Getting Shifty: What’s it like working the 24-7 shift at ANS?


Managed Service, ANS culture, Service Desk

At ANS, we never stop working. Literally. We operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to ensure our customers can too. We partner with some of the UK’s leading NHS Trusts, emergency services, universities, ecommerce retailers and professional services businesses which require around the clock monitoring.

If a critical application or service is unavailable an NHS Trust or emergency service may not be able to deliver life saving patient care, or a professional services organisation could risk losing millions of pounds as a result of not being able to deliver their services. That’s why at ANS our service desk is on hand to identify and resolve any problems.

Of course, not everyone works through the night to man the desk, that’s where our super-human technical analysts come in taking responsibility for making sure everything runs smoothly. As your typical 9-5 worker, it’s hard to appreciate what it’s like working ‘The Shift’ like our 2nd line team and I’ve always wondered what goes on while we are snoozing in bed.

So I decided to get my shift on and join 3 techies for a 7pm-7am session to see what it’s really like burning the midnight oil on the desk. Here’s what I learnt during my night shift with Jordache, Faiz and Manny…

 

Be prepared

Before I had even started my shift, I was told for many people, their first time on shift was a struggle, nevertheless I was determined to make it through. Coffee, sweets and pro plus packed, I was ready to go.

I turned up in time to see the hand over from those on day shift to those on nights. These guys do not miss a thing. They went through all the various changes and incidents to be carried over to the night shift.

These had to be logged correctly in granular detail to make sure nothing went undetected and everyone was up to speed. Some tasks were pretty straight forward, and others needed more investigation, so the team divided them up between them. A standard procedure I’m sure but vital all the same.

 

There’s no rest for the wicked

The purpose of the desk is to ensure our customers receive expert help, in a timely manner, from a single point of contact. This night was no exception.

Calls came rolling in, emails popping up, changes flashing up on the screens, there was so much going on I couldn’t keep up. The guys on shift never stopped monitoring environments and watching for changes which could have an impact on our customers’ IT operations if not dealt with quickly. Nothing went unnoticed, even in between brew rounds, building checks and my endless question asking, there was never a dull moment.

Now I see why our secure operations centre runs so smoothly and our customers are so happy.

 

It’s not for the fainted hearted

Working shift is no easy feat, your days are turned upside down and your body doesn’t have a clue what’s going on. It’s 2:30 a.m. and I’m eating breakfast — or is it late dinner? — I’m not sure what to call meals at these ungodly hours. Turns out that the body doesn’t like when you mess with its biological clock. It wants to sleep when it’s dark.

As my self-pity reached its pinnacle, I looked over to see my fellow shift workers just as focused as they had been at the start. I need to up my game. The level of commitment to our customers was clear to see. During my shift, I got a message from another employee, who regularly works night shifts, offering me advice, he said that helping ANS run 24-7-365 is a privilege and I think that just says it all.

 

As I got into bed, my thoughts turned to those who work the 24-7 shift regularly, their efforts are what keep ANS ticking over through the night. I realised that maybe I take my “normal” schedule for granted and I really enjoyed my crash course on what it takes to work into the wee hours of the morning.

Thanks for having me guys, it was a pleasure! If you want to find out more about what goes on in our secure operations centre, you can take a sneak peek here.

Posted by Kate Auchterlonie