How the COO of Zoom is handling the responsibility of powering work from home

October 1, 2020, 9:30 AM UTC

Over the past six or seven months, Aparna Bawa has barely had time to catch her breath. As COO of Zoom Video Communications, Bawa says she’s often been working 19 hours a day, seven days a week during the course of the pandemic, helping to ensure the video teleconferencing company is able to keep up with the unprecedented demand for its services.

On the first episode of Fortune Brainstorm, a new podcast detailing how technology is changing our lives, Bawa speaks with Fortune’s Michal Lev-Ram and Brian O’Keefe about how her company has adapted to the work-from-home lifestyle that it has been so crucial in helping facilitate; the challenges that come with so many people depending on its product; and its responsibility to its users during such tough times.

“Going back to that initial decision to offer K–12 services for free during this time to provide online education and continuity—it’s always been about a value that’s beyond ‘for business,’” Bawa says. “So it made sense to do that. And there was no question about how are we going to host all these people, what’s it going to mean to the bottom line, etc. It was the right thing to do to provide connectivity and continuity for kids in school during this period of abnormality.”

While the pandemic may have created the perfect circumstances for the proliferation of the company’s user base, Bawa notes that the trend toward a “distributed workforce” could be seen before the COVID-19 outbreak and will likely continue long after. Thus, creating work routines, proactively checking in with coworkers, and being more intentional about self-care—all strategies that Bawa employs when working from home on a day-to-day basis—will remain necessities for the foreseeable future.

Around the 12:30 mark, Lev-Ram and O’Keefe also speak with Darren Murph, the current head of remote at GitLab. Holding a Guinness World Record as the planet’s most prolific professional blogger, Murph has been working from home for nearly his entire professional career. Now, as his title suggests, he’s responsible for ensuring that GitLab—which has been fully remote since its inception—runs smoothly despite having employees in 65 different countries and not a single in-person office.   

To hear Murph’s suggested practices for maintaining productivity and efficiency as a company with a remote workforce as well as recommendations from Fortune tech reporters about what tools have been particularly useful when working from home, listen to the episode above.

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