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Workspace powers business as usual for Optiva during COVID-19

October 30, 2020
Shay Assaraf

Chief Marketing Officer, Optiva

After cost-cutting measures like a workforce reduction and a new work from home mandate, Optiva relied on Google Workspace to stay connected and productive.

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Established companies in any industry, including telecommunications, often take a cautious approach when it comes to adopting new technology. This is true of any technology and especially of tools used across entire organizations and at all levels—like collaboration and communication tools. I joined Optiva Inc. as its Chief Marketing Officer in August 2018, and right off the bat I faced the need for cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools like Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), which was new to me. 

Optiva was in the midst of making an organization-wide change to implement Google Workspace productivity and collaboration tools. Employees at that time—at Optiva and across other organizations I used to work with—primarily collaborated by attaching documents to company emails and meeting their colleagues in office corridors. Meetings were almost always in person or via phone. These processes were inefficient and contributed to version-control confusion and decreased overall productivity. They were also based on our pre-COVID world.

Today, Optiva is a fully remote-first organization, and our employees use all the tools in Google Workspace. Collaboration has increased dramatically, surprising even initial skeptics. Occasionally we still encounter resistance from new employees who are used to a different way of working. This is logical, but more often than not, they thank us later, and many have told me that they see the value for their productivity and the entire organization’s collaboration. 

Google Workspace has become a real advantage, especially for a global company like Optiva with employees across the world and in so many different time zones. Instead of waiting for team members’ availability to review or collaborate on a document, wasting time coordinating who works on the latest version, or who is the “owner” of a deck, employees can open a document, view new changes, and add updates, even when others are working on the same document in parallel.  

Google Workspace promotes business as usual during COVID-19

The combination of Optiva’s remote-first policy and Google Workspace collaboration tools proved a welcome addition during the challenges posed by COVID-19. Optiva was ahead of the curve of remote working policies in the telecommunications industry and in the software industry as a whole, so when the work-at-home orders went into effect in March, Optiva’s business charged ahead without missing a beat.

Google Meet has helped us maintain a strong corporate culture during this challenging time. For example, we constantly use video conferencing, which has been a great way to see the entire team and get a real sense for how each employee is doing—professionally as well as personally. Using Google Chat allowed us to keep in touch with everyone across our global teams. It helps us ensure that everyone feels secure and can work during this challenging time. Also, we have continued to create new teams with employees all around the world. If we attempted to onboard or train them using conference calls or emails, the experience wouldn’t be the same. Meet has helped us develop the strongest teams possible, faster, and much more effectively. 

We also use Google Workspace tools to cross-train employees on tasks and processes in departments outside their own. That way, if one of our employees has to be out of the office unexpectedly, the company benefits from full business continuity. To make this possible, various teams and departments documented their specific processes, held training sessions on Meet, and recorded them so any employee could access them on demand.

Many struggled in the early days of the self-quarantine orders, especially when it came to the sudden need to select and deploy new technologies for remote collaboration and, more importantly, to keep supporting their customers. We were fortunate that our business was unphased—and we owe a lot of this success to Google Workspace.

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