ESG's Mark Bowker discusses the challenges of connecting remote employees during times of social distancing with Carisa Stringer of Citrix.
Mark: Carisa, how are you? How's everything been?
Carisa: Oh, it's been interesting, it's been interesting. You know, what are you going to say? I've gotten a lot better at home schooling, so that part's been fun. But no, overall we're doing great. I really appreciate you asking, but we're doing good.
Mark: And it's fun too, like, with the kids home, they're like my little technology experiment, right? They're like, "Oh, what are you using there?" Oh, we use...the word Zoom-bombing. I'd never heard of Zoom-bombing, and all of a sudden, two days into school, they're like, "Daddy, Zoom is bad. You can't use that." And I'm like, "I've never even heard of that." So, it's interesting to use them of, all those things you and I have talked about for years, they're using some of that technology in their school, to actually work, so, it's pretty fascinating to see.
Carisa: I agree. It's been great getting a little closer to all that, with what they do in their day, and stuff, for sure.
Mark: Isn't it amazing, too, that, you know, the technology works, right? All these things that we talked about, you know, user experience, working remotely, you know, "work from anywhere," it's amazing. It's unfortunate that it takes an event like this to kind of highlight it, but, I mean, what I'm seeing is it really, truly is working.
Carisa: Very true. I mean, I, you know, I'm thankful that I work for a company that sells remote access tech, I mean, I'm not a healthcare provider. I'm not a doctor, but in some little way, I do feel like we're helping.
Mark: You know, Citrix can come at it from so many different ways, right? Whether it's kind of remote access to a PC, whether it's just access to a single app, whether it's access through a browser. And that's what I think is unique, right. There's a lot of different technology that will come at it kind of with a one-trick pony, and you're able to come in there as the, you know, you've been well-seeded in a lot of these companies, and you can turn all those different kind of areas, to kind of enable work at home.
Carisa: Yeah, no, for sure. I think that when it hit me the hardest, I was actually talking to a customer, and he said to me, point blank, he goes, "Carisa, it's not like we didn't have a business continuity plan. But I had it for, like, a hurricane, or a snow storm. I just didn't have it for 30,000 employees to work at..." And I was like, "I totally get it. I totally get it now."
Mark: I think I saw the same thing, where, you know, everybody had some type of business continuity plan, but, you're right. Here in New England, it was all about if it snowed out. You know, what if people can't go to work? They can still access things. Down, you know, in Florida, sure, it was around hurricanes, what happens there. I think things will change though, right? I think you'll see areas where, you know, the extreme is where people may shut down a entire building, or people may have a more flexible work style.
So, I've seen scenarios everywhere in between there. Are you seeing any of those scenarios, what people are starting to think through?
Carisa: You know, for us, it's super interesting, like, because of being Florida, and the hurricanes and all those pieces, but it is so cool and temperate in South Florida, I keep going, "Do they know it's May out there, right," like, we should sweltering. It's beautiful here. So, the environmental part, to me, is, like, not necessarily the... but the environmental impact, and what, how that's going to impact work, I think it's going to be super interesting.
Mark: One of the relunctancies from executives was, "I can't see what my people are doing. I don't know if they're productive, I don't know if they're online." I'm starting to see a little bit of, hey, if we do more work from home, even when things go back to some type of normalcy, looking at ways that they can monitor, at least kind of check in what their workforce is doing.
Are you seeing any of that from customers? Any of those type of initial questions?
Carisa: Oh, we've already been getting them. And, you know, it's funny, like, I guess I almost question if it's the right question to be asking. Do you need to have kind of some big overlook over every single individual, what hours are they logging in, how long?
How long are they in applications, or, you know, I guess, to me it'll be really interesting. Is there a trust shift, and are people getting work done? I mean, I'll even give you, my husband has teams in Greece and India. The poor guy, he sleeps, like, in hour increments, and then is up, because everybody's working from home. So, he's online. I have no doubt about it, but right, how do you monitor and track all that?
I think, I mean, I guess that's where I always come back. Is that the really the right question to be asking? But yes, we are getting asked it, for sure.
Mark: Yeah, I think that's a big one to keep on. I mean, let's stay in touch with two things. Let's kind of stay in touch with, you know, how are people planning, right? They've kind of responded and everything now. What are their plans for the future? And then I think one of those things, let's stay in touch, too and, you know, kind of look at, and share notes with, how are people thinking about ways that they can look at user productivity, or just kind of user engagement in general. So, you can get back to work.
Thank you very much for taking the time. Always great to connect with you.
Carisa: You, too. Thanks, Mark. Great to hear from you. Stay safe.
Mark: Thanks, you too.