We are proud to announce that NET UNIVERSE has arrived in Colombia, home of the best coffee and talent with great human warmth.
The new office is key to strengthening our presence in Latin America and further enhancing our hubs, continuing our leadership in combined technological and logistics solutions like no other company can offer in the world.
At Colombia we also like its gastronomy of colors and flavors, varied climate, dancers of all kinds of rhythms and we will surely be celebrating with our clients and friends in the beloved Andrés Carne de Res.
Learn more about our combined disruptive technology and logistics services at www.netuniversecorp.com
The Net Universe Value Added: We optimize your IT Supply Chain
Combining both, IT and logistics services, Net Universe is the unique provider that, thanks to the Provisioning & Collection (P&C) service, has the ability to distribute, replace or collect equipment anywhere in the world, without customs barriers, at the best cost and in times that no one can overcome.
How it works?
You can purchase your IT equipment in our shop or with your usual provider.
We store your equipment in our warehouses in the US or Europe.
If necessary, we configure and customize the equipment and keep it ready for use.
Do you have a new income? We ship the equipment to the employee’s home, no matter where in the world they live.
Do you have to make equipment refresh or an employee has left the company? We also take care of the returning.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
About a month ago, an internal letter from Apple employees was made public by The Verge. It was a response to a company decision announced by Tim Cook informing workers that they would soon be required to go back to the office at least three days a week.
Among other things, the letter, which was signed by over 2800 employees, stated the following.
For many of us at Apple, we have succeeded not despite working from home, but in large part because of being able to work outside the office. The last year has felt like we have truly been able to do the best work of our lives for the first time, unconstrained by the challenges that daily commutes to offices and in-person co-located offices themselves inevitably impose; all while still being able to take better care of ourselves and the people around us. (…) We understand that inertia is real, and that change is difficult to achieve. The pandemic forcing us to work from home has given us a unique opportunity. Most of the change has already happened, remote/location-flexible work is currently the “new normal,” we just need to make sure we make the best of it now.
If you read this blog (Hey! You are doing it right now) you know that I have been talking about this for a while, but still, I am positively being amazed by this letter, not because of the specific and very acceptable request of Apple employees, but because of the way they quickly adapted to a new way of working, ultimately preferring to adopt a home office system then go back to what’s objectively one of the most important and prestigious offices in the world.
Not only that, but the phrase “We understand that inertia is real, and that change is difficult to achieve.” Must have been a hard pill to swallow for a company that promotes itself like a model of innovation and adaptability. Don’t get me wrong, inertia isclearly real, and changes, real changes, take time, effort, and cooperation from both sides.
This “new normal” may be new, but it’s certainly not normal yet, right about now, the whole thing is more circumstantial than normal. The battle for a real remote workforce will start the day after the pandemic ends and working from home becomes a choice rather than a need.
Apple´s case is an important one for many reasons. One of them is that they are a company that creates models that other companies mimic. Another reason is that right about now, Apple stands in the middle of the argument. While Facebook and Twitter had already announced that employees will be able to request fully remote positions, other more conservative tech companies are implementing hybrid methods that end up being a patch between what employees want and what CEOs and boards would like.
I know it’ hard for many companies to understand why their employees prefer to stay
home instead of just going to their billon dollar headquarters where they can play video games, enjoy free lunches, and even take their pets and babies. The truth is, it has nothing to do with infrastructure and everything to do with the realization that work AND life can coexist in equilibrium.
For once, many employees were able to spend time with their kids, adopt a pet, learn a craft, take on a hobby, sit down with their family and talk about their day without looking at their phones, work with their pajamas on. There is probably no rec room that can compete with any of that.
In fact, many employees are already planning to quit their jobs if they force them to go back to the old 9 to 5 schedule. This is a choice no one should be forced to make, especially if they proved how good their work can be when they do not have to commute for two hours to get to their desk.
We should take note of the fight of Apple employees, because it will happen in many work environments, and both workers and managers should be ready to debate what’s the best way to move forward.
Back on May 21, WeWork´s CEO Sandeep Mathrani shared his opinion about remote work during a Wall Street Journal interview. He said that “Those who are uberly engaged with the company want to go to the office two-thirds of the time, at least,” and argued that employees who want to work from home are often those who are least engaged, saying “It’s also pretty obvious that those who are overly engaged with the company want to go to the office two-thirds of the time at least. Those who are least engaged are very comfortable working from home,”.
A week later, Mathrani issued a (sort of) apology from his LinkedIn account, explaining that it was not his intent to cast a negative light on those who are working from home, arguing his comments were not clear enough.
