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The CEOs of major American firms are working from home as they self- isolate during the coronavirus pandemic. Chief executives who might be rushing to meetings in SUVs or private jets instead are hosting video conferences in makeshift home offices. While coping with their private lives, these CEOs try to keep their companies strong, protect their employees and deal with supply chains disruptions. The New York Times’ David Gelles offers a glimpse into the lives of those at the top of the corporate pyramid trying to get an internet signal from the laundry room.

About the Author

David Gelles writes the Corner Office column and other features for The New York Times’s Sunday Business section.



CEOs are managing their companies from home.

Sundar Pichai, who oversees Google and YouTube as the chief executive of Alphabet, works from a beautiful home office in Silicon Valley with built-in bookcases and a large plant. It seems appropriate for the CEO of one of the most important internet companies.

He seeks to keep disinformation to a minimum and, with most of his employees working from home, to keep web services running well amid high demand. Pichai reports a “spike” in usage of Google’s G-Suite and Hangout. He notes that an added responsibility while he’s working at home is helping his teenage daughter cope with the current circumstances.

“Nobody prepares for this.” 

Chuck Robbins, is the CEO of Cisco, which manufactures and runs networking equipment. While proud of his corporation's role in teleworking, he admits he’s not sure he was prepared to work online fulltime.

In the face of soaring customer demand, Cisco has set up teams to make sure large companies experience smooth remote communications for function that range from individual conversations to high-level...

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