Navigating the crisis: My team's remote work win

When the disaster exceeds all definitions of your team's disaster scenarios, focus on trust, patience, and communication
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Editor’s note: IT leaders have quickly shifted gears to enable remote working and overcome unplanned technology and business challenges in the weeks following the COVID-19 outbreakThe Enterprisers Project is documenting their stories and celebrating IT team wins in an ongoing series. Kassie Rangel, senior director of IT for HealthMarketsshares her IT team win below. 

The challenge:

The largest challenge we had was not having a reliable and scaled solution in place to accommodate and support every single one of our employees going remote at the same time. All of our disaster scenarios revolved around loss of critical equipment or our facilities being compromised and only needing a percentage of our workforce to connect immediately. 

What we did:

Creativity, collaboration, and resilience is what got us through. We, in the matter of two days, had a task force group build out a new scaled connection into our network leveraging remote connectivity. We pulled every training, testing, and surplus machine we could find in our building that was not directly assigned to a person and quickly reimagined them in order to redistribute them to all employees who didn’t have personal PCs or company-issued laptops. This allowed everyone to connect back into their desktops in the office to be fully functional.

What we learned: 

Trust in your team, and they will deliver: My team moved mountains to get us ready quickly. Have patience in dealing with executives or employees who do not understand how we ended up in the situation. And lastly, communication is key. We were able to move quickly because everyone's voice was important and we were able to implement by ensuring everyone  knew the plan and strategy. 

We gained the knowledge and confirmation that together, we are more powerful than apart. We also gained the knowledge that we are able to be just as or more efficient empowering our employees to work in their areas of comfort.

[ Get answers to key digital transformation questions and lessons from top CIOs: Download our digital transformation cheat sheet. ]

Kassie Rangel is the senior director of IT for HealthMarkets, one of the largest independent health insurance agencies in the United States.