Cloudflare TV

Home Office TV

Presented by Amy Bibeau, Zanoni Harris
Originally aired on 

Join Amy as she provides you with a sneak peek into how the Cloudflare Team has been doing with the transition from daily office life to working from home. How is the team adapting to the shift? What do they miss and not miss about office life? What snacks are they eating? How has it been sharing a workspace with family or housemates? Tune in to find out!


Transcript (Beta)

Okay, we are live. Hi, I'm Amy Bibeau and welcome to Home Office TV. I am interviewing Zanoni Harris, who is one of our employees from our San Francisco office.

So, Zanoni, do you want to introduce yourself and let us know what your role is for Cloudflare?

Sure. Thanks for having me, Amy. Thank you. Yeah, my role here is IT Operations Manager for Cloudflare.

Kind of what that means is, you know, I'm leading the team for our day -to-day technical support, new hire orientations, procurement of equipment for everyone, basically making sure everyone can work and do their primary roles day-to -day.

How's that been going? That seems like there's been a big change in your, like, you know, some of us are just doing similar jobs from home, but, like, your, like, work profile has, like, shifted a lot now due to this global pandemic, correct?

Yeah, I mean, you know, our teams are all, you know, locally based at our offices in San Francisco, Austin, London, Singapore.

And, you know, going from supporting, you know, the entire company that we're working at the office to working remotely all over the world, that's definitely been a challenge.

And, you know, we've had to be very creative about how we, you know, help people on a day-to-day basis when they're all remote.


I think that I heard today that we onboarded 250 people in the second quarter.

So those people all used to come to San Francisco to get, you know, all of their gear and stuff like that.

So now you guys are like your own little mini, like, FedEx shipping station in San Francisco.

Like, how are you getting all that gear to people?

Like, is it all, are you shipping it all out from San Francisco? Yeah, so we actually have a relationship with vendors globally.

So we have, you know, a primary vendor we've used here in the U.S.

And then we have a vendor that we use in the U .K.

And then we have a group of vendors that we use in APAC. And so we moved from really, you know, handing out equipment physically to people at our offices to drop shipping them directly from the vendors.

So we have computer kits. We have things that we say, look, you know, every new hire should get a computer.

They should get security keys and certain, you know, accessories that they're going to need on day one.

And we give that information over to our vendors. And they actually do a lot of the heavy lifting as far as, you know, shipping it out and making sure it gets to those new hires.

Oh, good. So you're not, like, having to – I was imagining, like, you and your IT friends, like, actually having to physically, like, pack stuff up.

But I forget about, like, the wonders of, like, the modern world.

So you guys don't have to handle most of it. No, no. The majority of it is done through our vendors, you know, our vendor relationships.

We have very strong services that are set up through them to handle, you know, a global distribution of equipment to everyone.

We do still have to put stuff together for our employees if it's coming out of our inventory stock.

So every Friday we go in, there's a few of us that safely travel and wear masks but go onsite to, you know, either ship out laptops or accessories that people need or have them available if they wanted to pick them up.

So what's been the biggest, like, change for you, like, working from home?

Like, what do you like the most about, like, being at home and working from home?

Well, I used to commute from Vallejo to San Francisco, and that was, like, you know, an hour and a half one way, so three hours a day commuting.

And you'd think that you would enjoy not doing it. I thought I'd have more time.

You know, like, wow, I'm going to get three hours of my life back every day.

But, you know, with me and the team, we've actually been working, I think, more just because it's so easy to, you know, go to your desk, answer emails, answer direct messages from, you know, other team members or, you know, employees.

So it seems like, yeah, definitely we started working more working from home, which is a total surprise.

Oh, yeah. How do you create, like, a boundary between your home life and your office life when you're, you know, I mean, that's three hours of your life that apparently you didn't get back.

Yeah, I know. It's super important, I think, to, you know, create a workspace in your environment that you can step away from, that you can say, you know, I'm stepping away from my desk, and I'm going to go into my personal space and, you know, kind of take a break and try to get away from the computer or your phone or, you know, work-related stuff.

And, you know, not everyone has, you know, a home or they have a, you know, a smaller space that they have to work from at home.

And so it becomes really important to create that space so they can kind of step away from.

I know, you know, I work with my team on that and try to remind them that, you know, throughout the day they don't need to be at their desk 24-7, you know, and to take as much time as they need if they need it to de-stress and make sure that, you know, that they're taking the time they need to stay healthy and be mentally healthy.

