Work from home tips from the executive team that brought you Zoom
On March 4, Zoom Video Communications CEO Eric Yuan ordered his 2,500-person company to work from home, preceding California’s statewide lockdown by about two weeks. “Employee safety is our no. 1 concern,” the founder of the San Jose-based video conferencing company told Fortune in a recent interview.
But in an ironic twist, even Zoom’s own workforce—yes, the same one that brought you the video chat service you now likely use to do pretty much everything from home—was not accustomed to working remotely.
“I was in the office five days a week before this,” Zoom’s chief marketing officer Janine Pelosi said. “Whatever you do in the beginning ends up being part of your culture.”
To be sure, Zoom’s employees had the advantage of being very familiar with their own product. But over a series of recent interviews, conducted for a Fortune profile of the fast-growing (and highly-scrutinized) tech company, the company’s executives repeatedly emphasized that adopting collaboration tools is just one aspect of the shift to working from home. They also shared a few of their takeaways, tried-and-tested tips for making the transition as seamless as possible. Here they are, straight from the people who brought you Zoom:
Make sure your employees have the tools they need. Yuan, Zoom’s CEO, says it’s not just about collaboration software—products like Zoom and Slack. You also need to make sure that employees have a printer, a secure wi-fi network, and other basic tech needs that we all take for granted in an office setting. “Now, everyone is their own I.T.,” says Yuan.
Check in with your employees more frequently. Kelly Steckelberg, Zoom’s chief financial officer, has prioritized frequent check-ins, not just for conducting business but also for socializing. “I check in with my team much more often than I used to, including twice a week virtual happy hours.” Pelosi, Zoom’s CMO, also says she has become diligent about daily check-ins.
Replace lengthy one-on-one’s with shorter, bite-sized team meetings. “We’ve always operated with a level of urgency,” says Pelosi. Now, the need to communicate more often is more pressing than ever. But longer one-on-one meetings not only take up time but are also inefficient because they don’t involve the broader team.
Show gratitude—and do it often. “Working from home is not that easy,” says Yuan. “It’s pretty stressful.” Acknowledge this reality, and that the challenges may be different for each one of your employees. “Ask people how they’re doing,” says Pelosi, Zoom’s CMO. And express your gratitude—often. According to Pelosi: “Right now I’m saying thank you more than I ever have.”
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