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Box CEO: We Have Been Thrust Into Remote Work

Aaron Levie, CEO of Box, discusses how the pandemic has thrust companies into remote work and this will move enterprises toward a hybrid workplace....
Box CEO: We Have Been Thrust Into Remote Work
Written by Rich Ord
  • “We have been thrust into remote work without a lot of the preparation and in some cases underlying infrastructure, data security, or underlying cloud platforms,” says Box CEO Aaron Levie. “What we’re finding, and certainly at least for the organizations that have had the ability to adapt successfully to this environment, is that there are better ways to get work done.”

    Aaron Levie, CEO of Box, discusses how the pandemic has thrust companies into remote work and this will move enterprises toward a hybrid workplace:

    We Have Been Thrust Into Remote Work

    We have been thrust into remote work without a lot of the preparation and in some cases underlying infrastructure, data security, or underlying cloud platforms. What we’re finding, and certainly at least for the organizations that have had the ability to adapt successfully to this environment, is that there are better ways to get work done. Now that we’ve moved to this virtual way of working there are a lot of situations where we used to have to do business travel. Being able to quickly hop on a Webex or a Skype call or a Zoom session is actually much more efficient to be able to have that conversation.

    We have a lot of situations that Box internally and with our customers where normally you might be collaborating with five or ten people in a meeting inside of a conference room. Now you can move that to a Slack channel and actually communicate with maybe 50 or 100 people on that same project. You’re actually building a much more inclusive organization with way more people that can be engaged and involved in your ultimate vision and what you’re executing on. We’re seeing actually some really positive ways of working in this environment.

    The Future Is A Hybrid Workplace

    Any tech company and any company globally really wants to get back to some version of normal. We certainly want offices to open up as quickly as possible. We want to make sure that we can see our colleagues in person. But I do think that there’s no going back from this new virtual way of being able to stay productive. The future is one of a hybrid workplace where you go into the office for some experiences and purposes and then you’re also going to be able to have much more flexibility and be able to work remotely. The digital workplace is what’s going to then bridge those two worlds together.

    By and large, cost savings is not the main factor of why you’ve seen so much excitement around remote work or more workplace flexibility. If you can be just as productive from your laptop on a Slack channel and over a Zoom call but you could then be in any place that you desire as opposed to being in a 60 or 90-minute commute each way and paying way too much for real estate. For those of us that live in Silicon Valley, this is a very expensive real estate market. So if you could have better flexibility and be able to have a little bit more space and you can stay just as productive, wouldn’t that be a better way of working?

    Lot’s Of Reasons Why Offices Will Still Exist

    What companies are realizing is as they want to actually give that choice out to their employees. They can still run very productive organizations. We at Box have been able to drive as much innovation in this environment as we have in an office environment. We want to make sure that we’re creating that type of flexibility for employees. That being said, there are a lot of benefits to being able to work in an office with your colleagues.

    For younger employees that are just integrating into the workplace for the first time you want to get to know your colleagues and you want to be able to be a part of maybe a more than just a business community. You may actually want to be able to build your business network through that experience. Also important is mentorship and being able to make sure that you’ve got more camaraderie. There are a lot of reasons why offices are still going to exist in the future. But digital technology is going to afford companies to have way greater flexibility no matter which route they choose.

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