Why remote-first ecosystems need better IT procurement services

For most people, the definition of the workplace has changed drastically in the past two years. COVID changed the labor landscape faster than any other event in the past three decades and as the dust starts to settle, many companies are starting to consider going fully remote or at least hybrid in the near future.

Many factors come into play when making this kind of decision. Costs are, as always, one of the most important aspects, but other issues, such as talent acquisition, productivity, and engagement also weigh in. Turns out many employees prefer remote work environments that allow them to keep a healthy work-life balance that used to be impossible, and many of those employees are very valuable and hard to replace.

This transition may prove to be beneficial but has its caveats. Remote companies work in a completely different way and that’s mainly because of three key factors; distance, connectivity, and space. Remote teams are rarely located in the same city or even in the same country. Some remote workers move around or settle in places that offer benefits such as affordable rent, proximity to their families, or better quality of life. When it comes to space, workers often prefer flexible setups that can be easily moved. And finally, connectivity needs to be optimal since most meetings will be conducted via Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams.

In a perfect world, companies would just send their employees a computer and that would be enough to get the job done, but much like the old office space, things are not that simple. Remember the IT department that used to fix your laptop when it malfunctioned? Or the area where you used to ask for a new mouse when your old one stopped working? In remote environments, those services may still be there, but they work in a very different way.

Replacing your old mouse or fixing your laptop becomes a matter of logistics and optimized IT support services that need to work together to deliver what people need when they need than when they need them while also providing tech support and warranty services that can take care of any damages.

There are other significant barriers. Navigating through international legal procedures, taxes, local labor laws, compliance challenges, and above all, creating the proper setup to allow talented employees to work at full capacity without running into any significant issues. In a remote-first environment, every employee (or contractor, depending on your legal standpoint) has different needs and issues to consider and they are all important to guarantee engagement and productivity.

When it comes to supplying employees, companies can choose to optimize their existing workforce to satisfy the demands of remote-first teams, but that decision is usually very complex because in-house employees are not properly trained to solve the type of issues that arise.

That is why companies are starting to rely on businesses dedicated exclusively to solving IT procurement and tech support demands as a way to optimize their global teams. This also allows businesses to expand their reach as they can hire people from other parts of the world without worrying about logistics or legal barriers.

Netuniverse was one of the first companies that created an IT procurement marketplace and Provisioning and Collection services specially designed to establish, supply, and upgrade remote and hybrid teams on a global scale, offering businesses the possibility to expand their reach and hire talented workers in other countries.

Companies all over the world are implementing this type of service to support their remote efforts.  Some, like Twitter, are even allowing employees to work remotely if they choose to, even after COVID restrictions are lifted.

The new work revolution will bring new and exciting opportunities for companies and employees alike, but for it to work, businesses need to change the way they supply and support their workforce, creating better and stronger logistic networks to provide efficient services that will provide teams with the right tools and proper support to get the job done.

Early adopters like Twitter have proven that this can be implemented not only in the tech business, but also in other types of companies that have the potential to go remote such as sales, legal firms, call centers, marketing, and ad agencies, and consulting firms.

Remote Work Leveled The Playing Field: How Companies Can Continue To Adapt

Co-Founder of One WiFi. Author of the new book Remote Work Technology: Keeping Your Small Business Thriving From Anywhere

For my new book, Remote Work Technology: Keeping Your Small Business Thriving From Anywhere, I interviewed business leaders across the U.S. who had to take their entire companies remote during the shutdowns.

Many already had some people who worked from home, but most had not taken the whole organization remote. The shift revealed quite a bit about how work was being done as well as who some of the top performers were. It also revealed a number of the inequities of the traditional way of working in the office. Leaders discovered that some of the employees they thought were high performers were people who rode on the work of others when they were in the office environment.

The shift caused many leaders to re-evaluate how they were measuring performance. In the end, it turns out that the sudden shift to remote work was a blessing in disguise for many organizations.

Below are some additional insights based on what I learned during my interviews, as well as my advice on succeeding in the continuing remote work journey.

Changes In Management Methods

Although remote work has a long history, a Gallup poll in early March 2020 showed that only 31% of workers had ever worked remotely. That means that when Covid-19 was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020, management of large teams of remote workers wasn’t commonplace. A massive spike in remote work occurred soon after. By the end of the month, more than 60% of those polled reported working remotely.