And you're also taking the same advice.

Yes, yes, I do try to make a good example to the team. What do you miss the most about the office?

You know, I miss actually, you know, seeing people, being physically around and socializing with the team.

You know, we do our best to be in touch, communicating online and, you know, all our video tools that we have and conferencing tools is still not the same, you know.

So I do look forward to the Fridays when we do have to go into the office and, you know, either do an inventory, but we have a chance to actually see someone in real life again.


Yeah, it's kind of confronting, I think, all this alone time that has been, like, forced upon the humans.

You know, alone time for people like me. I have my own place, you know.

It's a tiny studio. It's like a box, but it's my little tiny box.

You know, and I miss, like, that kind of day-to-day activity. Like, you know, you have a structure, too.

Like, the office life for me gives me a structure that I didn't have for a long time.

Like, when I came to Cloudflare, it was kind of through an unconventional route.

So this is my first corporate job since, like, 2003, and it's been great, and I love the office.

We have such a great office. Like, it's such a shame, like, that these office spaces are sitting empty, even though I know people have been enjoying, like, not commuting and stuff like that.

But how do you structure your time?

Like, was that loss of structure hard for you, or was that, like, an easy thing to, like, figure out how you were going to, like, do your days?

I think it was, you know, very similar probably to a lot of people, is that I had a certain routine when we were working from the office, you know, getting ready to go to the ferry, get on the ferry, commute, walk, walk to the office and, you know, come back.

And that's all shifted. So, you know, you have to create a new routine, and you have to make sure that routine is something that allows you to create that space, that personal space that you may not get, you know, if you are continuing to work, you know, day in, day out.

So coming up with that routine, making sure that the team has a routine to, you know, step away and do, and to focus on their personal lives, because we still have that, and that's super important, to make sure you're still effective and coming to work with, you know, a full tank of gas, you know.

So, yeah, the routine is super important. It's just changed.

It's a different routine today than it was before working from home.

And then how did you end up at Cloudflare? Like, what was your journey? Like, how did you get into IT management, and how did you end up at Cloudflare?

Like, what was your impetus for, like, joining Cloudflare?

Well, I grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and right out of high school, you know, I decided to go to DeVry Technical Institute to get a bachelor's degree in computer information systems.

And I remember my dad, you know, when I told him that I'm leaving for Arizona to go to school, and he was super upset because, you know, why are you getting into computers?

Why are you, you know, why is this happening? I think it was more because I was leaving home, and I was his fishing buddy.

So, you know, I think that was more to do with that than it was for me choosing technology as my career.

But I'm grateful.

You know, I'm super lucky that I went that route. It was something that I was super interested in, you know, growing up.

From there, I've taken a lot of different technology positions, you know, being on the, you know, starting out as a technical, you know, technical support specialist with a company, moving into software development and engineering, and then being an IT manager right before this for a small business in the North Bay.

So the company I was with before, you know, I managed a group of engineers from tier one to tier, you know, senior level engineers to support over, you know, 60 different small businesses in the Bay.

So it was Cloudflare times 60.

You know, Cloudflare being a bigger business, but definitely having 60 different businesses to support has got its own challenges.

You know, you have different personalities, different requirements, different people.

So it was, you know, I'm grateful for the experience.

I think it helped me prepare for what I'm doing today.

And then what about the snacks? Are you missing any, like, particular snacks from the office?

Are you buying your own Diet Coke now? I am, I am.

Yeah, you know, on Fridays when I come to the office to meet with the team, you know, it's sad.

I was looking for my Diet Cokes, and they weren't there anymore.

But I'm actually trying to wean off of Diet Cokes and move towards something else.

But, yeah, I've had to come up with my own snacks. You know, I eat a lot of cashews, and I try to actually get the favorite snacks that I had at work at home.

Okay, so you have cashews. What else? Yeah, I think Nicole, when I was last there, she gave me, you know, like 50 seaweed little snack things.

So that was one of my favorites.

Oh, yeah, the seaweed snacks. I always tried to not buy those when I was buying things at the office because they make me so angry because it's, like, you know, a half of an ounce of seafood with, like, all this plastic, you know?

Oh, I didn't even realize that. It was already there, so it wasn't like cheap.

Yeah, I would always be like, oh, people would be like, oh, we're out of seafood snacks.

I'd be like, oh, yeah, Costco's out. Costco would be out a lot.

