Discussing what's top of mind for IT leaders as they help remote workforces stay connected

Remote work is already the new normal for many companies. Global Workplace Analytics estimates that 56% of the U.S. workforce holds a job that is at least partially compatible with remote work, but Covid-19 is certainly affecting these statistics, and it's a global challenge. 

Current workforces are being forced into the world's largest work from home experiment overnight,  and it hasn't been easy for a lot of companies. Shifting an entire workforce remote is a wakeup call for organizations that may not have started to invest in a digital business or a modern reference architecture and long term resiliency plans. 

So what is top of mind for every technology leader right now as they help their remote workforces stay connected? Here are a few of their thoughts I discussed with peers at Zoom, Slack, Okta and ourselves here at Box: 

Scalability

It's important to look at capacity, monitor people logging in, different time zones, staffing the help desk and supporting the massive explosion of usage of communication exchange services and platforms. There's a huge increase in connected users over the last few weeks that no roadmap could ever predict, so it's critical that supporting customers and employees appropriately are top priority. There needs to be a joint effort across organizations to make sure that third parties they work with, the many applications they connect to, are all part of one ecosystem running consistently through unprecedented volume surges. 

Security & Risk

One of the unintended consequences of accelerated working from home is an increase in security breaches. "Companies need to be hyper focused not only on deploying the right technology to protect them, but also on continuing to train their employees on new threats, and on showing their customers all the security tools that are built into our products," says Garry Sorrentino, CIO Advisor, Zoom. Keeping the organization alert, aware and educated can help reduce the success rate of attacks. 

Connectivity, Belonging & Well Being 

“Take care of yourselves, take care of your families and then ultimately take care of the work. And when you're working, bring your full attention to it” says Stephen Franchetti, VP of Business Technology at Slack.  The transition to overnight remote work is not just about the technical aspects of business continuity but also about the understanding of employees’ personal stories and challenges while trying to do their best work in a completely new environment. There’s a lot of focus on people working from home and on the different distractions that entails, but there’s also a sizable share who actually live on their own. Hence, making sure companies dedicate time to focusing on reaching out and  connecting with every employee is extremely important: “technology not only enables productivity, but it can also play a critical role in ensuring employees’ well-being and continuing to create community and culture,” says Anisha Vaswani, Box Corporate CIO. 

Cultural challenges and considerations  

Technology enables people to work from anywhere but it’s important to think whether the company culture is attuned  to working in that style. "Some companies are born in the cloud, fortunate enough to be digitally native; however, some others are definitely going through an adjustment," says Hector Aguilar, President of Technology, Okta.  It’s important to not only to implement the right tools and architecture, but also to make sure users are trained to support the customers effectively.

To learn more, visit our webcast with the IT leaders at Box, Slack, Zoom, Okta, and myself, where we share their personal experiences on how they use technology to address different challenges during this health crisis.