Shift to Hybrid Work: How to Manage Constant Change

November 9th, 2022 | | 7:22
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The word hybrid is proliferating across industries and people’s lives. There are more hybrid engine-powered cars. More companies are turning to hybrid cloud IT for the flexibility to run applications and data on premises or in public IT services. And there’s hybrid work, a major recent change in the workplace, where companies empower employees to work both inside and outside the office. How do companies manage change in the future of work?

“We have to be good at hybrid everything,” said Wendy Pfeiffer, CIO of Nutanix. In the first of a five-part Tech Barometer podcast series, Pfeiffer shares the wisdom she’s gained from running IT for a hybrid-first company. 


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Find more enterprise cloud news, features stories and profiles at The Forecast.

Wendy Pfeiffer
It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world. It’s a hybrid hybrid hybrid hybrid world. Like everything is about that.

Jason Lopez
Wendy Pfeiffer is the CIO of Nutanix. Like many of us during the pandemic, something shifted with her, not only personally but in her professional life as the leader of an IT organization.

Wendy Pfeiffer
People of a certain age, I’d say gen X and older, we’ve been going through sort of a societal version of a midlife crisis where we realize that we have changed, but we don’t know where we fit in this new world.

Jason Lopez
There were all sorts of news ways of doing things during the pandemic… how we bought things, how we saw a doctor, how we conducted meetings. She points out, from her view overseeing an IT team, something in the past couple of years changed us.

Wendy Pfeiffer
They’ve changed the nature of work, the nature of reputation, the nature of collaboration. They’ve also stripped away some of the constructs that we had built around what makes a good worker and a bad worker, a good teacher, and a bad teacher, a good parent and a bad parent, a good right? All of those constructs have been stripped down to their basics and we’ve learned about our relationships and our reputations and so on. At the same time, we’re the leaders of the mid to large size companies. Our struggle is to figure out how to pour the new wine back into the old wineskins.

Jason Lopez
But Wendy didn’t go there. She didn’t announce to her team, when it became possible, to go back to the practices they followed before Covid hit. In 2020 there was a quickly growing “future of work” movement of which Wendy was a part of.

Wendy Pfeiffer
You cannot pour new wine into old wine skins. It breaks the old construct. And so if we take these changed human beings of our generation, and we take the millennials and especially gen Z, who are acculturated in these times, who are digital natives, and we bring them back into the old work construct, they will break the construct which they are doing in droves.

Jason Lopez
Long ago, it was predicted that video phones would be the common way of communicating. Despite the technology arriving, that never happened… until COVID. There have been many other changes brought on by our recent public health emergency. But if you talk to people in the “future of work” movement, the times are changing simply because of a new generation. A few years ago McKinsey predicted that by 2026 about 60 percent of tech workers globally would be millennials or gen Zs. This is something Wendy was getting in front of before the pandemic.

Wendy Pfeiffer
Then there’s the special version of gen Zs. The COVID gen Z, who are entering the workforce. Now they have been able to be productive fully digitally. And so when we bring them back into a physical construct, they are less productive than they were before and that’s measurably so. S o now we start thinking about if it’s a human being augmenting a machine in a manufacturing situation, we already know that the human is the least efficient component in that production line. But if you’re talking about a knowledge worker, the knowledge worker is the productivity component in that production operation. And so what principles of human operation lead to better productivity and there’s science on that.

Jason Lopez
Wendy studied workspaces – whether physical ones on site at Nutanix or virtual workspaces or the kinds of spaces employees might be in such as a home office. She studied how these could help in her mission.

Wendy Pfeiffer
My mission is to enable the company to undertake its business operations, using technology, and to enable employee productivity with technology. That’s what I’m paid for. If I don’t do that well, especially in this hybrid world, if the technology disables or under enables productivity, then that’s a competitive disadvantage for my company and we don’t survive.

Jason Lopez
The challenge of managing change is not necessarily to change things and then help people cope. Few people like dealing with change. It might be the issue he isn’t be that employees need to adapt. When Wendy says Nutanix is committed to becoming world class at managing change, she means the company adapts to its workforce as much as the workforce adapts to the company. One of her strategies is to avoid jumping on every new hot app for her team but to provide a few anchor applications that establish a foundation.

Wendy Pfeiffer
For example, one of those is Microsoft outlook for our calendaring. Another is zoom for our audio, visual collaboration. Another is slack for our text based collaboration and another is simpler, which is our in intranet portal. And so if I’m going to, for example introduce a new audio visual feature, I’m going to introduce it via zoom via the zoom marketplace integrated into that zoom marketplace. And I’ll, I’ll share some examples of how we’re doing that. So that a as an employee, once I know how to use zoom, I will expect to see zoom everywhere. I’ll expect to see it in conference rooms at work, and while I’m on the road on my mobile phone, and while I’m at in my home office, on my computer and so on, I’ll expect to see zoom everywhere. And from time to time, new features will show up in zoom, but it’s easier for me to consume those features, even if they introduce new principles of work, as long as they always show up in the same way in the same place.

Jason Lopez
The second thing about managing change is that Nutanix is doubling down on its principles of simplifying… whether its single pane of glass or even making technology invisible.

Wendy Pfeiffer
We’re going to handle the integration of data, of workflows, of access, et cetera, invisibly. In the back end, we have some tools we use for that. We use ServiceNow, we use Splunk, et cetera, but we want the switching from application to application, to application and the sharing of data to be just as invisible in the workplace, as it is on my iPhone, my iPhone, for example, very granularly shares access to my photos, my contacts, my haptics preferences, et cetera, to any of the apps that I’m running on that iPhone without me having to log into them separately. For the most part, even the access controls might be a simple access control that I can enable like facial recognition. And so we want to try to bring those same principles to everything we’re doing in the workplace. Even if I am changing from mode to mode and I have to authenticate again, it’s all it’s using those same tokens, those same principles. I can share, you know, we’ll, we’ll do a heavy lift in the back end to make sure we’re sharing data securely, et cetera, but that should be just invisible. It should just simply work for our employees. So those are the two ways that we’re focused this year in managing change at Nutanix.

Jason Lopez
Wendy Pfeiffer is the CIO of Nutanix. In this brief series we’re going to introduce you to the initiative – or you might call it and experiment – on the future of how IT teams work. This is the Tech Barometer podcast, produced by The Forecast. Look us up for more in this series with Wendy at

Transcript Read/Download the transcript.

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Posted in: Audio Podcast, Cloud Computing, Tech Barometer - From The Forecast by Nutanix