Why The Work From Anywhere Movement Is Important & What Your Peers Are Saying.
Office Technology Tap
December 22, 2022
The Lede –
At one time the range of ‘office technology’ consisted of expensive devices and platforms like networks, printers, copiers, filing cabinets, desktop computers, postage machines, telephones, and fax machines to name a few.
Technology evolved. Fewer company networks, smartphones in every pocket, laptops instead of desktops, faxes in the form of email attachments, and filing cabinets in the Cloud.
What remained was the physical place to meet – meeting rooms, company kitchens, watercoolers, open
and shared areas, and the essential, Executive Conference room.
The fear of Covid altered this last bastion of the centrally oriented business structure – the physical location is no longer a barrier.
The end of 2022 is here – adjusting to the chaos that is Covid recovery, businesses across the spectrum are rebuilding their organizations and addressing the new battlefield: Work in the office or continue to work from home.
The War of Work – #WFA vs #RTO
“In 2019, less than 6% of American workers worked primarily from home. Then COVID hit, and by May 2020, 35% of workers worked completely remotely, as high as 57% among professional and management occupations.” – Entrepreneur.
Should we get employees back to a building or let them ‘roam free,’ untethered?
From the employee standpoint, the choice is clear – working from ANYWHERE but the office is preferred. From the employer, maintaining a cohesive team, focused on achieving company goals, includes face-to-face, demands physical contact, and interaction.
Indeed, in a recent study conducted by ResumeBuilder.com of the 1,000 business leaders surveyed, 9 out of 10 say they will require employees to return to the office in 2023. What’s more impressive, 21% of companies will fire workers who refuse RTO.
If the period between 2020 and 2022 was the Age of Work from Anywhere, 2023 is stacking up to be the Battle of the Cube. Every target is moving, including employee feelings, employer goals, local government’s tax base, social norms, the economic winds of change, and Office Technology. Throw in the Metaverse as an office alternative and we’ve got more possibilities for 2023 and beyond than ever before.
What should you be doing?
- Be agile and offer solutions – Office Technology plays a crucial part in business functions, no matter the location
- Remain engaged – plug into the #WFA stream, set alerts, and read something every day
Don’t pick a side – RTO mandates are not the only reason an employee decides to quit; it is the last reason. Encourage and support all types of work environments.
How do you get employees to want to return?
The next big movement is getting employees back in the office. There can be no doubt (barring any new global catastrophe) that 2023 will be the year of returning to the office. But how can companies get employees to trade the comforts of home for the home office?
Culture: The saving grace.
If you’re getting resistance about calling people back into the office, turn your attention to the company’s culture. Has it been built with intent? Building a culture of connection and encouraging meaningful relationships was especially vital to us as a virtual company.
Organizations struggle when attempting to shoehorn hybrid working into an existing and rigid company culture. Ownership must lead by example by openly embracing and promoting the benefits of a hybrid office experience.
One of the interesting points of in-person work that remote work can’t compete with is a phenomenon called physiological synchrony, where two people sync up behaviorally, physiologically, or even neurologically — and collaborate better because of it. We pick up on nonverbal cues and as a result, sync up brain waves.
What should you be doing?
- Foster a positive, post-Covid culture – change the physical office, communicate openly, and reward financially. Mold your corporate culture around the remote and hybrid working environment.
- Get everyone on the same wavelength – literally. Utilize standard collaboration platforms
- Celebrate together. Make the office a safe place to collaborate and a destination for recognizing good news, together.
Something new for the Office Tech Tap: Words of the Realm, a weekly round-up of conversations I have with industry pundits, experts, influencers, ownership, marketing folks, and salespeople in the Office Technology Ecosystem. The reports are anonymous or credited and not based on an algorithm or any scientific study. I talk with people in between shows, sessions over adult beverages, face to face or screen to screen – from across the fruited plain and beyond. More often than not, I find the reflections shared by one are the sentiment of thousands.
“Making decisions we should have made before.”
The Office Technology Galaxy is swinging into the positive – in terms of business and attitude – dare I say, we are optimistic. More than cautiously optimistic, the general tone of resellers and folks who communicate on a daily basis with customers is upbeat and giddy.
One might take this tone as ‘hopeful’ and overly optimistic. But I do not for one specific reason – when things were bad, these same people expressed exactly how bad it was without exaggeration or pontification.
If there is one ‘gripe’ it is more than one decision maker has told me that Covid ‘forced me to make decisions I should have made a long time ago but didn’t.” referring to aligning manpower with goals, measuring results instead of adherence to process and digitizing internal processes.
“We’ve had the best November in a long time.”
“A majority of our business, as high as ninety percent, is driven by our existing client base.” That’s right. This past November 2022, is going down in the records book as the best in over 18 months and for some, the best November, ever.
What is being sold? Hardware. Lots of hardware. Whatever the reason, reps are taking orders, leases are being written and customers are expecting longer delivery schedules. Pent-up demand is certainly responsible for an increase in placements but just as important is upgrading to better and more digital solutions. In support of this spike, the word in sales bullpens is document management. Reps are reporting more scanning, archiving, and digital workflow installation. One 15-year copier sales veteran told me, she hasn’t sold this many document management systems, ever.
2022 could go down as the bounce-back year in Office Technology.
Would you like to have a conversation about the industry? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great week.
Marc Benioff says newer Salesforce employees are less productive
Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff told employees in a Slack message on Friday that the company’s newest hires aren’t being productive enough, and he asked for feedback as to why that’s the case. “Are we not building tribal knowledge with new employees without an office culture?” he asked in a message viewed by CNBC.
The Ultimate List of Work From Home Statistics for 2022
Remote work is reshaping the way we work and live. The advent of technology confirmed that remote work is possible and destined to happen. In fact, remote work has been on an upward trend for close to two decades, but once the pandemic hit, remote work became a reality for many businesses overnight.
Read the article, here.
Communication is essential to employees’ return to the office
Given what organizations have accomplished during the Covid pandemic, there are mixed feelings about the return to the office. Many employees don’t want to go back to the office every day. They’ve grown to love the flexibility a hybrid or work-from-home setup offers them.
Read more, here.
Staples Parent Reportedly Sells Quill Headquarters
Industry sources indicate that private equity firm Sycamore Partners, which acquired Staples in 2017, has sold the headquarters for its other office supplies subsidiary, Quill. According to reports, the 387,000 sq. ft. facility that sits on nearly 30 acres of land in Lincolnshire, Illinois was purchased for nearly $22 million by a health supplement manufacturer named Carlson labs.
Read, it here.
OEM Consolidation – Is This the Year?
If we analyze today’s situation, it’s natural to expect consolidation. The OEM business opportunities are being squeezed as the market continues to contract.
Read the article, here.
The IRC – Internet Relay Chat
- Girl Scout mom kicked out of Radio City and barred from seeing Rockettes after facial recognition tech identified her
- Business in the era of Everything-as-a-Service
- Is your copier spying on you?
- Sequoia’s Carl Eschenbach, who led deals for Zoom and Snowflake, to run Workday as co-CEO
- The gaming world runs on the same tech as the office. Check out The Gaming Tap, here.