Leveraging culture and technology in times of crisis

With the COVID-19 situation changing rapidly our CEO Craig Scroggie and the leadership team made the decision to have all non-essential members of the NEXTDC team work from home. This was a decisive move to commit to social distancing and stopping the viral spread.

While it was not without challenge, the change was made much smoother from the fact that NEXTDC already had a strong culture for working online, backed by digital platforms. Majority of our team, with the exception of those we need to keep our essential data centre services ticking, have been working from home since Monday March 16, supported by leadership, culture and technology.

Clear leadership

Using our existing channels we received clear messaging from or Senior Leaders, People and Culture and Workplace Health and Safety teams. Everyone was bought together on an All Hands Call to get updates from our leaders, but also to ask questions. This was business as usual under unusual circumstances as we regularly bring everyone together for all company updates in this way.

Our intranet is set up as the source of truth for COVID-19 information and related policies. Yammer is our home for questions an discussion. With our leaders not only supporting, but actively using these tools, our team knows

  • Clear and unified leadership
  • Open two-way communication
  • Regular updates

Culture brings strength

It was immediately clear from the activity in our Yammer groups that physical separation was not going to stop our teams doing their jobs, or from continuing to express the culture that makes NEXTDC a wonderful place to work.

From wigs in team meetings, to children and pets, to sharing desk set ups, we have been reaching out to each other with pictures and video to continue connecting in a very human way through this change. These are being shared in our Yammer network through groups set up for working from home and COVID-ID updates.

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  • Bringing office behaviours into the digital
  • Sharing experiences
  • Work hard, play hard, have fun

Technology supports change

While working from home was not something everyone at NEXTDC had done regularly in the past, from a technology perspective we were in a great position. Everyone can access what they need to do their job via Office 365 or VPN connection. Most meetings continue as usual, being geographically dispersed meetings happen over Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams. Our intranet and Yammer continue to be the cornerstone of communications and community.

  • Leveraging existing tools
  • Supporting each other through the change

Bottom line

It is through our existing practices that NEXTDC has been able to move swiftly and efficiently to respond in this time of crisis. We realise that not every organisation is in this position, and it’s important to point out that it didn’t happen by accident. Our leadership give clarity and direction. Our culture drives connectedness and caring. Our technology is part of an established and award winning digital workplace.

We hope that others can take lessons from how we are operating, so much so that our CEO Craig Scroggie is signatory to an open letter along with a coalition of Australian CEOs and leaders who are committed to stopping the spread.

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