His post was crafted largely due to the backlash he got, mostly from average workers and companies that specialize in remote work apps and optimization, because of his use of outdated data to back his claim. Some of the statistics he used were from studies made before the pandemic and others from very biased sources that have a lot to lose if remote work becomes the new normal.
Still, Mathrani is hardly the first tech CEO to argue against remote work. A couple of months ago, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told the press that his remote work experience was “purely negative” and that when the pandemic is over, most of his staff would return to the office as normal.
Some studies indeed reflect people have been stressed while working from home during the pandemic, but most of that stress has been due to the pandemic itself. We still don’t have enough data to know what workers will feel about engaging in a fully remote environment when the threat of an illness is removed from the equation.
Some reports show that a considerable amount of employees (58% in this case) said that they would quit their current job if they could not continue working remotely or at least in a hybrid system. Some of the main concerns included being away from family or pets, office politics and distractions, change in daily routine, and childcare or caregiver responsibilities. In short, this time has not only changed the way we approach work, but it has also fundamentally changed the way we perceive our lives.
That doesn’t mean Zoom fatigue isn’t a thing. Even Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom, knows Zoom fatigue is a thing and gives advice on how to reduce the number of daily meetings and occasionally switch to text and email.
Hello Gmail, my old friend…
Still, when questioned about employees returning to the office almost every major CEO uses the same word; Flexibility. It has a broad interpretation, but it basically means that it will not be back to business as usual or even back to the old schedule. Many recognize the time for shorter workweeks may be coming and that not everyone needs to be at the office all day, every day.
In the US, the pandemic seems to be ending slowly but surely and with the 4th of July as a political date to declare the end of COVID, we will surely start seeing a return to the office. This is a historical time for leaders to reframe, redesign and rethink the way they manage teams and measure efficiency. For some companies, it will be the beginning of a new era, for others, it will be a real problem that will shake their structure for years to come.
Not too long ago, most of us were going in and out of the office, having one too many meetings, and commuting for a couple of hours to get to a building where we did about the same thing we could have done from the comfort of our homes.
I mean, yes, you could probably say remote work was already “a thing” back in 2019 and yes, it technically was, for a select few, within a very small group of companies that dared to venture out of their comfort zone.
According to a study made by Global Workplace Analytics, in 2018, only 3.2% of the American workforce used to work remotely and another study conducted by Owl Labs showed that small businesses and start-ups were twice as likely to hire full-time remote workers.
Then came 2020 and everything changed. Suddenly zoom became a noun, the watercooler at the office became a life-threatening hazard and NFTs became a thing (sort of).
There were some positive changes. Companies that used to have an all-in-office philosophy realized the positive effects of having a full-time or a hybrid remote workforce once the pandemic reaches its inevitable end.
Karin Kimbrough Chief Economist at LinkedIn recently said “We’re seeing a huge increase in demand for remote work on our platform, one that will have a significant long-term impact on the labor market. Globally, we’re seeing four times the number of jobs that offer remote work since March. We also see that trend reflected from jobseekers: the volume of job searches using the ‘Remote’ filter on LinkedIn has increased ~60% since the beginning of March, and the share of Remote Job Applications has increased nearly 2.5 times globally from March.”
In other words, the pandemic has managed to break the cultural and technological barriers that prevented by-the-book corporations to even consider the possibility of going remote.
With that in mind, companies now face another pressing issue; adjusting to a new kind of work environment while keeping everything that made the old one attractive for highly skilled workers. This means corporations that used to own colossal, expensive buildings in some of the most coveted places in town will now have to manage and optimize a multinational, multilingual, diverse, and distant workforce with a completely new set of demands.
As with all new things, nobody can completely claim they have the know-how to make it happen, but some businesses are starting to realize this could very well be the dawn of a new and profitable business venture.
One of the most challenging aspects of the new “everywhere workforce” has to do with providing the right logistics and IT services. Two things that used to run in separate tracks, probably because shipping something and dealing with the details of that said thing were to entirely different businesses.
This niche will likely bring the dawn of a new type of business model designed for corporations seeking to expand and transform the way they hire, optimize and supply their staff without changing the fundamental way they do business. I call it “Delivery as a Service”.
An all full-scale solution to both technical and delivery issues that allows a business to hire anyone on earth without having to worry about technical, logistics, or scalability issues. A one-stop shop for hiring wherever, whoever, and whenever.
This trend is still flying under the radar since most companies are still debating about what kanban-style platform provides less frustration. But when the dust settles, the issue of how to manage an entirely new working environment will be the subject of many, many, board meetings.
In short, whether it’s five, three, or two days a week, the “everywhere workforce” is not going anywhere. So we better be prepared for it.
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