It’s one thing to manage an occasional work-from-home employee, but suddenly switching operations to be fully remote took serious management adaptation. Part of the challenge was changing how they gauged productivity and the performance of remote team members.

Collaborating over distances had to be worked out. Staying engaged with teams was a must. This forced both policies and management styles to step up and change to meet the demand of the day.

Digital Footprints

As many managers switched to goal-based and results-based methods of gauging productivity, it became clear that being in an in-person collaborative environment allowed many underperformers to fly under the radar. As their teams completed projects, they reaped the rewards of work largely done by others while contributing little of their own.

Once working from home became commonplace, remote work technologies forced company leaders to see work being done from a different point of view. The applications being used left a trail to follow. The digital footprints highlighted who the work came from and when. This allowed managers to better see who uploaded new documents and who added changes to those documents. With Slack channels and chat rooms, it became easy to see who was actively engaged with their peers, who was contributing new ideas and who was stepping up to take on additional tasks.

Rising Stars And Hidden Gems

At the same time, many leaders found that those who before had seemed less engaged with the company because they were more introverted became much more outspoken in video meetings. During their work-from-home periods, it appears that many introverts didn’t feel as intimidated by energetic extroverts, who in the traditional office environment tended to drown them out.

Many introverts felt more comfortable speaking up and became more verbally engaged. They felt less pressure to be “on” and charismatic when surrounded by a group of people. For introverts, feeling forced to interact and socialize can be draining. The extra personal space allowed by remote work allowed introverts to better maintain their energy levels and feel more comfortable adding to conversations.

Deeper Work

The added personal space also had positive effects on productivity. It not only allowed remote workers to increase the amount of time they had for creative thinking, but it also created opportunities for them to do deeper work.

Deep work periods are when employees can do more focused work, free from the distractions of peers and others around them. It allows them to harness more of their mental resources and use them to do higher-quality work on whatever task they’re concentrating on.

The Virtual Workplace Is A Continuing Journey

When the shutdowns happened, there were some bumps in the road, but companies figured things out and found ways not only to only survive but also to thrive while they were working remotely. Employers found new ways to stay engaged with their teams, keep up productivity and enhance the employee experience. 

The work-from-home journey is far from over, though. Remote work is something that’s ever-evolving. As we move to hybrid work models, it’s vital that companies are willing to lean into the flexibility that they will need to cultivate success. Adjusting policies, work hours and management styles to meet the changing needs of hybrid and fully remote employees will ensure that company goals are also met. 

Maintaining high levels of authentic engagement with remote workers is key to the success of your teams. Offering regular feedback followed by recognition and appreciation helps team members feel valued and helps them understand that they’re vital parts of the company. Team leaders must be proactive in their engagement. You can’t wait for feedback to come to you. Instead, you must actively solicit feedback from your teams and then act on that feedback. 

As I learned during my interviews, effective company leaders call on their soft leadership skills to guide their management of the virtual workplace. Actively listening with empathy, being willing to learn more about the goals of individuals on your teams and emphasizing interpersonal skills are huge motivators for remote workers. 

With a distributed workforce, the goals of the company and the goals of the employees must be aligned. Leadership that focuses on valuing people and being empathetic to their needs will ensure that the whole company thrives both now and in the long term.

Why Google is betting big on video conference optimization

Do you remember your first conference calls? The poor audio quality, unbearable delays, and the way no one quite knew how to handle the situation probably made you think that was hardly going to catch on. Fast forward to 2021 and suddenly we all just can’t imagine a world where we need to go back to a room full of people that commuted for 45 minutes just to see a 50-page long PowerPoint presentation.

Videoconference technology has come a long way, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Yes, Remote meetings are the new normal, but that was mostly due to the pandemic and the need to stay indoors for an excruciatingly long amount of time.

With the end of mandatory lockdowns, we finally have the chance to reinvent the way we work for good, and for that to work, the companies responsible for making it happen have to step up to the plate and change the game for good. 

One of those companies is, of course, Google, which recently teamed up with Avocor to add two new devices to the Series One family, specifically designed to improve remote and hybrid work experiences. Google Meet Series One Desk 27 and Board 65.

