- October 15, 2019
- in Future of Work
- by Eric Hanson
No Power, No Problem: How Fuze Supported My Ability to Work During the California PG&E Outages
If you’ve been watching the news lately, you know that last week Northern California suffered from major power outages due to blackouts implemented by local provider Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). The decision to enforce regional power blackouts came earlier in the week when PG&E was made aware of the weather conditions, which were optimal for the spread of wildfires. Ultimately the action was rooted in risk mitigation, and the blackouts were scheduled to last 24 to 48 hours.
Beginning on Wednesday of last week, however, large areas of the northern part of the state remained without power—affecting up to 600,000 electricity customers including families, schools, and businesses. As a resident of Northern California, I found myself directly affected by this issue when my family and I lost power late Tuesday night.
As the leader of Fuze’s marketing team and a West Coast resident, I consider myself a telecommuter. With the company headquartered on the East coast, I’m already very conscious of maximizing my productivity during the work week given the 3-hour time difference between myself and most of my team. However, with the news that—as of last Friday—we would not get power restored most likely for two to four days, I knew I had to think strategically about how to best continue business as usual.
With my team in the throes of planning for next year, these power outages had the potential to facilitate massive business disruption in my daily schedule. Fortunately, two major service providers gave me the ability to continue working and attending strategic meetings that I needed to take part in: AT&T and Fuze.
With access to a generator next door, I was able to charge my mobile phone and battery packs nightly. However, without wireless internet access, I knew that conducting business in any way, shape, or form, was going to rely heavily on using mobile data. On Wednesday of last week, AT&T sent out a note to all affected customers stating that until the power outages were resolved, all talk, text, and data usage during this period would be free of charge.
Most importantly, I had access to Fuze, our cloud-based unified communications platform which allowed me to join meetings as an active and presenting participant without issue. With multiple hours-long executive planning sessions happening last week, I worked mostly from my cell phone and tablet using Fuze Mobile.
Using one app, I was able to actually continue to get work done and focus on the collaborative conversations I needed to have, bouncing between online meetings, video calls, and conversations over chat. With no access to power, I had to really consider how to prioritize my efforts and my time—relying on daylight, mobile data, and Fuze to keep me connected throughout the work day.
It’s not often that many software executives get to say that they use and love their product but for me, Fuze was my lifeline to my work last week. Even with limited connectivity, Fuze allowed me to stay connected to my team without skipping a beat during an unexpected and unavoidable issue. Fortunately, PG&E fully restored power to all California residents on Sunday, October 13.
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