Jonathan raised his eyebrows as he stuffed his phone into his pocket. “I just talked to Cameron,” he said. “She told me there’s a confirmed case of COVID at the hospital where she works.” Five minutes later, Fritz, another Kolide employee sitting to my left, rolled his chair away from his desk, spun towards me, and said, “I just read a report there’s a confirmed case at a clinic in Somerville.” Everyone in the office heard him. They looked at him and then looked at me. It was undeniable, the pandemic was here, and as the CEO, I had to make a decision.
“I’ve heard enough, we’re working from home,” I said. “Let’s shelter-in-place for at least a few weeks, and then we will reassess.” The date was March 10th, 2020. Over the next 90 days, countless businesses arrived at the same decision and directed millions of eligible employees to work from home. For many, it was a rough start, fraught with productivity issues, gaps in essential processes, and a woefully inadequate capacity on VPNs, mail servers, and chat services.
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