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The Hybrid Workforce: 6 fundamentals for managing your team(s)

Paragon Application Systems


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paragaon jul 2020

With only days to go before HPE Discover 2020 it was announced that HPE CEO Antonio Neri had tested positive for COVID-19. This annual big-tent event, the highlight of the year for HPE, had already seen its format dramatically changed. It was going to be a virtual event and was to be renamed HPE Discover Virtual Experience. CEO Neri took to the airwaves from his home and gave his keynote address seated on a sofa. It was a surreal experience and one that only a year ago, as agendas were being drawn up, was never part of the plan.

It was against this background that I began my latest post The Hybrid Workforce: 6 Fundamentals for Managing Your Team(s):

“If you think back to your last corporate planning cycle – which probably seems like a long time ago – you almost certainly did not include the words, “coronavirus”, “pandemic” or “herd immunity” anywhere in your PowerPoint deck. Chances are you weren’t working on strategies for dealing with your staff locked out of your facilities or supporting a hybrid workforce of people rotating in and out of the office. COVID-19 has changed everything for everyone in a very abrupt way and we need to act immediately to adjust the ways that we do business.”

As virtual events go, HPE was able to replicate previous events held in Las Vegas including a virtual exhibition hall along with virtual hands-on labs. As far as Neri’s health was concerned, “Good news! I am feeling better!” But no matter how the event proceeded or what HPE executives said, it was hard to ignore just how much had changed in 2020.

It was hard also to ignore just how big a problem the global pandemic represented. Almost every executive admits that the changes happened rapidly and business had to draw up new approaches to business practices that had been established over the course of decades. No longer was it good enough to simply assume you customer or business partner was going to return your phone call – were they still in business?

None of this escaped my later observations. Deeper into his post, I said:

“COVID-19 is an event that we have not seen before in our lifetime, affecting the entire global population, and having no definitive end date. The problems we are dealing with are unique, with history providing little guidance on the best path forward.

“Of course, where there are problems, there are also opportunities. Predictions coming from viral experts indicate a second wave of COVID-19 may return later this year. This means that we are working with a very short runway to make important changes that will protect our businesses.”

When it comes to dealing with your staff locked out of your facilities or supporting a hybrid workforce of people, IT departments haven’t been immune to dealing with the fallout from the global pandemic. For IT, this meant applications already in development or just about to be piloted still had to be tested. It meant that association and government mandates still had to be addressed and tested as well. While the behavior of our end-users changed drastically – tap-and go along with mobile apps driving up transaction volumes – it remained paramount that the user experience wasn’t compromised in any way:

“In the testing arena, there are six fundamentals that will help come to terms with the new norm. Many of these concepts are not new, but the current environment has given them a new urgency. This is not a time to be shy about trying new things.”

Returning to my latest post, here are my thoughts concerning the way forward:

With your IT personnel scattered across the country or even across the globe, it’s important to understand that this is a hybrid model unlike anything encountered previously. Comprised of team members who are not only scattered far and wide, but where some will be working from their homes, some from small offices rented for the occasion with still others present in the data center, practicing social distancing. You will need to ensure that your testing resources are available anytime, anywhere.

Furthermore, most organizations do not have enough people to keep up with all the current testing demands, so you need to bring your teams and processes together with automation. And remember, problems and opportunities go hand in hand. The challenge isn’t so much identifying the problems quickly, but ensuring every tool is available and accessible by those parties tasked with keeping the business in business!

To read the complete post and to learn more about the six fundamentals referenced above, just follow the hyperlink included above or simply cut and past the following URL into your browser –

This is just my latest post to the Paragon Edge blog.  To read more commentary on problems and opportunities arising from COVID-19, you can find the Paragon Edge Blog at