What’s it like to take a company with 3,000 employees distributed across 25 offices and make it fully remote with just a few weeks’ notice?

I hopped on a call with Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson to hear about how their transition has gone so far, and what he’s learned from the process.

Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson

Remote work isn’t brand-new for Twilio; as with a lot of software companies, many employees have worked remotely. But it’s still a massive shift: Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Lawson says around 10% of the company worked remotely. Today, it’s everyone.

“For a company like us to go from partially virtual to fully virtual in a short period of time,” he says, “it’s not without its hiccups, but it has worked pretty well.”

Things are weird for everyone right now, so compassion is key

Shifting to remote work might make things feel different for a while — but those differences pale in comparison to the other changes people are coping with in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think the fact that you are distributed is lesser than the fact that you’re like, not allowed to go outside,” says Lawson. “You’re worried about friends and family and you’re reading the news… those things are more impactful.”