I just, when I was managing, like, the snack, not managing the snacks, but, like, more involved in the snacks, I've been trying to, you know, like, make them more healthy.

Like, how can we do this in a way that's less wasteful? I'm hoping that when we relaunch, you know, a snack program at Cloudflare that it can be, like, you know, like maybe less packaging, less plastic, and, you know, healthier.

But, yeah, those seafood snacks, people love them.

I just, you know, like, the plastic thing makes me sad.

Like, we need to find, like, a biodegradable plastic experience, and then, you know.

Yeah, I couldn't agree more. I mean, you know, making sure that whatever we're eating is sustainable.

You know, any type of way we can make a, you know, a positive impact on the environment I think is important.

Yeah, I, one of the questions I've been having with people, like, on this show is, like, there's been such a disruption, like, with the supply chain, like, that we've been realizing.

Like, now that we, you know, now that this pandemic has happened, people are staying home more, we're, you know, suddenly there was the toilet paper, you know, shortage in 2020.

People started realizing, like, just the complexity of, like, you know, the way that we move things around the world, you know, and, like, what is the necessity of that?

I'm hoping that, like, as the culture moves forward, people start to make different choices about, like, realizing, like, wow, do I really need all this stuff that's coming, you know, being shipped all the way from China to here, you know, in my life?

And so, even with, like, snacks and food, you know, it's my dream that we're going to move in a direction that's, you know, more sustainable and healthier for the beings on the planet, all of them.

What else do I want to ask you? Do you have any questions for my home office experience?

Sure, I mean, you said you have a studio, and I see all the plants.

Yeah, yeah, I'm obsessed with the plants. I'm obsessed with the plants.

I do this every thing, like, every show. I'm, like, showing my little plants off.

Like, they're my little babies, since I don't have any, like, human children.

I've been propagating them. I've been, basically, I've been propagating this little guy here.

It's a mantra plant. And then, like, it broke off, so I put it in water, and now it's growing little tiny roots in this bottle.

Very cool.

Yeah, so I've been growing plant friends and, yeah, having more oxygen in my space.

So, have you already started any new hobbies?

Like, I mean, even though you don't maybe have the extra three hours you thought you were going to have, like, with your time at home, like, has that pushed you towards, like, doing anything different or, like, any more creative hobbies?

Well, photography has been kind of what's been my focus lately, and I think it's just because my dad, you know, is a big photographer in his own hobby life, and I think it provides a connection with him.

So, you know, that's been really important for me, be able to kind of do something else other than work and focus on something creative.

I think creativity really kind of plays an important role in the things that we do today, especially, you know, as, you know, whatever your role is at Cloudflare or other companies, being able to tap into the creative side, I think, helps with, you know, problem solving on a day-to-day basis.

And, you know, just having that aspect, I think, really helps me in all areas of my life.

So, like, what does a typical day of, like, going to shoot photography look like for you?

Like, what are you shooting? What are you, like, what inspires you?

Like, do you have to get up really early? Like, what does that look like in the realm of photography?

I try not to put a lot of, too much planning into it.

I just want to pick up my camera and put on my shoes, walk out the door to the nearest trail, and just walk and, you know, kind of explore and kind of be present.

And if something, you know, really interests me that I want to take a picture of, I'll take a picture.

And it doesn't necessarily need to be super planned out.

There are things like, you know, this weekend, I'll probably drive out somewhere to go take some photos.

But that's basically just, again, throwing on my shoes, making sure I have a full tank of gas.

I have my camera with me and my tripod.

And I have my snacks. And try not to bring seaweed, because then...

Then what are you going to do, just throw it on the trail? Just kidding.

Yeah, so, yeah, I mean, I think the less you make, you know, you spend thinking about it, and you just do it.

And then you kind of figure things out along the way.

I was really into photography. I can relate to the picture. Like, I was really into that maybe...

It was one of the first creative portals, I think, that opened up for me in my life.

I started making jewelry and also started doing photography.

And I really like doing, like, reflections or landscapes, clouds, I'm obsessed with clouds.

You know, like, I want there to be clouds. I want them to be, like, dramatic.

You know, I'm kind of obsessed with these types of... Like, the marine lair.

I think the marine lair in the Bay Area, like, offers us a lot of, like, potentially, like, interesting...

But, like, that's another thing. I think, like, me, like, being in my little apartment, like, I don't get to see as much of the sky, like, every day.

Like, I was really... When this shelter-in-place first happened, did you really stay home a lot?

Were you really, like, at home, like, for a really long time, kind of by yourself?