Both devices are designed to work with the Google Meet teleconference software that was introduced in September. 

This is not the first time the tech giant has partnered with a company to create better devices. Their previous partnership with Lenovo led to the creation of a camera, soundbar, and touchscreen remote. Their newfound deal with Avocor makes the situation abundantly clear. Google wants to win the videoconference race, and they want to win big. 

Both devices include a custom Google Edge TPU chip in addition to the standard Intel Core i5. The Series One Desk 27 is a 27-inch display that has custom speakers, mics, a camera, and a touchscreen while the Board 65 is a 65-inch giant all-in-one touchscreen with an ultra-responsive UHD LCD screen.

The most interesting thing about their new line of Series One products is that they are specifically created to build better collaboration environments. This means faster response time, better video and sound quality, integrated intelligence, and a whole lot of features created to promote teamwork. 

While some may see this as just another market Google wants to capitalize on, the truth is there may be more to it than just diversification. Google CEO Sundar Pichai published an article in May about how to improve hybrid work, reshaping the usual approach. 

On the matter of flexibility, Pichai commented

“For more than 20 years, our employees have been coming to the office to solve interesting problems — in a cafe, around a whiteboard, or during a pickup game of beach volleyball or cricket. Our campuses have been at the heart of our Google community and the majority of our employees still want to be on campus some of the time. Yet many of us would also enjoy the flexibility of working from home a couple of days of the week, spending time in another city for part of the year, or even moving there permanently. Google’s future workplace will have room for all of these possibilities.”

So, there you have it. The future of work will probably have room for all possibilities, at least for now and at least at Google. If we follow the money, it becomes abundantly clear that tech companies are starting to realize we are in a transitional period and that is a huge opportunity to spearhead significant changes. 

As with every new development, it will take a while to adjust our century-old work format to fit the requirements of a new kind of labor force. Better hardware and software will accelerate an already fast-paced process and probably lower the cost of switching to fully remote and hybrid work environments.

If you are interested in upgrading your remote work experience, Netuniverse has some of the best and most affordable hardware and software technology available. Check out our marketplace to find everything you need to work better, no matter where you are.

Webex & Google Meet: Inclusive experiences through embedded interop

Inclusive experiences through embedded interop

Over the past year, we’ve focused on our goal at Webex to empower inclusive collaboration. This is more important than ever in today’s hybrid world. Inclusivity means many things to many people, but at its core, it is to simply provide equal access to opportunities and resources. To me, this includes providing collaboration with an open platform – with open arms, if you will – to interoperate with multiple meeting platforms and productivity tools that our global village uses. Today, I’m excited to announce another step with inclusivity: Webex has partnered with Google Workspace to provide embedded video interoperability to enable user choice and drive boundless collaboration.

The reality is that people need workflows they can control; not ones that control them. This is more important than ever as we have extended our workplace well beyond the conference room and into our homes or hot-desks leading to less in-person interaction and an increase in remote meetings from different platforms any given day.

In a recent customer meeting, the CIO told us while 80% of meetings conducted happen on their preferred platform, 20% take place on other meeting platforms. And what about the customers that want or need to use a meeting provider that’s different from their video hardware provider? For example, in the past, there were extra steps involved to join your Webex Desk Pro to Google Meet. Our announcement today takes out those extra steps and makes it that much easier to focus on your work and not how you work.

Collaboration tools must enable productivity; not deter it with the friction of silos. This is precisely why today we’re unveiling interoperability between Google Workspace and Webex. Together we’re easing this burden for our joint customers. People can now natively join Google Meet video calls from Webex Devices and in reverse, Webex meetings from Google Meet video hardware.

Join Google Meet video calls from Webex Rooms devices

Picture a customer using the Google Workspace suite simply scheduling a meeting in Google Calendar or any supported calendar client. If using Google Meet, the meeting can be joined from a Webex Device with the click of a button. It’s that simple – maintaining the experience that customers of Webex Devices have come to expect. 

When the meeting is approaching, the Webex Device displays the green One Button To Push (OBTP) prompt together with the Google Meet logo. This bypasses the need to enter meeting details, like a password or meeting ID. Devices registered to Webex (directly or through Webex Edge) can connect to Google Meet with media and signaling going directly from Google’s cloud to the Webex device and leveraging WebRTC technology.

