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Communication is a driving force in the workplace. Good communication can make the greatest challenges smooth sailing, while poor communication can turn a minor issue into a major situation. No matter the industry, keeping the critical team members informed in every situation is a cornerstone of good operational practice. This holds especially true for a critical data center facility and plays an important part in T5 Facilities Management’s operational mindset.
One challenge in day-to-day data center operations is ensuring pertinent information is communicated across all teams and all shifts. All team members need to be aware of upcoming evolutions, scheduled preventative maintenance, and unusual events, like malfunctioning equipment or alarms.It is critical that every team member know these day-to-day operational details, to proactively keep customers informed on the site status and respond to inquiries knowledgeably.
Two of the best ways we maintain clear communication within our critical facilities are; one- developing and applying standard procedures for escalation, and two- continuous training on communication standards and expectations for internal use and external partners. Our standard procedures for escalation establish consistent communication protocols based on possible scenarios. In some cases, this may involve escalation to management for consultation, and other times it warrants an immediate call to key customer stakeholders or the equipment vendors. Our continuous training program provides ongoing training for communication internally and externally which may include how to handle escalation email, when and how to communicate with customers, and who should be included in communications. We also train on granular details like the abbreviations and acronyms used in facility communications, which both save time and provide for more specific communications.
Covering All Bases
When determining how you want your team to handle escalation and communication, it is important to keep in mind that there are many different situations that can occur. What type of emergencies could happen at your site? Does your SLA have requirements for notification? Who is on-call or will be notified in the event of an after-hours emergency? Above all else, you want your communications to be clear and concise. It is easy to provide too many details and fail to convey the most important points. To combat this, think about what is important to know right now and what information would be required to make a decision or take action on the issue at hand.
Training Is Key
At T5@Dallas, our detailed escalation policy for our data center critical infrastructure is visibly posted for all employees, customers and contractors. Each tenant has additional copies in easy to access locations near our main work spaces. This makes certain the right people know the right things at the right time. T5 Facilities Management’s robust training program for critical facilities technicians is designed to provide each new hire with the groundwork for T5’s communication expectations. It ensures every CFT is trained in the same standard methods of communication. Training also provides an opportunity to gather the team, review expectations and discover new best practices by utilizing the diverse experiences of our knowledgeable staff. Escalation standards and continuous training are two aspects of communication that are fundamental to delivering 100% uptime and outstanding service to our customers.
Written by James Hall, Critical Facility Technician
James Hall is a Critical Facilities Technician with T5@Dallas. James has been with T5@Dallas since October 2015. Before that, James spent 11 years in the United States Navy as a Nuclear Electronics Technician. The electrical and mechanical training he received in that high pressure environment contributed greatly to his facilities expertise.