Making The Big Switch
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Microsoft Teams and Slack use surged into the millions early in the health emergency. Work-from-anywhere could be the new normal after COVID-19 is defeated.
Combating the spread of COVID-19 requires a multi-pronged strategy that includes efforts to stabilize the business community. The fear of lost wages and an inability to purchase necessities are being addressed by government intervention and managed IT efforts.
Perhaps the most promising workforce cure for the pandemic has been Microsoft Teams. The platform has seen a remote workforce uptick of 37 percent, and an additional 12 million people are conducting profit-driving endeavors using the app.
“During this extraordinary time, it is clear that software, as the most flexible tool ever created, has a huge role to play across every industry and around the world. Our responsibility is to ensure that the tools we provide are up to the task,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reportedly said.
The Slack workforce app has enjoyed unprecedented competitive gains in a field dominated by Microsoft, as organizations across the globe are diligently keeping people safe and revenue flush.
“There were no comparable recent numbers for the major rival to Teams, collaboration app Slack Technologies Inc, which said in October that it had 12 million daily active users,” U.S. News & World Report states. “Slack did not update that figure during its earnings announcement on March 12 but said four of its five largest deals in the most recent quarter were won against Microsoft Teams. On Thursday, Slack said it added 7,000 new paid customers from Feb. 1 to March 18, a roughly 40 percent increase over each of its previous two fiscal quarters, when it had added about 5,000 new paid customers per quarter.”
Although the coronavirus outbreak prompted the business community to spike its remote capabilities, a cultural shift to work-from-anywhere was already in play. Studies by workforce thought leaders indicate that more than half of supervisors were open to employees working from home for a variety of reasons. But emerging data points to remote workforces becoming standard practice by the end of the decade.
“By 2030, the demand for remote work will increase by 30 percent due to Gen Z fully entering the workforce. Gartner’s most recent ReimagineHR Employee Survey found that only 56 percent of managers permit their employees to work remotely. Organizations without a progressive remote-work policy will be at a competitive disadvantage for attracting and retaining talent,” a Gartner report states.
Many old-school organizations may have been resistant to not having employees at arm’s length. But the emerging workforce and supervisory attitudes are more likely to make the current work-from-anywhere trend the status quo. That appears to be a good thing for entrepreneurs, CEOs, and everyday employees going forward.
Much of the early thinking about working from home seemed to center around the benefits it provided employees. Parents with young children saved money on daycare, and flexible hours allowed tasks to be performed outside the standard 9-to-5. But Microsoft Teams and Slack, among others, cracked a door into the future when they entered the marketplace. These platforms, usually run in conjunction with Cloud-based business systems, emerged as a two-way street in terms of benefits. These are a pair of commonly shared benefits that employers and employees recognize as reasons to make remote workforces sustainable.
The COVID-19 pandemic has business and workers scrambling to work from the safety of their homes. But once the crisis subsides — and it will — industry leaders may want to consider leaving the digital infrastructure in place because the Cloud, Microsoft Teams, and Slack help deter disruption. We will be better prepared in the event of another emergency by making remote workforces a permanent practice.
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