By Cisco

Join Webex Meeting from Google Meet devices

The same works with Webex meetings on Google Meet devices as well. Google’s commitment to advancing WebRTC is key in enabling this easy and rich experience with Webex from Google Meet devices, bringing customers greater choice and flexibility in video communications.

To join a scheduled Webex meeting from any Google Meet hardware device, a user would simply add the room or device to the meeting invite. When the meeting approaches, it will automatically appear on the device’s agenda with the words “via Webex by Cisco.” The user would simply tap that meeting on their device and immediately join the Webex call. To join an ad-hoc Webex call, the user would tap ‘Find a meeting’ on their device, select Webex, and enter the desired meeting code.

When joining a Webex meeting from a Google Meet hardware device — either scheduled or ad-hoc — users will enjoy the seamless join experience and familiar Google Meet UI and call controls. Embedded interoperability with Webex is supported on the Google Meet Series One Desk 27 and Board 65 as well as the rest of the Google Meet hardware portfolio.

At Webex we’re laser-focused on providing the best possible customer experience to our customers — regardless of device or meeting platform. Thanks Google Workspace, for the collaboration that offers customers yet another positive experience. Together, we’re committed to empowering an inclusive future for all.

Author: Snorre Kjesbu

For B2B sales, the future is digital


By Julian Abuin

Before the pandemic, B2B sales usually involved many in-person meetings. It wasn’t a requirement per se, but there was a certain expected behavior both from sellers and buyers, demanding face-to-face interactions to build trust and affinity.

Then came COVID, and suddenly entire industries were forced to go digital almost overnight. Over the last year and a half, B2B buyers and sellers adapted to remote work, adopting new behaviors, and even perfecting the art of making massive deals remotely. For many power players, this phenomenon kickstarted a digital shift that would not have been possible if it wasn’t for mandatory quarantine restrictions.

Now, with many countries lifting quarantine bans and opening their offices, some companies are deciding to adopt digital interactions indefinitely, arguing in favor of remote engagement as a better, more efficient way of making business.

A recent study made by McKinsey & Co showed how COVID-19 has changed B2B sales forever, stating that “For B2B sales, digital is the wave of the future.”

Safety is, of course, one of the main reasons, but those concerns are merely circumstantial since eventually (we hope, at least) the pandemic will be over and people will be able to carry on as before. 

Probably the biggest reason has to do with demand. Buyers have also adapted to the new digital environment and right now, companies are doing everything they can to offer the best deals and platforms for their customers to keep them engaged and satisfied. Since the digital environment is more about performance and less about PR outreach, people are opting for suppliers that can offer the best value for their money, and that is an entirely different game.

New technologies, specifically eCommerce platforms are another important aspect that ultimately shifted the balance. Before COVID there were many B2B focused platforms and apps, but they targeted a smaller base. Right now, B2B sites have adopted a “catch-all” strategy designed to attract businesses that were not open to the idea of remote sales before. Thanks to that, self-service is becoming easier and more attractive because it demands less manpower and guarantees a certain level of engagement, one that can be easily measured and improved over time.

And last, but certainly not least, is the overall perception that digital will quickly become the new normal. This notion pushes companies to adapt and optimize their workforce to work remotely or at least in hybrid environments, which generates new demands like better IT Procurement services, new profiles for future employees, an overall reduction of their prior infrastructure, and the possibility to expand their reach to regions where they have no representation of infrastructure at all. All because they know customers prefer a 15-minute zoom meeting to an hour-long face-to-face presentation.

Of course, every company is planning to go remote, at least not in the short term. Many early adopters will certainly build trust over time and convince partners and customers to migrate to fully remote interactions, but there is still a long way to go for this to become the status quo.

One thing is certain, we have come a long way since 2019.

Why Chromebooks are becoming the hottest remote work commodity

There is still an ongoing debate about how the pandemic will change the workspace for many industries. The McKinsey Global Institute published a very interesting analysis about what’s next for remote work in nine countries, concluding that “Hybrid models of remote work are likely to persist in the wake of the pandemic”.

