Settling in to Our New Normal

The following was published in the April 12, 2020 editions of Foster's and Seacoast Sunday.


Businesses around the country are settling in to the new normal as most enter the first full calendar month under stay-at-home orders.


In the IT industry, there has been a rush to get employees set up to work from home and keep businesses functioning. Most IT companies were able to make this pivot relatively easily as they already had work-from-home or business continuity plans in place. Those businesses who did not had a harder time adjusting than those that did.


The rush to work-from-home has also put a significant strain on the supply chain for laptops and webcams more than any other products. Two- to four-week lead times have become the norm as companies work to keep everyone connected through video conferencing to keep productive and maintain culture.


Speaking of video conferencing, concerns have emerged about the security of the popular Zoom video-conferencing platform. Zoom was already soaring in popularity before the COVID-19 crisis and the stay-at-home order have also increased their velocity in the marketplace. n the midst of all this, Zoombombing has become part of our vernacular. This is when a hacker intrudes on a Zoom meeting and it’s become enough of a concern that many businesses and government agencies have banned the platform.


To their credit, Zoom has responded quickly to the concerns. In a public letter from Zoom CEO Eric Yuan, he not only apologized for the security lapses but committed to addressing them quickly. Zoom has paused work on feature enhancements and put all efforts toward addressing the security concerns of users. They have put out several updates already, to further secure the platform, so this is good to see, especially now. There are still concerns about Zoom, but the company is doing a good job addressing these concerns.


Managing remote workers may be new for many of you. Daily check-ins or huddles are a great way to maintain personal connections and reinforce company culture. Do these over video conferencing as it’s important to see one another, read body language, etc. Many companies are even doing virtual happy hours, bringing teams together virtually once a week to share a cocktail and just connect personally. This, too, is a great idea to maintain connections and culture.


Our new normal requires this kind of innovation, not just in serving customers, but in taking care of our people. I hope you are staying safe and healthy. Please keep up the social distancing as it seems to be working. This is a new form of team sport and we are certainly all in this together. Be well.

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