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Embracing Change: How Rackspace Handled The COVID-19 Pandemic
Episode 1413th April 2021 • Survive & Thrive • Jennifer Ayres
00:00:00 00:35:05

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Whether we like it or not, change happens in life. Unfortunately, no one could have predicted the amount of change we’d all have to go through with the COVID-19 pandemic. On this episode of the Survive & Thrive podcast, Ed Skowronski -- the vice president of solution services at Rackspace Technology -- joins Jennifer to discuss embracing change.

Act 1: Introduction

Introducing Ed and his background (1:32)

Ed goes over his 25 years in technology, including some sage advice his mentor at IBM once told him.

Embracing change (4:10)

While Ed believes change is rarely comfortable, he dives right into it. He explains why he thinks people have to also start embracing change.

Ed’s life before the COVID-19 pandemic (5:03)

Even though Rackspace’s workforce was spread across the world, the pandemic changed how the company managed daily activities. However, Ed’s focus was on something larger.

Act 2: Embracing change

Responding to COVID-19 (8:48)

With the pandemic in full swing, it was time to figure out how to keep moving forward. Ed details how Rackspace thought of their customers’ needs to understand where the potential pain points would be.

Handling the pandemic’s biggest hurdles (13:25)

The pandemic was a whirlwind of confusion. The unknowns of the pandemic were felt all the way down to a personal level. But at a company’s scale, the lack of information can cause the type of strife that’s difficult to manage. Ed explains how Rackspace focused on improving communication and employee wellness to handle the biggest hurdles from the pandemic.

Act 3: Embracing change

The rubber meets the road (16:03)

In a world where everyone was trying to solve issues that didn’t previously exist, Ed’s initial theories got put to the test. Though there were plenty of challenges, there were some unexpected positives too.

Employee wellness (20:01)

As Ed explains, some of the company’s preconceived notions got flipped on their head. One such instance was that employees actually worked harder and for more hours at home, something they had never planned for. By watching closely at what was actually happening instead of relying on preconceived notions, Rackspace was able to better address issues before they became big problems.

Act 4: Adapt and thrive

Why was Rackspace able to adapt so well? (26:06)

Ed believes that by implementing a plan, as well as properly communicating it to employees, Rackspace was able to adapt to the ever-changing pandemic.

The biggest surprise (28:34)

In a results-driven world that is often defined by productivity measurements, Ed was surprised by how pivotal things like employee wellness are as well. Ed believes companies have to start measuring those things and taking them seriously too.

Ed’s advice for handling a crisis (30:40)

With so many lessons learned throughout the pandemic, Ed offers his insight and advice for those handling crisis situations or simply embracing change.

Links:

Edward Skowronski - Email

Sources:

CDC

The Implications of COVID 19 for mental health and substance use

Study Finds Productivity Not Deterred by Shift to Remote Work

Links