- Adam Cheshier
Tanium Inc: Interview with Sarah Glickman
When the world stayed home, Tanium stepped up. Within the first two months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tanium helped the world’s most demanding organizations recover their operations and regain control and visibility of their endpoints. Since then, they have been reimagining how the company’s physical workplace can best serve its employees when normalcy returns. Below, we’ve shared highlights from our conversation with Sarah Glickman, Tanium’s Global Workplace Manager.
Q: Can you briefly describe what Tanium does?
Sarah Glickman: Tanium provides endpoint management and security built for the world’s most sophisticated organizations. Tanium is the only platform that provides real-time visibility, comprehensive control, and rapid response for IT leaders looking for manageability, security and insight into their endpoints.
Q: Are Tanium’s employees currently working remotely?
Sarah Glickman: Yes. As news of the pandemic surfaced, Tanium took early action and encouraged employees to work from home. By the time the shelter in place order went into effect, the vast majority of our workforce started to work remotely. In June, we made that transition permanent, announcing that we were moving to a remote-first model for our nearly 1,500 global employees.
Q: Did Tanium have a work-from-home component before COVID?
Sarah Glickman: We did. Prior to the pandemic, about 60% of our workforce was remote, however, our shift to a true remote-first mindset has put our remote worker program front and center. We want to ensure that we maintain our strong culture, and that our employees are supported, whether they’re in the office or at home. In transitioning our office workers to remote working, we found that we needed to expand our offerings, rethink our office set up, both in-office and remote, and find new and interesting solutions to keep our company culture thriving.
Q: How has the COVID work-from-home experience been?
Sarah Glickman: It’s been really interesting. It was that true feeling of a fire drill, where a new challenge is thrown at you, and you’re learning about it, while also putting new processes into place at the same time. We were experiencing many of the same things our customers were, and that’s part of the reason we’ve placed so much emphasis on helping them make the transition smoothly.
For the workplace team, on the in-office side of things, we spent a lot of time researching and implementing new programs to make the office safe and welcoming for our employees’ return. On the remote side, we’ve been working hard on developing a remote platform to help our employees feel comfortable in their new home-work environment with equipment and different wellness programs.
Overall, the experience has been challenging, but very rewarding. We had to tackle new challenges that no one had experienced before, and work together to find the right solution for our employees. In the end, it’s taught me a lot and I’m grateful for that.
Q: What kind of equipment did Tanium supply their remote workers with during the pandemic?
Sarah Glickman: We knew we had to take immediate action to keep the health and wellbeing of our employees top of mind. Our solution was to allow those office-dedicated employees to pick-up chairs, monitors, monitor stands, and any desk equipment they needed from the office to be successful at home.
Q: Do you feel that remote work has been better or worse than in-person work for productivity and the business as a whole?
Sarah Glickman: The company and employees have successfully supported the business through the remote transition this year. It’s been incredible to see what we’ve been able to accomplish while working remote, from launching a new product to hosting our annual user conference fully virtual.
However, when looking at it from an individual employee perspective, I will say mixed. There are some employees, and myself included, who prefer to be in the office or at least have the option to go into the office and collaborate live.
It can also be difficult to be home all the time and not have that human interaction. It also took me a bit to adjust to the new work environment. Working from home was foreign to me and I know others struggled as well. But, I think once we are able to re-enter the office, [the ability to work from home] has the potential to foster an improved work-life balance by providing flexibility.
Q: How has the culture been during the work-from-home shift?
Sarah Glickman: Our company has worked really hard to keep people connected and focused on culture and wellbeing. With the work-from-home shift, we are seeing the need to take action through various new programs and offerings. There are things like virtual meditation and yoga classes, as well as monthly team meetings that incorporate team building exercises. Our teams are continuously looking to expand our remote culture to make sure people are connected and able to focus on their personal well-being and internal connections.
I personally love our team-building activities at the start of each meeting. Not only are we meeting with people we may not talk to regularly, but we are meeting new team members we may have never worked with before. It’s nice to see that there is this very conscious effort to keep us connected and keep the Tanium culture strong.
Q: You mentioned yoga and meditation. Has Tanium planned any other activities for employees?
Sarah Glickman: Yes, aside from the popular Zoom happy hours, our HR team hosted events like, for example, an Earth Day event which included a ‘bring your kids to class,’ to learn about ways to protect the earth which was a huge success, and family yoga to include the little ones as well.
Q: Would you say that there are differing perspectives from different departments or seniority levels regarding the effectiveness of working from home?
Sarah Glickman: I would say that there are different perspectives on the preference of working from home and the desire to be in-office versus continuing to work remotely.
We have teams that are eager to return to the office and those that have found that they prefer working remotely, and are just as effective. Overall, I think our company has embraced the remote-first mindset and is committed to having the right tech and tools to support employees no matter where they choose to live and work. This also means we offer flexibility. Tanium will continue to have office space around the globe and provide an in-office experience for those employees who wish to utilize it. I think it is exciting. We’re focused on cultivating a people-centric work experience, letting employees choose where they want to live and work.
Q: As of right now, do you have a return-to-office timeline?
Sarah Glickman: Tanium is dedicated to putting our employees and their families first, which ultimately means we will plan on reopening offices for employee use as desired, once it is deemed safe to do so.
Q: Do you see the role of the physical workplace changing post-COVID?
Sarah Glickman: Yes. COVID has given us a lot of opportunity to really evaluate our work from home opportunity, our flexibility, and our physical office space. I think the work from home flexibility will ultimately build a better work life balance for all employees and I think that is really wonderful.
From an in-office, physical workplace perspective, we are seeing a lot of innovative solutions and programs trending in the commercial real estate world: things like bringing the comfort of the home to the office with alternative seating and wellness spaces, increased cleaning practices like electrostatic cleaning or UV lights, implementation of sensors for both air quality regulation and occupancy tracking, and check-in procedures with self-certification questionnaires. Though Tanium is still finalizing our office plan, these are some of the practices I have seen highlighted this year and what I believe people can anticipate hearing about in a post COVID workplace.
As a workplace professional, I must admit that it has been exciting to learn and develop a new view on the workplace while focusing on improvements to our office space and the employee experience. It’s been challenging and very rewarding.
Q: Are you doing any re-configuring of your office furniture?
Sarah Glickman: We are considering some reconfigurations to our office space. As we make the transition to a remote first workforce, we will focus on how to optimize our space for those employees who do wish to access the office for work, meetings, etc. We want to ensure that employees have a space that is easy to navigate, welcoming, and bridges the gap between home and office work life.
Q: Do you have plans to renovate your workplace?
Sarah Glickman: In conjunction with furniture reconfigurations and looking at how to best layout our space to accommodate these changes, there is potential for renovations, however, at this time we have not determined if renovations will be necessary.
Want to learn more about how other companies are navigating COVID? Don’t miss our previous conversations with:
● Tom Suro MCRw, a global real estate expert specializing in workplace strategy, facilities management, design and construction.
● Assal Yavari, LEED AP Senior Director of Global Workplace Management at Okta, Inc.