Akamai Diversity

The Akamai Blog

The Importance of Listening

Akamai has been a leader in customer service for years, and we've leveraged that experience to best support our customers through the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes our internal customers, our employees who are working hard to do their jobs while adjusting to a full-time remote environment. This is brand new for all of us, so it's more important than ever to listen to their needs.

The HR leadership team has sent weekly Thursday email updates since remote work began, and we've doubled our number of company-wide town halls. We've also sent regular employee surveys, which have averaged an impressive 50% response rate. The feedback from these has been invaluable. Here's what we've heard from our people:

Fast access to the best equipment is critical to productivity.

Our people have high standards for their office technology, and that extends to the home office. In March, the IT organization had to rapidly develop solutions for getting equipment to employees at home. That included our large user base in India, where we had to secure a permitted van to deliver during the government lockdown. It was a challenge, but we successfully delivered equipment to over 500 Bangalore-based employees in one quarter. We also established a reimbursement for home office equipment like monitors, noise-cancelling headsets, and ergonomic furniture. And since it's clear we'll be remote for the long haul, we've recently added a second stipend for additional expenses.

Maintaining work-life balance is difficult without the physical separation of office and home. 

To give everyone a well-deserved break, we added three additional company-wide Wellness Holidays to our 2020 global calendar. These are a chance for us all to unplug and focus on self-care, and they've been very well received.

Taking PTO is less compelling with the travel and activity limitations of COVID.

Employees across the company have been taking less time off than usual, which we know is unsustainable and unhealthy. We're reinforcing the importance of PTO from the leadership level down, and continuing to brainstorm ways to encourage time away. Suggestions are welcome!

Collaboration is harder without the in-person connections.

We've responded by investing in an enhanced suite of offerings, including a new tool for large e-vents (in pilot), digital post-it and whiteboarding solutions (implementation), and a virtual recruiting environment for our Talent Acquisitions team (launched).

These are some of the best practices that have been helpful at Akamai during the current crisis. I encourage you to share your own tips and lessons learned on your platform; if we listen to each other, we can all adapt to face these new challenges.