The modern workspace is shaping up to be hybrid-oriented at least in many developed countries. especially in those where industries that have a high potential for remote work adaptation. From finance to, IT, management, and real estate, it is likely that this trend will go on and become the new normal for many workers.

In labor markets that are quickly shifting towards collaborative and digital cloud-based workspaces, Chromebooks are becoming one of the smartest choices for companies that want their employees to work remotely. With almost no configuration requirements, these cloud-centric laptops are fast, versatile, and affordable, three things that are essential for businesses that want to provide their employees with the means to work comfortably and from virtually anywhere, providing they have an internet connection.

So, should you consider Chromebooks to improve your remote work experience? Let’s dive in.

What is a Chromebook?

A Chromebook is a type of laptop designed for speed, versatility, and portability. They run on an operating system called Chrome OS. The Google operating system is focused on cloud storage, multiple security layers, and google built-in apps that allow users to work in collaborative environments. Chromebooks work with G Suite and other productivity and meeting solutions. They also work directly with the Google Play App Store to allow users to download and install many apps that can potentially enhance their remote work experience. That being said, Chromebooks are not equipped for heavier programs like editing software since they don’t have dedicated graphic cards. But when it comes to writing documents, making data sheets, or creating business presentations, they work like a charm.


Do they work offline?

Yes, though Chromebooks are designed as cloud-based laptops, users can also work offline and sync their files to the cloud when they get access to an internet connection. While offline, users can write notes, read, and write emails, create new spreadsheets, slides, and documents, review and create new events on their calendars, and many other tasks.

Why should I get a Chromebook instead of a regular laptop?

Well, it depends. If you are a company that is looking for an affordable alternative to set up a remote workforce that needs to work collaboratively without having to spend hours on end configuring accounts, permits, and keys, then Chromebooks are an option worth considering.

If you are a freelancer looking for a laptop you can take anywhere, then yes, Chromebooks are worth your time. With over 13 hours of battery life and built-in malware protection, an average Chromebook can be booted in less than 10 seconds. Plus, most of their software is free.

If you work with editing, design, gaming, or any other heavy-duty programs, then you should probably look into other laptops that are better equipped for that purpose.


How many models are there?

There are a lot of Chromebook models, and their specifications vary depending on their price and brand. The average price is between $200 and $800. Some, like the Acer Chromebook 13 Spin Cp713 offer a Gorilla Glass touchpad and can be used as a tablet for presentations and entertainment while other can be more affordable alternative without sacrificing battery life or cloud storage. The Verge recently created a list of the best Chromebooks in 2021 that is worth checking out If you are considering switching models.



Chromebooks are a great alternative nr remote workers and digital nomads and companies that want an affordable alternative to equip their hybrid of fully remote workers. They are computers that enhance synergy and security, two fundamental aspects to consider when creating teams that need to work collaboratively daily. Also, Chromebooks are specifically designed to work with G-Suite, so, switching to this type of laptop will surely provide a seamless transition.

Remote workers are shaping the future of it equipment

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been debating whether all the changes related to hybrid and remote work were here to stay or simply a byproduct of necessity that would quickly fade away once life got back to normal.

Today, at least in many western countries, life is slowly but surely resembling what it used to be back in 2019. Yet, companies are struggling to convince their employees to go back to the office and some workers are even threatening to quit their job if they are forced to return to their prior in-house duties.

So, this debate begs the question; Is the future of work at home? Is it a hybrid model? or are we just going to go “back to normal” in a couple of months? The answer probably has a lot to do with one very big condition; Access to IT equipment.

Let me elaborate. A company that hires remote workers needs to equip them, provide 24-hour tech support (often multilingual), have a reliable IT procurement marketplace, fast shipping for when something needs to be upgraded or replaced and even if all of that goes right, the person working from home needs to have access to basic infrastructures like decent broadband.

Supplying and sustaining an efficient everywhere workforce will most likely be even more of a challenge in the near future. According to a study made by Gartner, the use of multiple devices in remote work environments can enhance productivity. The study also predicts that by 2024, workers will use at least four different device types for remote working.

Even in hybrid work environments, companies will need to make big adjustments if they want to boost productivity and engagement, and that means better IT equipment, cloud services, and improved VPN capacity for unified communications.

