Passengers may not realize this, but there are more than 800 employees in Philadelphia International Airport who work for the City of Philadelphia Division of Aviation, which owns and operates both PHL and Northeast Philadelphia Airport. About 200 of these employees work in offices for Human Resources, Finance, Safety, Capital Development, Planning, Communications, Marketing, Properties, and Legal. Most non-operations employees are currently working from home, due to COVID-19 physical distancing requirements. With the help of PHL’s IT Department, staff were quickly set up with the tools they need for their temporary home offices.
“Earlier this year, the PHL IT department began implementing part-time working from home as a strategy for many members of the department who live far and have to deal with traffic,” said Deputy Chief Information Officer Allen Mehta. “Little did we know that we would be scaling that to support many of the other business functions of the airport. The PHL IT helpdesk has been instrumental in supporting the organization by providing laptops, MiFi units, and VPN access. They have been the frontline team on and off-site, making sure that staff was supported.”
Airport employees not accustomed to working from home have been adjusting to the shift well and are counting the positives.
“It has given me a newfound respect for people who have chosen to work from home before this pandemic, said Administrative Trainee Lucinda West. “On my breaks, I visit my grand-daughter downstairs and check on her schoolwork progress. Overall it’s been rewarding, especially when it’s raining outside, and I don’t have to go out in it.”
Since in-person meetings are no longer held at the airport due to COVID19, the IT department has added a secure platform for departments to virtually communicate with one another.
“Another utility that we have introduced to the PHL family is the use of Microsoft Teams to hold video conferencing meetings, said Mehta. “This has been instrumental for all departments to continue to function in this era of new normal.”
Several departments across the airport have utilized the Microsoft teams to complete work tasks.
“Microsoft Teams has truly been a key resource to keeping me connected with my team and colleagues,” said Training and Development Officer Yheralis Lantigua. “Since we’ve started working from home we have been using the channel feature more and it’s a great tool to keep the conversation going regarding certain projects that we’re working on as well as to store documents.”
Airport employees' use of technology has been broken down into the following since the pandemic.
- Over 200 employees have laptops
- Over 20 have iPads
- Over 400 have a city-issued cell phone
- More than 10 were set up to access email from their personal device
- 4 are using desktops
- 3 MiFi units (internet device) have been issued
- 234 Active Microsoft Office Teams Users
- 461 Teams meetings held over the past 30 days
Thanks to all employees working from home to keep the airport operational.