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What It Is Like to Onboard and Join the Duo Team Remotely

It seems like ages ago when social media feeds were laden with “new year, new me” content. The end of 2019 came with the typical fodder of what we hoped to accomplish and who we hoped to become in 2020. I was among them, starting off the year like many others, ready and determined to make this "my year." I was well on my way when February opened a bright new shiny green door — Duo Security offered me a job, (a dream job), taking the lead role for Internal Communications. I was wrought with nervous excitement, chomping at the bit to hit the ground running. This is my year!

I was slated to begin in early March. I started to prepare; reading everything I could about Duo and Cisco, poring over articles on the odds and ends of information security, from acronyms like MFA and SSO, to zero-trust endpoint remediation. But I couldn’t help but be distracted by day-to-day news, where I also learned some new terminology, like “social-distancing,” “flattening the curve” and “shelter-in-place.”

Ever had the first-day-at-a-new-job jitters? For me, that feeling typically ranges from ‘I barely slept last night because I was nervous’ to ‘I’m so excited to join this team.’ But throw in a global pandemic, and that feeling goes completely topsy-turvy. I was not sure what to expect.

I embarked on my new shiny career role just as the United States began grinding our "normal" lives to a halt. Starting a new job, especially one rooted in communication, meant there was no easing into the pool, so to speak. On March 7, I went to the Duo Office in Austin, Texas for my first day. I barely got my computer up and running, met my team and went to my welcome team lunch. It was a blur of new person setup activity. By the next day, March 8, I was told we are working from home as a precautionary measure and I went downstairs to work from my home office chair. I’ve worked from that same home office chair since. I never thought I would be onboarding remotely. But here I am.

Me (Amanda Todd) at my home office

Cisco + Duo’s response was swift and forward-thinking. Before the world was in mandatory “stay home” I saw the company’s leadership put people first and take all the protective measures possible to lessen the spread of the virus. As a global org, we make the technology that safely enables a remote workforce, so it makes sense that we moved from flex-time to full time remote. It was a no-brainer. In a crisis, communication is vital, so by day five, the team I had only just joined was mobilizing to spread a very important message: Cisco is putting people first.

Cisco has been a leader during this unprecedented crisis, putting people, customers, and community before all else. It took me less than five days, even in the midst of this unprecedented situation, for that nervousness to fall away, only to be replaced with sincere and intense pride for an organization I had only just begun to understand. Yes, I am onboarding remotely and it is not ideal, but it isn’t terrible either. In fact, it has been pretty smooth.

The great culture and kindness toward each other is something special and unique here. I’ve had several people who I haven’t met, and may not ever directly work with, reach out just to say “hello” or ask if I want to meet for virtual coffee, just because, and it feels very inclusive. It’s folks living up to Duo’s core value of being “kinder than necessary.”

Duo’s leadership has found clever ways to keep us connected through online exercise classes, live streaming DJs, dress up from home theme’s like “Tiger King” and mindfulness training, to name a few. They understand the importance of wellness and levity breaks as we all adjust to this new (temporary?) normal.


Duo founder Jon Oberheide dressed as "Tiger King" on Webex

There have also been weekly all-hands meetings where Cisco leaders talk directly and openly with top health professionals from Stanford University, providing helpful information for Cisco employees on how to stay safe, ask and get answers to questions and keep connected during these uncertain times. The transparency and sincere care for the physical and mental health of employees and their families is only one example of the compassionate leadership you’ll find here.

To feel so connected to an organization with hardly any face-to-face interaction – save for Webex meetings – stands as a testament to the underlying passion and kindness the people here have to offer. It’s proof that you don’t have to physically work inside the same walls to feel akin.

There’s no question that this pandemic will change us as a society, and will change the world of work as we know it. It already has. But social distancing doesn’t have to be the end of office culture — it just means we have the opportunity to recreate what connection to an organization could look like in the future. Duo, as a part of Cisco, has the playbook already well on its way.

We’re hiring! If your mission is collaborating with inspiring teammates, and creating and supporting products that make a difference, we want to hear from you. Join us. Learn more at duo.com/careers


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