Investing in the Office
of the Future
July 6, 2020
WHERE WE INVESTS
Investing in the Office
of the Future
After the 2020 pandemic ends and the world finally gives the global green light, will you want to go back to the office?
Unsurprisingly, the U.S. workforce has cozied up to the idea of permanently working from home. Coddled with the luxury of forever working in their pajamas, why would regular office employees relish the prospect of going back to a life in a four-sided cubicle? Needless to say, the pandemic is leading the workforce in all-new, uncharted directions and potential startups to invest in.
Right now, we can already feel the lasting impact of digital teleconferencing platforms like Zoom and Slack. However, the office is more than that. Though the rise of video conferencing is the most tangible effect, the pandemic’s effects will take on more surprising turns.
Certainly, we don’t know how the future of work will truly look like after the pandemic yet. At the very least, we can speculate on the ongoing trends working to define the future of the workplace.
Living on Zoom
We can, of course, start with the most obvious: the post-pandemic world of teleconferencing platforms. Because of the pandemic, most companies have resorted to Zoom, Slack, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams to conduct essential meetings.
According to a recent security report last April, Zoom has already surpassed 300 million daily meeting participants all over the world. At the tail end of March, Slack’s concurrent usage peaked at 12.5 million users simultaneously using the platform. Google Meet reportedly services 2 million new users every day since April. Finally, though a new product, Microsoft Teams has already grown to 44 million daily users.
Regardless of the future, millions upon millions of workers have already transitioned to online-only platforms. Given the enormous effort to adopt the technology, companies will likely maintain the current status quo even after the go-ahead to return to the office. Further, these platforms have presented more convenient ways to hold meetings even inside a physical workspace. Managers can now host conferences from their own spaces without calling everyone into a separate meeting room.
This convenience underscores the elephant in the room: employees staying at home even after the pandemic. As we can see today, this prediction has already taken root. The world’s biggest tech companies have already offered their workers the option to work from home indefinitely. Twitter, for example, has already made the permanent decision for a portion of its workforce. Google has also made a similar decision, offering training classes to permanently transition online. Other companies, like Facebook and Microsoft, have extended their work-from-home initiatives until the end of the year, at least.
Working from home is here to stay, punctuated by our rising reliance on teleconferencing platforms. However, that doesn’t mean the end for working spaces.
The second coming of coworking spaces
Prior to the pandemic, coworking spaces suffered an unfortunate nosedive. With the rise of working from home, it’s easy to assume the impending death of the coworking space.
However, it’s a lot more complex than that. People will still crave for a social space away from home, as analysts point out. Coworking spaces can fulfill that need by providing working individuals with a quiet space to get work done away from home. Though most of these spaces are still closed for safety, they are in a favorable position once establishments start opening up again.
Further, the pandemic has forced companies to reevaluate exorbitant overhead maintenance fees, likely forcing them to give up physical workspaces. A coworking space can easily provide an out-of-office company with a temporary meeting space for needed face-to-face interactions.
Naturally, this will all depend on whether the coworking industry can bounce back once the pandemic ends. Even before a potential resurrection, coworking startups might turn into an interesting outlet for venture capital.
The age of the CIO
As digital platforms rise, the CIO has successfully proven their worth as an important facet of every company. Even though social distancing has separated them from their systems in the office, this esteemed position is now responsible for migrating an entire workforce into the next post-pandemic phase, whether it’s online or on a limited in-person capacity.
Throughout this entire pandemic, CIOs have emphasized the unrivaled value of technology in modern-day workspaces. While everyone was struggling to find a new office space, they started setting up everyone’s Zoom or Microsoft Teams accounts. They learned the ropes and started training people on the new platforms. Undoubtedly, CIOs were instrumental in the current pandemic climate.
However, even after the pandemic, CIOs will have more responsibilities. As anyone following technology can attest to, platforms will keep changing. What applies to today’s apps might not necessarily apply to tomorrow’s apps. Workforces will constantly need to adapt. A CIO needs to be on top of technology at all times, especially as everyone is starting to plan for post-pandemic strategies now.
As such, the demand for technology training services will also rise. Training employees can come with its own difficulties that a CIO might not be able to handle on their own. Concurrent with the increased responsibilities of the CIO, training services will realize their value in the modern-day workspace.
The rise of SaaS
In line with this, companies will also start thinking about more robust information systems. Certainly, teleconferencing software like Zoom can fulfill a general need. However, every office has its own tailored needs. The pandemic has made companies reevaluate their dependence on generalized methods when tailored solutions exist.
Though not the most glamorized of services, startups have always offered customized SaaS solutions for every type of client. The back-end industry has nestled snugly in the world’s list of must-haves for every company. If that’s not enough, the pandemic has reemphasized this need even further.
What worked for physical workspaces might not work for online-only companies. As a result, we’ll see an increased demand for cloud storage, online productivity tools, and personalized working hubs. Now, as before, SaaS companies remain one of the prime options if you want to invest in startups.
The pandemic has introduced new problems and new demands into the modern-day workforce. Whereas the pre-pandemic world relied on in-person interactions, the post-pandemic career will need more online tools and teaching services that will transition people into the new lifestyle. If you’re interested in more potential investment opportunities in the future of work, get in touch here or email email@example.com.