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World Vision Sees Promise in WFH


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Image: OpenClipart-Vectors -
As discussed in yesterday’s post, “WFH in a Hurry: 4 Lessons Learned,” even as companies have talked up working from home (WFH) for decades, few ever expected to adopt it widely. This has left many enterprise organizations scrambling to adjust their workforce strategies to account for today’s WFH reality.
Such has been the case at World Vision, a nonprofit organization that has had to transition quickly from the office to home, and from in-person to virtual meetings, to keep on top of its mission to help children and families lift themselves out of poverty. Although the organization had prepared itself for the current crisis, World Vision has had a bit of an erratic WFH policy, Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at World Vision, shared in a recent interview with WorkSpace Connect.
WFH has been possible, but not widely encouraged. The reason being, Boyd explained, is that employees – both on the business side and customer-facing – require a lot of oversight and management processes that involve human interaction, and require training. But with COVID-19, they’ve embraced it. “Everybody grabbed their workstations, keyboards, their CPU, and monitor; took them home, and it’s just been seamless,” he said.
During our conversation, Boyd shared how the organization is navigating its way through COVID-19 while maintaining widespread outreach.
As you might imagine, Internet connectivity has been a big issue for World Vision employees suddenly finding themselves doing their jobs from home, Boyd said. Complicating matters is that the World Vision employee base is “largely non-computing technical,” so he and his team have needed to educate them about their home networks and throughput – and how to take responsibility for maintaining throughput required for work.
Even as he’s had to educate employees about WFH, the adjustment from the office to the home, from a technology standpoint, seems more amazing to him than to them, Boyd admitted. “They just expect these things to work – that’s been their experience … whereas I held my breath for the first week,” he said. “But the reality is, everything’s working.”
The onus for transitioning to WFH hasn’t fallen on IT alone, Boyd said. For example, HR is playing a critical role in providing training for executives aimed at helping them think about the personal side of the issue, he said.
Additionally, Boyd noted that the World Vision business team has traditionally relied on face-to-face meetings. Not an option during this crisis period, they’ve had to learn how to collaborate virtually. For this, World Vision has turned to a cloud-based webinar add-on from its communications provider, RingCentral, Boyd said.
Since WFH took hold, “half if [not] 80% of what we do is help the business leverage the webinar product in particular, so that they, in turn, can meet seamlessly with their donors, and have a good experience.”
This same webinar service is coming into play for much larger meetings, as well, said Boyd, noting that he was recently in a virtual gathering with about 5,000 participants. Since COVID-19, World Vision moved to a virtual conference program, too, using the webinar service, he added. The goal is to facilitate the same sort of relationship-building World Vision focuses on for its in-person conferences in a virtual format, he said.
World Vision has declared WFH until the end of April, and Boyd said his team has been working incredibly hard. Now it’s time for them to breathe, step back, and relax in terms of the pace, he said.
You can add Boyd to the list of IT executives who believe remote work is forever changed.
“I honestly think my company's going to get over their concerns about working from home. I think we're going to find policies loosened up because we're proving we can do this … we're not having outages, people are staying connected,” he said. “I think we'll find that in my company, but also in our culture, there will be more longer-term work from home opportunities for folks.”