Ed Catmull - founder and president of Pixar animation studio - was on a mission.
In his book Creativity, Inc., Ed described the unique management challenges Pixar faced in the aftermath of the wildly successful "Toy Story." One problem, in particular, offers an excellent lesson for all business managers weighing their return-to-office policies today.
What Do Network Infrastructure & Oak Trees Have In Common?
Every day, Ed was on a mission to break down barriers and bring people together. Their main conference room had a long, elegant table, gifted to them by Steve Jobs. The table was nice, but its long layout discouraged young writers on the fringe from speaking up. When the problem extended to Directors or Senior Writers feeling left out occasionally, the team implemented assigned seats with name cards. This created a subtle hierarchy that only further discouraged collaboration.
One day, Ed was brainstorming with colleagues around a square table, when he realized something. The conversation was much more fluent there than in the conference room. Suddenly he could see so clearly. The table was hurting productivity.
Because of this realization, Ed quickly ordered the long table be removed from the conference room and replaced with a more inclusive, circular table. This change immediately impacted morale on all projects, encouraged junior-level employees to share ideas, and ultimately fostered a more creative environment.
Although meetings were more inclusive, one problem remained: they still used name cards for senior employees. This problem wasn’t as serious as the table, but it was still harmful to the culture. One day, a director mocked the name cards, rearranging them and saying, “We don’t need these anymore!” Only then did they squash this ancillary problem.
Ed shared the important lesson he learned:
“This is the nature of management. Decisions are made, usually for good reasons, which in turn prompt other choices. So when problems arise—and always do—disentangling them is not as simple as correcting the original error. Often, finding a solution is a multi-step endeavor. There is the problem you know you are trying to solve—think of that as an oak tree—and then there are all the other problems—think of these as saplings—that sprouted from the acorns that fell around it. And these problems remain after you cut the oak tree down.” - Ed Catmull - Creativity, Inc.
For many businesses, there is a unique challenge in the air right now. COVID has turned the professional world upside down, and companies are finally starting to make progress back into their office space.
Now is the perfect time to consider Ed Catmull's lesson. Getting your employees back in the office is a big first step - you are replacing the table with something that will work better. But now it is essential you keep your eye out for acorns and saplings such as the name cards.
Network IT Infrastructure Upgrade Benefits for Return-To-Work
As you consider returning your workforce to the office, you may wonder why IT infrastructure is a sapling that deserves your attention. Truth is, maintaining a top-of-the-line network helps your employees stay productive no matter the timing. Still, it's especially crucial as you recruit them back to onsite.
Here are a few of the most essential ways upgrading your IT infrastructure can help make your return to the office sustainable:
Improved Speed & Reliability
For employees in today's job market, working on exceptional network infrastructure is the standard. That includes cloud computing technology, updated software and hardware, and modern IT systems.
And for you as a manager, whether in office or out, productivity is the most important metric of all. If you are bringing them onsite now, you must support their productivity. Getting an IT infrastructure upgrade will ensure your employees can efficiently do their jobs.
Energize Your Employees Upon Return
Okay - IT infrastructure upgrades don't usually make employees scream "YES! I LOVE THIS PLACE!" (Well, it does at KCMIT, but probably not at your business). Still, when employees return to work, they have a lot on their minds. They are commuting again, and every roadblock will make their adjustment that much more difficult. Avoiding things like a network outage while your employees are back in the office should be a top priority in this regard. Do your best to give them every reason to love returning to work and remove every reason they wouldn't.
Ensure the Incoming Surge is Sustainable
While employees have continued working from home recently, your onsite IT network has been aging. When you have an influx of employees returning to the office, your network may not be able to stand it. Ensure that there will be minimal disruptions when the network suddenly receives 100x more logins than it is used to by partnering with a managed IT company like KCMIT.
Reinforce Your Business' Security
In general, the older your software and company hardware are, the riskier it is to continue using them. An IT infrastructure upgrade will help keep your company ahead of the curve, protecting your critical business data and warding off security risks along the way.
Upgrade Your IT Infrastructure with a Trusted Managed IT Partner
As you return your people to the world of office lunches and face-to-face interaction, you should make IT a priority. This is one of the most critical saplings that have sprouted from the proverbial WFH Oak Tree.
Working with a managed service provider is one way to ensure you give your employees the best support they can get. At KCMIT, we will work within your existing framework and provide professional consultation for your business. Our IT infrastructure upgrade services can help your business beef up security, replace outdated hardware and software, and support employees.
If you need an IT infrastructure upgrade for your business, contact us today!