bears mentioning, at this stage of the interview, that we decided Billy would be our first Journal entry in this (hopefully) limited-time series for one main reason: earlier that Friday, Billy had completely cleaned and disinfected the service van pictured throughout this blog, and had shared the photos with all of the Cobb family.

With many businesses closed, our service techs have been finding themselves with a bit more free time than usual. While service calls have in no way stopped, they’ve definitely slowed down. So, Billy decided it was a good time to clean and disinfect his Cobb van.

And in times where we all must stay separated from each other, sharing stories is even more important than before.

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What inspired you to clean your van?

I love cars — I have fond memories of me washing and waxing my parents’ cars as a kid. There’s something about a shiny vehicle that makes me smile. I have always treated all company vehicles as my own, so cleaning them to my standard is natural. I think when people see a clean company vehicle on the road, they take notice and that perceived image may stick with them and may result in them calling us for business.

How long have you worked in the industry?

I started in the mid 90s setting up and delivering copiers, and I progressed to service tech rather quickly. I got out of the industry for a few years, but returned in 2013. 

How long have you been with Cobb?

I have been with the Cobb Service Team since January 2018. Most of my duties deal with copier repairs. I also service all brands of wide format printers that Cobb sells.


What is one interesting fact about you outside of work?

My love of cars puts me on the racetrack from time to time. I’ve been an amateur driver for some time now. I don’t like to use the term “race car driver”. I often tell people I drive a slow car real fast.

Thanks for taking the time out of your day to join us on this work-from-home journey we’re all on. We don’t know how long this grand experiment will happen, but we can say we hope it ends soon.

Join us next week for Journal #2.

Stay safe, and stay healthy.

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