ESG's Mark Bowker discusses the challenges of connecting remote employees during times of social distancing with Sachin Sharma of VMware. This is Part 1 of 3.
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Mark: Sachin, thanks for joining us today. How's everything been?
Sachin: Everything is going well, Mark, how are you?
Mark: It's good. I mean, it's different but everything is well here too. It's interesting, we recently worked on some research, right, where we found 29% of people prior to COVID-19 were working outside of a remote office or a headquarters. And it's interesting now to see everybody respond and have different levels of being prepared to not prepared at all.
And then really, I know we're both thinking about ways, you know, how will businesses bend back? Will it stay 29%, or will it kind of grow back to a much bigger workforce that's remote working? I'm assuming you're kind of seeing a similar trend with your customers as well.
Sachin: Absolutely. I think in the last month or so since the March timeframe, you know, even us internally, as a case study at VMware, we shifted from having, you know, a 20% remote workforce to now almost 100%, and we're seeing that consistency across the board with our customers too.
We have, you know, a great blog post that's written by our CTO, VP, Shawn Bass, as well as our Lead Field Technologist, Brian Madden. And they talk about the shift of moving from 20% remote workforce to all of a sudden 80%. It's pretty alarming. I think the underlying foundation that you really have to have set up for any sort of pandemic or crisis is what do you do at the technology standpoint, let alone people as well as culture.
Mark: Yeah. No, and you bring up a good point. And for the most part, what I'm seeing is technology works, assuming that you have the right technology there, but it's working. And what I see a lot of times it's a people, it's users getting used to it, it's an IT process perspective... Those are some of the hurdles that I typically have traditionally seen and even see today as well.
Sachin: I absolutely agree. I mean, I'd love to get your take. I have my own opinion on how work from home is going to actually evolve or even change, let's say in a few months from now.
Mark: Yeah. I mean, we continue to do research on that to find out that exact answer. And I think some of it's to be determined, but the big thing is it will not bend back to that 29% where we have traditionally seen it. I suspect that number will get much bigger. Just as you experienced as well.
Sachin: I would expect the same thing. In talking to customers, I think they're thinking about, hey, let's think of long-term solutions, not just something that we can just get over the hump right now, but a year from now. How are we going to be able to continue to evolve our business and run business continuity, disaster recovery, remote work from home solutions in their overall strategy?
Mark: Let's stay close on the topic. I think there's interesting things that we'll see. Range from everybody shutting down big pieces of real estate to really enlightening new ways that people work. So, let's stay in touch with this. And thank you very much for joining us.