, September 25, 2021

Zoom zooms ahead, but remote working will be bigger than cynics suggest


  •   2 min reads
Zoom zooms ahead, but remote working will be bigger than cynics suggest

Zoom reveals a bumper set of results and says remote working is here to stay. But forget the water fountain challenge; the Zoom economy will transform productivity.

Last year, video conferencing company Zoom revealed an impressive 78 per cent increase in revenue, which hit $188.3 million, during the period. The news didn't garner that much publicity. Shares stood at around $110, roughly two-thirds up on the IPO price in April 2019.  A year on, and things look very different. Shares are at $409, and in the latest quarter, revenue increased $882 million. As for net income, this increased from $15.3 million last year to $260 million.

Zoom boss Eric Yuan said: "The future is here with the rise of remote and work from anywhere trends. We recognise this new reality and are helping to empower our employees and those of our customers to work and thrive in a distributed manner."
There is an important point about remote working which critics don't get. In a nutshell, it is evolution. Before we explain further, consider the advantages and disadvantages of remote working.

Disadvantages of remote work

  • Encroaches on team unity. Consider agile working practice in this context, where close-knit teams work together to rapidly develop new ideas. Can this work at a distance?
  • Serendipitous meetings, such as the water fountain or in the lift which spark off new discussions.
  • Remote work can make it hard to switch off, and home life and work life merge into a kind of confused blob. Linked to this are privacy considerations and the fear that employers will snoop on staff while they are in their home.

Advantages of remote working

  • For workers, it cuts down on our commuting, with both economic and quality of life benefits. Maybe it supports productivity too, as workers have a less stressful and tiring journey to work.
  • Linked to the above, remote working reduces the need to travel to external meetings during the day, significantly boosting productivity.
  • Also linked to the above, companies can dramatically cut back on office rental costs.
  • Remote working can make meetings more focused.

Technology and remote work

Certain technologies can partially overcome the disadvantages of remote work, for example, tools such as GiftLab with virtual coffee breaks with an option for randomly selecting who you take the break with.  Or there are remote tools that encourage fun activities, such as online video games.

Evolution

But the critical point is that remote working will be very effective for some organisations. These organisations will consequently see costs fall, affording them competitive advantages over companies for whom remote working isn't practical.

In this way, economic evolution will favour companies that learn how to turn remote working to their advantage and disfavour companies that do not.

In some industries, remote working may be less effective and never be fully utilised.

But in other industries, remote working will become pervasive and simply by the process of evolution; these industries will be more productive as a result.

That is why the Zoom economy is indeed here to stay, and it will be more productive, too.

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