Last Fridaywe hosted our very first virtual Think IT event. A huge thank you to everyone who joined to listen to the panel discussion on How is the IT World Responding in This Time of Crisis? We can’t thank our panelists; Marc Kermisch, CIO at Bluestem BrandsTammylynne Jonas, Global CIO at Self Esteem Brands, and Sameer Badlani, CIO at Fairview enough for sharing their thoughts and wisdom with the group.  

Below you will find an overview of the most popular questions from our members and a summary of what was discussed. 

Would you have done anything differently 90 days ago, knowing what you know now? 

The one thing our panelists mentioned they would have done differently would be to have a work from home drill. After switching to work from home they found many were having trouble with printers, missing chargers and VPN connections. They all agreed they would have taken the proper precautions to make sure they could support their remote employees as well as their customers.  

Do you think this mass shift to remote work will permanently change how companies operate? 

This will create a huge shift and require how our services should be offered and how they can be consumed especially healthcare. Companies will be able to clearly see that there are many different ways you can collaborate, and you do not need to be in-person to build relationships.  

Do any of your organizations have an HQ that is subject to a “stay at home” order, while also having stores/locations that are not (e.g. in other states)? 

This can be a huge challenge that your company could face especially if you have stores across the globe as this has hit at different times in different locations. A lot of companies have implemented the decision that if an employee can continue to complete their work remotely, then that is what they should do. One of our panelists also stated that at their company they do not use the term, “essential” and “non-essential” in their ecosystem. All employees are essential, we may just play a different role. 

What tools are you using for collaboration? 

I think most of us are using some form of MS Teams, Skype, Zoom, RingCentral, and many more. As we continue to go virtual there is one thing we need to remember, non-verbal communication is very importantWhen you are on a virtual call, being self-aware of your facial expression is crucial. Another important tip from our panelists was to make sure you have an adequate home network and do not enter a call through your VPN unless you must. This will help with the bandwidth and make for a better connection.  

What measures are you taking to ensure employees are still practicing self-care and work-life balance during this time? 

Our panelists have found that the majority of their employees were working longer days and working through family tragedies. Some have implemented a forced rotation for their leaders. As a leader, you need to set the tone for your employees. If you are telling them not to send emails past 9 pm, then you cannot send them an email at midnight. Some companies are even adopting virtual team workouts or virtual happy hour.  

As we continue working through this crisis, organizations must continue to educate their teams and find ways to interact with them even while working remotely. If you were unable to join, you can view the full session, here.