Working from home has become the new normal. Not because there was a particularly huge demand for it, but due to the global Covid 19 pandemic employers simply didn’t have a choice if they wanted to keep their companies running. Naturally, during the biggest hybrid work experiment in history – new trends have emerged. Let’s take a look at some of them.
One of the most important trends that have emerged during this period is respect for nonwork time. For some, it’s hard to sustain a healthy work-life balance but it may be even more difficult if you work from home, therefore it is expected that various app blockers and emails announcing the end of the day will become more popular just to remind everyone when it’s time to switch off and leave the work…well…at home…1
Usually, conference and video calls are associated with important crucial reports or key advancements of various projects, however, we can expect that to change and prepare for more video calls dedicated to more relaxing activities, such as virtual coffees or parties. One of the main reasons why people still enjoy going to the office is social contact. When you work from home that human need doesn’t disappear, so in order to keep employees happy and provide them with much-needed socialization, we can expect more virtual gatherings committed to that. It’s also good for team-building purposes and developing a stronger team bond.
The shift to working from home changed not only the daily routines of people and the market itself but in a way, it also created a new market concentrated on providing goods and services to people working from home. Of course, this market segment has existed for a long time, but it was considered a small niche. Nowadays, it’s as mainstream as it gets. So, what are these market opportunities?
One of the obvious ones is an increased need for cybersecurity. Employers can’t expect that people’s homes will have protected Wi-Fi routers and secure local servers, so there’s an enlarged market space for cybersecurity products ensuring that sensitive work files stay confidential and protected on employees’ computers. According to a CICSO report, related to remote work and cybersecurity – 57% of respondents thought ‘that Covid-19 would result in increased cybersecurity investment’2.
Another expanding market opportunity is for companies specializing in cloud services. Companies will simply need more and more storage because with more and more people working from home the number of files not stored on physical local servers will increase too. Additionally, activities that aren’t usually thought of as digital, will become such. For example, HR and recruiting were traditionally associated with face-to-face meetings and real-life conversations. They are changing since the hybrid work model requires them to. A lot of recruiting, training, and HR meetings will need to become digital, which means more files, which means the additional need for storage and that translates to an enlarged market segment for cloud companies.
One more market segment that has already expanded during the Covid 19 pandemic is video-conferencing. Zoom’s revenue alone has increases staggering 369% in the last quarter of the 2020 fiscal year.3 Of course, the biggest and most known services specializing in remote video communication, such as MS Teams, Zoom, or Discord will benefit the most from the increased demand, however, it also opens space for smaller companies that specialize in more niche services tailored to companies in need of something different.
Undoubtfully, with new positive trends related to work from home – some negatives will emerge too. Currently, we must wait in order to get the full picture, but one thing is absolutely clear – right now work from home is an extremely exciting area, and it will create interesting new trends and some great companies, so keep an eye on it.