This kind of paradigm shift is already starting to show some interesting developments. According to an analysis made by
Government Technologies, digital procurement companies have seen an increasing demand for their services both in government and in the private sector.  

We are currently in the middle of what could be a historic breakthrough and an overall win for employees who have recently discovered that a new work-life balance is possible where they don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. Tech and infrastructure will play a vital role for those

who argue in favor of adapting to new types of environments, including those who propose the creation of satellite offices that can potentially change the way we live and design cities.

So, yes, remote work is undoubtedly shaping the future of IT equipment and IT procurement providers, but there are still a lot of questions regarding the scalability of fully remote models when it comes to rural areas, developing countries, and companies that are still pushing for the return of the traditional office model.

Do you want to build a better remote work environment? Create a virtual watercooler

Positive interaction, engagement, and assertive communication. Three hot topics that come up every time an office manager argues in favor of switching to remote or at least hybrid work modes.

And it´s always the side that wants to stick with the status quo that sounds the alarm about these things, arguing that companies are bound to lose “the old face to face networking way of getting to know valuable employees”.

I had a million discussions with key clients about the risk of missing out on random daily interactions when establishing a remote or distributed system, and while it may be true that real physical interactions cannot be replaced with zoom meetings, there are many effective ways to create these types of serendipitous moments in remote environments, and sometimes the results can be far better than expected.

Case and point. A couple of weeks ago, Prithwiraj (Raj) Choudhury, an associate professor at the Harvard Business School, appeared on an excellent Freakonomics Podcast episode about remote work trends and productivity effects of geographic mobility of workers. During the interview, he referred to one of his studies that involved a simple, yet innovative tool to create virtual synchronous interactions (Encounters) called the Virtual Watercooler.

They experimented with creating random interactions between managers and interns that simulated the occasional moment in which both sides ran into each other, assigning a certain time limit to chat about whatever they wanted, mainly job responsibilities, satisfaction, and expectations. The result? Interns who participated in the experiment significantly increased their chances of landing a full-time job at the company and were happier with their experience.

The 62-page essay written by Iavor Bojinov, Prithwiraj Choudhury, and Jacqueline N. Lane concluded that.

“Hosting brief virtual water cooler sessions with senior managers might have job and career benefits for organizational newcomers working in remote workplaces, an insight with immediate managerial relevance.”

Does this mean that every company should have a virtual watercooler system to improve the engagement and interaction of their remote staff? Well, in my humble opinion, yes and no. Companies, especially those who are transitioning to hybrid or distributed modes, need to find what type of structure they want to create before they start implementing events that will only work if done for a pre-established period in a certain way.

The truth is that when it comes to successfully building a distributed workforce, we are still testing the waters in more ways than one. The pandemic has changed the way many people perceive working from home and the way companies feel about hiring remote workers, that alone changes many of the fundamental aspects that were considered for earlier studies, like the fact that there was no external reason to try it in the first place or the scale of the (forced) transition that took place in 2020 and 2021.

The virtual watercooler makes use of technologies that didn’t exist ten years ago (or at least not like they do now) and the same goes for collaborative work apps, HR management tools, and easy-to-use conference software. The average remote worker has the means and infrastructure to perform effectively from his home, something that was also rare a decade ago.

Companies that want to improve communications and employee satisfaction should also consider cutting down unnecessary meetings and briefs, approaching their employees about their real needs, search for collaborative tools that solve their problems instead of increasing the workload, and, last but not least, understand that we are all still adjusting after years, if not decades, of a workspace that had a completely different set of rules and habits.

5 remote work trends we will see in 2021

I know, we are already in June, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to jump on the remote work trends bandwagon. Don’t worry, I am not going to get all Nostradamus on you and write some amazingly far-out clickbait predictions.

Still, I do believe this year is going to bring a lot of changes and it’s important to talk about them because they will not only alter the way we work, they will alter the way we live. I think most of them will impact our lives for the better as we settle down and realize that the way we used to work won’t be coming back. So, without further ado, here are my top 5 remote work trends for 2021.



1 – Fewer Zoom meetings (Finally)

We all want human interaction. Aristotle used to say humans were civic and political animals in desperate need of attention. So It was no surprise that when the pandemic hit, everyone rushed to Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams to get their fix or daily meetings, kick-offs, and team-building exercises. But when the dust settled, everyone was having a billion calls a day, most of them about things that could have just been an email.

