Top 10 remote working stories of 2020

Here are Computer Weekly’s top 10 remote working stories of 2020

On 4 March 2020, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan announced the then not universally known videoconferencing company’s financial results for the previous 12 months.

“We strive to empower our customers to accomplish more with our video-first unified communications platform,” he said, reporting a particularly strong performance for the fourth quarter ending 31 January 2020 with total revenue growth of 78% at a scale of $188m. For the coming full fiscal year, Yuan predicted total revenue of between $905m and $915m – about $280m more than the company banked for 2020.

On 1 December 2020, Yuan announced that for the third quarter of fiscal 2021 ended 31 October 2020, the company had clocked up total revenue of $777.2m, up 367% year on year. Zoom, which has now become a verb like Sellotape and Hoover, expects its 2012 full-year revenues to be $2.575bn to $2.58bn. And that really is the story of 2020.

Arguably, 2020 really only lasted three months. Until the end of March, there seemed to be a consensus on how the year would pan out, with firms increasingly investigating how they could best take advantage of 5G and how access to full-fibre networks could improve business efficiency.

But as 2020 ends, all traditional bets are off in this new landscape, with secure connectivity and cloud emerging at the core of enterprises’ needs for the foreseeable future in today’s post-Covid working environment. Or the new normal. Or maybe the next normal. Or maybe just the normal that everyone has to deal with permanently where videoconferencing, wherever it happens, is utterly intrinsic in the working lives of people’s work wherever they are.

And that “wherever” is not just because of where they want to be, but where they have to be. Remote working really now is just working – the collaboration, conferencing and unified communications tools and the networks are here to support it. Now companies need to evolve management plans around them.

Here are Computer Weekly’s  top 10 remote working stories of 2020:

1. IT Priorities 2020: ‘Benestrophe’ for networking as UK IT departments come to terms with new normal

Computer Weekly/TechTarget IT Priorities survey finds networking leads in spending growth and budget impact in 2020, while traditional and cloud-focused connectivity tools also had strong support during the year.

2. Zoom revenue bonanza continues into third quarter

Breakout videoconferencing firm Zoom continues strong run, showing ongoing influx of customers in the third quarter of 2020.

3. Legacy tech adds to management headaches in dealing with new normal

Concerns raised over post-Covid return to the office, with virtually all C-level leaders admitting to still using offline processes and significant numbers believing their company will prioritise business continuity over safety.

4. Productivity shrinks, but office and remote workers optimistic about new normal

Despite the bleak times caused by Covid-19, study finds a silver lining in the form of accelerating digital transformation and technology investment for remote workers.

5. Employees demand greater ownership and choice in the ‘new normal’ of work

Cisco survey shows flexible future for work, with three-quarters of UK office workers wanting to choose whether to work from home or office, and manage their hours.

6. Employees demand office redesign for new hybrid work environment

Global study by visualisation and collaboration technology provider says employees worldwide are desperate to get back to the office and want their employers to invest in a tech-driven environment.

7. Broadband access drives remote working to be permanent fixture

Covid-19 crisis pushes Kiwis to do more online and the changes are sticking, according to research from ANZ telco and media research and consulting firm.

8. Management practices need to adapt to manage remote working

Distributed working practices – office, home, on the move or hybrid – have proven business and employee engagement benefits, but leadership and business culture need updating.

9. Small businesses’ remote working frustrations threaten exodus of best talent

While large firms mull massive investment to return to offices, over a quarter of European small business workers would switch jobs to somewhere better equipped for remote working.

10. Quarter of remote workers fail to engage with tech teams

Research reveals a burgeoning IT-employee divide among the growing ranks of remote workers, but the root causes have yet to be examined fully.

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