Did you go through that, like... I was, you know, with everything going on and just kind of the unknowns of the coronavirus and, you know, what was going on with the communities in regards to it.

You know, there was a lot of, I think, things that weren't really figured out yet.

And so staying home and kind of making plans based on what information we have today was the best we could do.

So staying home, making sure that, you know, one, my family was safe, friends were...

You know, I talked to them a lot. So I've actually probably spent more time talking to my family and friends now to help me through, you know, my week.

Just because you don't have the same amount of physical interaction or social interaction you would normally before all this.

Right, so it takes more, like...

There's more of an impetus to, like, foster those connections and, like, show up for people, spend time, like, talking to them.

Because, yeah, we don't get...

There's just a lot less organic, like, social opportunities. One of the things we're looking at doing for Cloudflare for the summer here is organizing some gatherings and, like, some social distancing or physical distancing gatherings.

So you can look for that. Like, we're going to be putting out some feelers for people and some organizing, like, in different areas of the Bay and in different areas of the country where we have offices where we can try to, like, get, like, small groups of people together so they can socialize and try to keep it kind of cross-functional, cross-teams.

Because maybe people are interacting a lot with their teams, but they're not...

That's one of the things I miss is, like, just seeing people from all the teams.

Like, I was obviously at the front desk, you know, so I got to see everybody go by.

And that was fun. It was, like, fun to see the people and, like, what are they doing?

And, like, how... You know, like, it was kind of...

I don't think it's ever going to really be quite the same as it was. I'm curious to see what's going to happen with the economy in the Bay Area with all of, you know, so many companies moving to remote work and stuff like that.

Like, the rental prices are dropping.

There's a lot of vacancy in, like, apartments and stuff like that.

I'm curious. What do you think? Do you have any, like... Can you see the future at all?

Let me look into my crystal ball. I have a crystal ball. No, I think...

Look into mine. There we go. You know, I don't know. I mean, you know, I don't think anybody really knows.

And just my opinion, you know, we're in for, you know, obviously a change in the way things have been done in the past.

You know, the things that I think that we do or don't do today are going to be looked at, you know, tomorrow.

And we'll say, wow, in hindsight, you know, maybe we should have done it this way.

You know, but like I said, we can only, you know, make decisions with the information that we have today.

And we can try our best to kind of think of what's going to happen tomorrow.

But I think if we keep in mind that, you know, one, let's make sure, you know, we're all safe.

We're all doing the right things, you know, both from a community standpoint, for your team, for your family.

As long as we do those things, I think we're headed in the right direction.

No matter what life throws at us, just be prepared for the unplanned, right?

So that's the best we can do. Is there anything that you're optimistic about?

Like, have you even noticed any, like, good things that have come out of... Like, is there anything, like, for the future that you feel optimism about?

Yeah, I mean, I think my connection with my team has been really strong.

I mean, I think one thing we have to remember, too, is, you know, although I think communication has been, at least for me and my team, has been a lot more...

a lot more with everybody.

But it's also been more about work. And so it's important to plan, like, times to meet with your team or get them together for social interaction that's not necessarily work-related.

Like, we have something planned for tomorrow to get our Austin and San Francisco Tier 1 team together to just do, you know, a little game or, you know, kind of socially interact for an hour.

And we don't have to talk about work, you know?

We can just, you know, just be there for each other and talk about things that interest us, sort of, you know, outside of work.

And then how often do you get to be your dad's fishing buddy now that you have, like, embarked upon, like, a non-Alaska experience?

I'm actually going to Alaska in August, so I'll be traveling there with mask, as protected as I can.

And, you know, one of the things with going to Alaska if anyone else is going is, you know, they require you to be tested.

So I'll have to take a COVID test to make sure that, you know, it meets their requirements when I land in Anchorage.

So do you have to take the test here before you go and then bring the test results with you?

Either way. They provide testing there, so if you want to test there. But, you know, you'll have to wait for the results to come back and quarantine until then.

Is your dad excited to have you come back? My mom is. Your mom is? My dad's not a fuzzy, warm guy.

He's more intellectual. Is he going to watch this? I don't know, actually.

I gave it to my mom, so maybe she'll watch it. Right, right, right. So she's the fuzzy, warm one?

Yes, she definitely is. Does your dad like to fish? Does he like a lot of chatter in the boat, or does he prefer, like, a peaceful, quiet time?

You know, if he had to work from home today and he wasn't retired, I think he would be totally fine.