This year, companies that want their workforce to be all-remote will likely cut down on conference calls to focus on productivity and clear objectives.

I also predict a spike in chiropractor appointments.


2 – A collaboration software arms race

Team collaboration software is on the rise and that’s a good thing. Before the pandemic, many companies were applying collaboration tools and software to increase their productivity and manage their employees. But many small and medium-sized companies were only testing the waters. Today, collaboration software is a must if you want to manage teams without getting your inbox filled with endless conversations about details you don’t need to know.

Luckily, there are lots of companies working hard to make new platforms and upgrade older ones. This year we will see a lot of competition in the collaboration software market with new

companies that will be Slack, Zoho, Asana, Trello, and Flowdock a run for their money.


3 – Flexible hours and more offline time.

Oh, the irony. We always thought that working remotely would give us more free time to spend playing video games, reading books, riding our bikes, or… you know, all those other imaginary projects. Turns out working from home means you are always at the office and with lockdowns all over the place, it can feel more like a sentence than an actual job. Well, good news, that’s probably going to change this year.

More and more companies are debating how to cut down on unnecessary tasks to give their employees more free time, something that most likely will be a commodity for any company looking to hire the best talent available.


4 – A growing concern for cybersecurity and HR technologies.

Everyone online means everything is online. For many companies, both big and small, that presents a new security threat they were simply not equipped to face. That is also the case for HR departments. Paying people remotely, evaluating performance, and assessing potential situations used to be something that was done in an office. Not anymore.

This year we both cybersecurity companies and HR Software developers will need to up their game if they want to supply an ever-growing market of businesses that need answers to questions they did not have a year ago. This will probably also involve a lot of retraining and re-skilling for company personnel.


5 – A growing push for diversity, inclusion, and equity.

The actual physical office used to have a lot of problems. First of all, the distance was always an issue. Commuting is and has always been horrible both in the US and in other parts of the world. In fact, according to a recent poll made by Maritz’s People Science, long commutes have a huge impact on happiness. Physical offices also restricted diversity. People working at your offices were most likely locals that could reach the place with public or private transportation and location had a huge impact on selection.

Eliminating both things will bring a new age of inclusion in the workforce. In a couple of years, we will think it’s common for our teammates US, India, Kenya, and South Korea. Companies will start choosing candidates for their talent, skills, and potential instead of their proximity to the office or their local culture, and that’s going to have a huge impact on workplace and company cultures.

Employees Are Quitting Instead of Giving Up Working From Home

A six-minute meeting drove Portia Twidt to quit her job.

She’d taken the position as a research compliance specialist in February, enticed by promises of remote work. Then came the prodding to go into the office. Meeting invites piled up.

The final straw came a few weeks ago: the request for an in-person gathering, scheduled for all of 360 seconds. Twidt got dressed, dropped her two kids at daycare, drove to the office, had the brief chat and decided she was done.

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With the coronavirus pandemic receding for every vaccine that reaches an arm, the push by some employers to get people back into offices is clashing with workers who’ve embraced remote work as the new normal.

While companies from Google to Ford Motor Co. and Citigroup Inc. have promised greater flexibility, many chief executives have publicly extolled the importance of being in offices. Some have lamented the perils of remote work, saying it diminishes collaboration and company culture. JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon said at a recent conference that it doesn’t work “for those who want to hustle.”

But legions of employees aren’t so sure. If anything, the past year has proved that lots of work can be done from anywhere, sans lengthy commutes on crowded trains or highways. Some people have moved. Others have lingering worries about the virus and vaccine-hesitant colleagues.

And for Twidt, there’s also the notion that some bosses, particularly those of a generation less familiar to remote work, are eager to regain tight control of their minions.

“They feel like we’re not working if they can’t see us,” she said. “It’s a boomer power-play.”

It’s still early to say how the post-pandemic work environment will look. Only about 28% of U.S. office workers are back at their buildings, according to an index of 10 metro areas compiled by security company Kastle Systems. Many employers are still being lenient with policies as the virus lingers, vaccinations continue to roll out and childcare situations remain erratic.

