Last Friday, we hosted a Virtual Think IT Panel event on Real-Time Issues and Challenges in the IT World of Today. A huge thank you to our panelists; Francois Charette, Chief Information Officer at Optum Rx, Mark Murphy, Global CIO and Vice President, Business and Technology Services at Abbott and Kim Skanson, President, Cargill Business Services at Cargill for sharing their thoughts and experiences with the group.  

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

Do we believe COVID19 will be an inflection point to move to more of a virtual workplace permanently? What will be the challenges? 

Before COVID19, many companies have been dependent on infrastructure to keep the connection between their employees. Now since working remotely, companies are seeing that it has opened new doors for employees to connectIt has also shown a rise in productivity, which also sways companies to move more towards a virtual workplace. The challenge of continuing with a virtual workplace is how companies are stimulating the social needs of their employees. Also, virtually, the social dimension isn’t there. Employees are missing being able to work together in the office. 

If at all, how have you changed your leadership style since the pandemic started? 

One of the leaders on our panel stated that the pandemic has made him be more personal. He has opened up on how this journey is going for him, about his home life, and how his life is changing from all of this. It’s beneficial for employees to see that this is life, and even leaders are going through it. The pandemic has also allowed leaders to learn more about their team’s home life. Meetings are started slower and starting with more personal conversations 

What type of arrangements are you making for employees to return to work safely 

Some arrangements that companies are making for employees to return safely back to work are paying attention to legal guidelinesThey want to ensure they are keeping their environments safe and having a clean physical space for employees to come back to. Companies are looking at doing temperature checks at the door, two people per elevator and shifts are not overlapping. Companies also want their employees to feel safe when they come back to work, and if they aren’t ready, that’s okay.  

How have you helped your business partners adopt data-driven, evidence-based models, and measures? 

Data is valuable asset to companies.  When setting up data, they are using their standard processes to drive revenue even while working remotely. It was what is done with the data that ensures consumers are getting what they need.  

As we prepare for employees coming back to work (sometime in the future), what are the top 3 things you think will not be the same as before for you started working remotely?  

Many of the panelists agreed that not a lot has necessarily changed the work that they are doing. It is more of the environment and situation they are in that has changed. Anyone that travels for business will now be wearing masks on planes or may not travel at all, seeing they can do meetings virtually. The meetings will not be the same as before, and companies will have to get creative on how they want to continue meeting. Also, the technology will change as many people will continue to work from home and will need the resources to do so. The workforce will be different. People are getting a better understanding of work-life balance.  

Many companies are starting to think about what it’s going to be like when employees start coming back to work. In the meantime, we continue to get creative while working remotely and interacting with our employees. If you were unable to join, you can view the full session here.