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How are high-tech companies dealing with the COVID-19 crisis? In the spotlight: F5

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

Senior executives in the industry talk about the steps their organization has taken to deal with the corona crisis and provide tips ● And this time: Aran Erel, F5's operations manager in Israel, Greece, and Cyprus ● Coach Perry



How has the crisis so far affected the day-to-day functioning of the organization? What measures have been taken at the organizational level and at the level of contact with the employees?

The most important aspect for F5 in any crisis issue is the people. The company has always taken the Human First approach. Humans come first. Accordingly, the health and safety of the company’s employees, partners, and customers are above anything else. Since the outbreak of the plague, we have taken precautions to help our people function and act, while strictly adhering to social distance guidelines. We instructed the teams to work from home and provided all the resources required to enable this. Among other things, we have implemented a secure platform for information sharing and video calling and have significantly expanded our webinar tutorials to clients and partners (currently we hold 3-4 virtual events each week).


Perry Glickman Pride EIG Co-Chair and Diversity & Inclusion Project Manager, F5

As part of the support system we have established for the benefit of the company's employees, we today provide support and advice services on issues that may arise as a result of the outbreak of the virus, through a unique assistance program for employees. We place special emphasis on the diverse groups in our society - populations that from the beginning have a shaky support system in relation to the rest of the population. These populations are groups that face discrimination based on race, nationality, gender, or religion. Accordingly, as part of our site in Tel Aviv, a group of women was promoted to advance the status of women in the organization led by Moran Frieder, and a pride cell to represent employees from the LGBT+ community led by Perry Glickman. During the crisis, we make sure to gather up-to-date information on the challenges of the diverse populations and act to the best of our ability in order to minimize these challenges and provide them with an appropriate response.

Aran Erel, F5 Operations Manager in Israel, Greece and Cyprus. Photo: Niv Kantor

Another thing we are proud of - F5 has proudly signed #StopTheSpread, and works with more than 1,500 companies, CEOs, executives, and civic leaders committed to supporting and recovering the world from the outbreak.


What means and guidelines were given to employees in everything related to travel abroad, returning from abroad, getting to work, and more?


First, the company was instructed to close all offices around the world even before state-level guidelines were issued. The same goes for flights - the company transferred all meetings to a remote model already in the first days of the crisis. However, the support for our customers was not harmed, and our expert services moved to a full range of operations remotely. Fully from home. We also work with a business continuity plan for emergencies and disasters. The delivery of orders is not affected by the crisis, as the company's main product lines are in the Americas, and most products and solutions are fully software-based, with no hardware components.


The transition to remote work was not difficult for our teams, as even before the crisis F5 led a work culture from home of at least one day a week, so the approach and means existed even earlier. Therefore the high level of productivity of the workers is maintained even during the crisis. Of course, the company's employees experience most of the challenges experienced by other Israeli citizens - I sometimes hold my board meetings with a child or two who sit on my lap - and do their best to integrate in any way possible into the conversation. An interesting challenge - but I gladly embrace it.


We significantly upgraded the work experience from home, provided technological means to enhance the experience, and expanded the use of tools that were available to the company’s employees as well. In addition, we maintain daily communication with all of our employees, including team and departmental meetings at least twice a week. This is in order to preserve the team spirit and human touch that is so important, despite the drastic changes in the habits of all of us.


Do you have any ideas and tips that can help others deal with the crisis?

In addition to minimizing employee exposure to the virus, it is important to emphasize the issue of business continuity. All critical applications should be reviewed to ensure availability including adequate capacity, network resources, and remote access. It should also address possible issues that may arise, such as insufficient bandwidth, too low VPN capacity, improperly ruggedized corporate laptops, and providing complete - without exception - remote work and access to all organizational resources.


Note that you have sufficient licenses for authentication solutions - including MFA authentication - to allow secure access to the critical applications (and also to those you do not consider critical, as they may be a breakthrough point for the organization). At the same time, make sure you guide employees about the tools at their disposal to be productive (many employees, especially in technology companies, will not always ask for help and try to solve the problems themselves - make sure they have the tools to do so). And most importantly, and above all, remain human. Remember that everyone, including everyone, is facing the crisis. Each in a different way. Employees, partners, and customers - should come first and foremost in such a period.


Coach Perry

Corporate Coach for employee engagement and diversity and inclusion

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