But as office returns accelerate, some employees may want different options. A May survey of 1,000 U.S. adults showed that 39% would consider quitting if their employers weren’t flexible about remote work. The generational difference is clear: Among millennials and Gen Z, that figure was 49%, according to the poll by Morning Consult on behalf of Bloomberg News.

“High-five to them,” said Sara Sutton, the CEO of FlexJobs, a job-service platform focused on flexible employment. “Remote work and hybrid are here to stay.”

The lack of commutes and cost savings are the top benefits of remote work, according to a FlexJobs survey of 2,100 people released in April. More than a third of the respondents said they save at least $5,000 per year by working remotely.


Perks of Flexibility

Not having to commute is the top benefit for remote workers.

Source: FlexJobs

Survey of 2,181 total respondents ran from March 17, 2021 through April 5, 2021.

Jimme Hendrix, a 30-year-old software developer in the Netherlands, quit his job in December as the web-application company he worked for was gearing up to bring employees back to the office in February.

“During Covid I really started to see how much I enjoyed working from home,” Hendrix said.

Now he does freelance work and helps his girlfriend grow her art business. He used to spend two hours each day commuting; now the couple is considering selling their car and instead relying on bikes.

One of the main benefits, he says, is more control over his own time: “I can just do whatever I want around the house, like a quick chore didn’t have to wait until like 8 p.m. anymore, or I can go for a quick walk.”

Of course, not everyone has the flexibility to choose. For the millions of frontline workers who stock the shelves of grocery stores, care for patients in hospitals and nursing homes, or drop off packages at people’s doors, there are scant alternative options to showing up in person.

But among those who can, many are weighing their alternatives, said Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University, who’s researched why people quit jobs. Bosses taking a hard stance should beware, particularly given labor shortages in the economy, he said.

“If you’re a company that thinks everything’s going back to normal, you may be right but it’s pretty risky to hope that’s the case,” he said.

At least some atop the corporate ladder seem to be paying attention. In a Jan. 12 PwC survey of 133 executives, fewer than one in five said they want to go back to pre-pandemic routines. But only 13% were prepared to let go of the office for good.


Senior Management’s View

Days in the office that executives think is needed to maintain company culture.

Source: PwC

PwC surveyed 133 US executives between Nov. 24 and Dec, 5, 2020,from public and private companies in financial services, technology, media and telecommunications and retail products.

Alison Green, founder of workplace-advice website Ask a Manager, said she’s been contacted by many people with qualms about going back, citing concerns about unvaccinated colleagues and Covid precautions. Some have said they’re looking for jobs at companies they feel take the virus seriously, or will let them work from anywhere.

Some things are indeed lost with remote work, Green said, like opportunities for collaboration or learning for junior employees. But, she added: “I think we need to have a more nuanced discussion than: hustlers only do well in the office.”

For Sarah-Marie Martin, who lived in Manhattan and worked as a partner at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. when the pandemic struck, the months at home gave her time to redraw the blueprint of her life.

“When you have this existential experience, you have time to step back and think,” Martin said. “In my previous life, I didn’t have time to get super deep and philosophical.”

The mother of five moved her family to the New Jersey shore. And once the push to get back to offices picked up, the idea of commuting hardly seemed alluring. This spring, Martin accepted a fully remote position as chief financial officer of Yumi, a Los Angeles-based maker of baby food.

Gene Garland, 24, unknowingly opened the floodgates to people’s frustrations about office returns. After his employer, an IT company, in April told people they needed to start coming in, two of his close colleagues handed in their resignation letters. Garland, who lives in Hampton, Virginia, tapped out a tweet:

Hundreds of people responded, with many outlining plans, or at least hopes, to leave their own jobs. Garland says he himself has no plans to quit, but empathizes with those who do.

“Working inside of a building really does restrict time a lot more than you think,” he said. “A lot of people are afraid of the cycle where you work and work and work — and then you die.”

Twidt, the compliance specialist in Georgia, had already lined up a new job by the time she handed in her resignation letter: a role at a Washington-based company.

The recruiter that approached her, Twidt said, asked what it would take to get her on board. She replied that she would prefer something 100% remote.

“They said, ‘we can do that for you immediately.’”

— With assistance by Sridhar Natarajan

Author: Anders Melin
By Bloomberg