Take a behind-the-scenes look at how Love’s mobilized its corporate workforce during a pandemic
As the COVID-19 pandemic was ramping up earlier this year, Love's took proactive measures to help protect employees and customers. For the hundreds of employees at the corporate offices in Oklahoma City and Houston, this meant transitioning to working from home.
More than 90 percent of Love’s corporate workforce is now working remotely.
"This was a pretty big change for a lot of our corporate departments," said Scott Wright, Love's director of information technology infrastructure. "We wanted to ensure every employee had what they needed for a seamless experience."
The conversation about moving most of the corporate offices to remote work began in late February when Scott and his teams realized they needed to make big changes to the IT infrastructure's capabilities. Early on, Love's anticipated supply chain disruptions due to the virus and secured additional laptops and other hardware. As a result, hundreds of employees who didn't already have laptops or other mobile devices were able to pick one up at the IT warehouse.
"We prioritized some of our larger departments first, including accounting and the customer engagement teams," Wright said.
Beyond the hardware, IT had to ensure there would be enough virtual private network (VPN) capacity for everyone to log on from home. Love's was able to switch its VPN capabilities to its larger data center. This allowed the number of simultaneous VPN users per day to more than double from about 750 employees before the pandemic to more than 1,600.
Love's IT teams set the company up to succeed with a remote workforce thanks to changes made before anyone had even heard of the COVID-19 virus. Late last year, Love's updated its Webex teleconferencing application to be cloud-based, making it even easier to collaborate and have video meetings. In addition, more employees have been using the new Webex mobile app.
Earlier in 2019, Love's employees began using Microsoft Teams, allowing for group instant message chats, voice calls through the computer and document sharing. To ensure corporate employees don't miss any calls on their office phones, they can set up call forwarding to their mobile phones in just a couple minutes.
As the number of COVID-19 cases have dramatically risen, so has the amount of virus-related fraud. Love's IT security department has helped defend Love's and its employees from scams by educating everyone about email phishing scams, how to secure home networks and more.
IT's proactive COVID-19 measures haven't just focused on corporate office employees. Depending on a state and town's specific mandates, Love's has been able to adjust its point-of-sale technology in stores to offer services outside the building.
In January, before the number of COVID-19 cases began to dramatically increase in the United States, Love's began rolling out new credit card reader technology. This update cut transaction times in half and reduced the number of customers waiting in line, making it easier for everyone to follow social distancing.
Wright is not surprised by Love's success in making the transition while still providing excellent service to customers.
"I'm proud of all of the IT teams for rallying around the issue at hand. It's just another example of Love's culture of having a strong work ethic with a lot of hustle," he said. "Everyone is willing to dive in and do what it takes to find and execute on the best solutions."