WFH 'pioneer' Auth0 shares advice for managing a remote workforce and returning to the office safely – GeekWire

WFH ‘pioneer’ Auth0 shares advice for managing a remote workforce and returning to the office safely – GeekWire

WFH ‘pioneer’ Auth0 shares advice for managing a remote workforce and returning to the office safely – GeekWire

Auth0’s “Back to Office Guidelines” handbook includes guidance on social distancing in the lobby. (Auth0 Image)

Remote work was the norm at Auth0 long before the COVID-19 pandemic forced companies into work-from-home mandates.

More than half of Auth0’s 650-person team already works remotely across 35 countries, which made it easy for the Bellevue, Wash.-based security startup to go full WFH amid the global health crisis.

The company’s remote-centric work culture is “part of our DNA,” said CEO Eugenio Pace, who co-founded Auth0 seven years ago with Matias Woloski, who is based in Argentina.

“We’ve been a little bit of a pioneer of remote work,” said Pace. Since its inception, the company has hired for talent, for time zone, and for zip code — in that order. It’s helped the startup access a larger talent pool, be closer to its customers around the world, and help prepare the company for the current crisis.

Auth0 does still operate six offices around the globe, all of which are closed. The company is planning to reopen each outpost when it is safe to do so in each locale. It published a “Back to Office Guidelines” handbook earlier this month to share best practices with others.

“We have chosen to share the protective measures and policies that Auth0 has put into place in the hope that they are helpful to other companies for their reopening as well,” Sandra Karlsson, manager of international business operations, and Barry Plaga, chief financial officer, wrote in a blog post.

The handbook provides details on various rules around check-in procedures; staggered arrival times; riding the elevator; using a health bot on Slack; face masks; social distancing; desk arrangements; emergency processes; and more.

Auth0’s phased approach for reopening its offices (click to enlarge). The company says the table is a general estimate for each phase, but specifics may vary based on local laws and guidelines of each region.

We caught up with Pace this week as Auth0 announced a $120 million funding round to help accelerate growth. Pace shared tips for managing a remote workforce. It’s pertinent advice as many companies allow employees to work remotely through the rest of 2020, while some have even ditched their office space altogether.

Here are two quick tips from Pace for leaders managing a remote workforce:

Pay attention to your management practices: The “command and control” leadership style might work at the physical office where managers can monitor what employees are doing all day long. “If you try to translate that into remote work, it’s going to fail miserably,” Pace said. “Are you going to ping your employee every ten minutes to see what they are doing? That doesn’t work.” Pace said it’s important to reassess your “management and cultural biases.”

Communicate often and with purpose: “You can never communicate too much in a distributed company,” Pace said. That means providing updates to employees on where things stand and how the business is doing in a consistent manner, whether that’s once a week, every Friday, etc. Companies should also be smart about which communication tool they use for certain messaging. A Zoom call might work sometimes, but an email or Slack message makes more sense in other instances. “A perfect medium for having brainstorming session is not the same as the medium to have a heads up meeting or to coordinate for a specific incident,” Pace said. “Having that tuned up is really important.”

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