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Taking a Human Approach to a Global Crisis

Written by

Prasad Mandava

July 02, 2020

Since March, the COVID crisis has caused massive disruption to every area of life and work. It has tested us, as individuals and as a business. Akamai has taken a very human-centric approach during the pandemic. Our guiding principle has been to do what is right for the health and safety of employees, customers and partners. I feel proud of this, because when I think about what I'm grateful for, it really does come down to people. I'm grateful to be working for a company that is keeping people connected to the world through technology. I'm grateful to be among smart, immensely resilient colleagues. And I'm grateful to have friends and family who are sticking together. Ultimately, it's the humanity that matters. 

First, consider our customers. There has been a massive spike in internet traffic with the world staying at home. We've helped to maintain the internet - keeping it fast, secure, and reliable. This includes so many things that are essential to people, like e-commerce and the delivery of essential goods, delivery of media, online education, and security for remote workers. In doing this, we've given people the ability to stay safely at home by connecting through technology. That's something we can feel very good about. 

For me, the lack of personal interaction has been one of the biggest challenges. We took this for granted before COVID. However, the switch to 100% remote working has actually been easier than I expected because of the support we've had from Akamai such as online resources, an allowance for home office equipment, and counseling services.    

The way that we work has adapted too as we bring the human touch to remote working. Virtual meetings are a way of life now, whether it's a personal one-on-one, a team meeting, or an All Hands. I appreciate seeing my colleagues over video calls and I try to make time for casual conversations. Being at home, things are in some ways more personal as we learn about each other's lives outside of work, for example I made a fun short video at home to provide a glimpse into daily life for me and my family. 

In the same way, our overall well-being matters to the business. Usually I attend a yoga group, and that has moved online. It's encouraging that the instructor and group have remained very engaged throughout this time. I'm balancing work with my family and kids who are at home, so I have the flexibility to keep some time free for them. My kids are holding up well so far, but it's important to understand that they're going through a lot too. 

I suppose that has been one of my greatest learnings from this situation - that people are resilient. We've been through a very strict lockdown by any global standard, but people have sustained and come out of it. 

In terms of work, I think in the future we'll move away from the concept of business being centered around an office environment to more of a hybrid model with a lot of people still working remotely. Virtual modes of communication are certainly here to stay, and I imagine there will be new innovations in this area as we seek better and better ways to connect, converse and collaborate. Building relationships in this way keeps humanity right at the heart of the way that we work, and I don't think that will ever change.



Written by

Prasad Mandava

July 02, 2020