When faced with the COVID-19 crisis earlier this year, Adobe\u2019s IT organization, like many others, acted quickly to shift the entire company to a work-from-home situation. For us that meant moving the entire Adobe workforce of more than 22,000 global employees over a single weekend. The pandemic also forced us to focus more critically on such things as collaboration strategies, security, and the employee experience during these challenging times.\n\nFortunately, while COVID-19 is unique, I have previous experience with this type of challenge and I know the importance of contingency and scenario planning to prepare the IT organization to react to uncertainties. During the SARS coronavirus outbreak in 2003, which spread across two dozen countries in a matter of months before it was contained, I was CIO at a Singaporean shipping line where employees also had to rapidly shift to working from home while continuing to support customers. During the Fall 2018 California fires, I worked with my Adobe team to develop a new set of scenario plans in case we couldn\u2019t get into our San Jose headquarters. Thankfully, there was no need to execute those plans, but it proved to be a valuable exercise for what was to come this year and enabled my team to act quickly when the reality of COVID-19 became apparent.\n\nPlanning for business as usual during the unusual\n\nMonths before businesses were forced to transition workforces from office to home locations, Adobe had a Global Safety & Security Infectious Disease Plan in place outlining a comprehensive risk management and response framework in the event that a contagious disease impacts personnel, facilities or operations. A key part of this plan is our cloud solutions, which are monitored and operated from several locations around the world, across a multi-vendor and multi-cloud infrastructure model. This helps to ensure our ability to continue to operate our solutions throughout the duration of this or any other critical situation.\n\nOnce this plan was put into action in response to COVID-19, the next step was to bolster the infrastructure. We were already foundationally prepared, but we quickly identified a few areas that needed improvement to ensure employee productivity and business continuity. This included enhancing network routing, expanding virtual private network (VPN) bandwidth around the world, and preparing for the increased demand and use of our collaboration tools.\n\nOn that first Monday morning following the weekend-long workforce shift, I worried that my email inbox would be full of issues. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to discover my inbox was full of compliments \u2014 employees were actually sharing good experiences during the rapid transition. Our email and collaboration usage metrics conducted later indicated business as usual and no loss of productivity. This data confirmed we were able to maintain our workplace experience \u2014 allowing our employees to remain both productive and collaborative at home. In general, our employees have more than doubled the time spent virtually with colleagues, they are collaborating and using messaging services 60% more, and our engineering productivity has remained the same.\n\nEmployee experience as a success differentiator\n\nEmployee experience was one of the most critical concerns in making the transition to an entirely remote workforce. The following are some of the things we did to enhance that experience and, in the process, maintain a collaborative culture and secure work ecosystem:\n\nWhile it\u2019s important that employees remain productive and work securely while working remotely, it\u2019s just as essential to prioritize employee health and wellbeing. We can\u2019t assume work will be \u201cstatus quo\u201d and that we can operate the same way we did in the office. This enduring focus on employee experience was a key differentiator in my team\u2019s success when tasked in March with the challenge of rapidly shifting thousands of global employees to work remotely.\n\nOur employees are well equipped to continue working remotely for as long as may be necessary, and my team and I remain committed to adapting and adjusting based on employee needs and requests. Given the proven correlation between happy employees and satisfied customers and overall business success, it\u2019s more critical than ever that companies prioritize systems and business processes that improve employee experience.