Yeah, he would be okay without all the people and just, like, being at home, like...

Yeah, yeah. He's someone that, you know, he'll go and hike for 30 miles or for two days on his own in the backcountry of Alaska and be totally fine.

And is it true that he got trapped in the Philippines for a while? For six months.

I thought he was going to become a Philippine citizen by the time he was done.

But, yeah, he was stuck there. They had completely locked down Philippines.

And my family's from an island there, so, you know, they completely locked down and shut down the airports.

Luckily, he's with, you know, my mom's side of the family, and he's well taken care of.

And he's a survivor. He can handle a lot of stuff.

Oh, but he did get home now? He did get home. My mom's very happy.

And then when you go to Alaska, you're taking vacation, right? You're not going to work from Alaska.

I hope so. I hope I can step away for two weeks. That's the plan.

I mean, right? Like, we get vacation time. Yes. I mean, just, like, turn off, you know, shut your computer.

Like, that's what I do, like, when my day is done.

I mean, I shut my laptop. Sometimes I'll check, like, what's happening in the chat rooms, you know, of our team, because sometimes we'll have, like, facilities stuff happen, like security.

Our security guards are a little wily sometimes.

Yeah, yeah. But I try to step away. Like, when I shut my computer from work, it's just like.

Super important to be able to, you know, shut off and tune out and, you know, spend time with family and your friends.

You know, the thing today is, you know, my team has also become kind of my friends as well.

So I'll stay in touch in that respect.

Right. You want to make sure everybody's doing good, but you're like, hey, you know, here's a picture that I took.

But, like, you might post something in the photography channel, but we're, like, hopefully, like, I'm not going to chat you and be like, Noni.

Yeah. Yeah, of course. Pictures aren't coming through right, you know.

Yeah, I'm grateful for the team that I have, because I wouldn't be able to step away, I think, for two weeks without, you know.

I know and I trust that they can do the day-to -day and I don't have to worry about it.

How many direct reports do you have?

I think, let me see. I have one in Singapore, two in London, two in Austin, and three here in San Francisco.

So that's eight.

Kind of math that I do, like, well. I mean, I can add basically, you know, Not a huge team, but that's something.

That's still a lot of people to be responsible for.

Yeah, and it's actually, you know, to their credit, they support, you know, the company globally.

And, you know, it's such a small team to be able to do what they do today is amazing.

Do you have any final, like, we have about two minutes left, but do you have any, like, final reflections on, like, if you could go back to the office, like, are you one of the people that wants to go back right away?

Are you happy to wait?

Like, right now at Cloudflare, we have, we've said January, like, 4th is the first day that anyone's going to really be required back in the office.

But, you know, we're also surveying people to see, like, who wants to come back.

Like, where are you at on that spectrum of, like, desiring to be back in the office versus, like, being pretty, like, content at your little nest in Vallejo?

Well, you know, I really have a strong feeling one way or the other. I think in the beginning, it was such a huge change that I was like, oh, man, I'm working so much more.

I wish we were back in the office. I could have some free time on my commute.

But now I'm on this other side of the spectrum and I've gotten a routine and things are becoming this normal instead of the old normal.

And, you know, I've kind of gotten it kind of figured out.

So going back to the office now kind of thrown me back into this other side of the spectrum again and now I have to kind of re-configure my life.

So either way, I think whatever's best for the team and for the company, you know, I'm more than happy to do what it takes.

Yeah, I think that's a good, you know, to be able to be flexible.

I know for me, like this being like my first corporate job, when I first started doing like the 40 hours a week, I was like, wait a minute, what?

Like, wait, what people have been doing? Like so many people have been like, that's their default for so long and like working parents.

Like I was taking a nap in the nap room, like on my break for sure, like whenever I could.

So it was like a lot to get used to that lifestyle. And then it was a big change when it went away and like now being at home and working from home has been pretty great.

So I'm curious to see the direction that we're gonna go with like the flexibility.

We're definitely moving towards a more flexible policy, which I think can never be bad.

So I think with that, we are gonna be wrapping it up but it was, thank you so much.

Hopefully we're not gonna get cut off, but thank you so much for joining me and being willing to tell us all like how this transition's been working out for you and thanks for all you do for Cloudflare and have a really, really good vacation when you go to Alaska.

I'm excited for you.

Thanks, Annie. Thanks for having me on. You're welcome. Have a really great day.

You too, bye. Bye. Bye.