‘Zoom towns’ are exploding in the West

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And many cities aren’t ready for the onslaught.

First, there were boomtowns. Now, there are Zoom towns.

The coronavirus pandemic is leading to a new phenomenon: a migration to “gateway communities,” or small towns near major public lands and ski resorts as people’s jobs increasingly become remote-friendly. This is straining the towns’ resources and putting pressure on them to adapt.

A new paper published in the Journal of the American Planning Association shows that populations in these communities were already growing before COVID-19 hit, leading to some problems traditionally thought of as urban issues, like lack of affordable housing, availability of public transit, congestion, and income inequality. And while COVID-19 has accelerated the friction, the study suggests that urban planners can help places adjust.

There has been a drastic increase in remote work since March, when the pandemic hit the U.S. Nearly 60% of employees are now working remotely full or part time, according to a recent Gallup poll. Nearly two-thirds of employees who have been working remotely would like to continue to do so, according to that same poll. That would seemingly give workers a lot more flexibility when it comes to where they call home.

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Top 10 digital transformation trends for 2021

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No one could have predicted where 2020 would take us: The last six months alone have produced more digital transformation than the last decade, with every transformation effort already underway finding itself accelerated, and at scale. While many of my digital transformation predictions from a year ago benefited from this shift, others were displaced by more urgent needs, like 24/7 secure and reliable connectivity. What does this mean for 2021? Will core technologies like AI and data analytics still dominate headlines, or will we see newer, previously emerging technologies take the lead? Only time will tell, but here are my top ten digital transformation predictions for 2021.

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Working from home : The new ‘industrial’ revolution

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Several centuries ago Europe and the USA underwent the industrial revolution, a transformation of our manufacturing processes enabled by the development of new machinery to support repetitive assembly line tasks within large factories.

The revolution served to bind workforces to specific locations and rigid working hours, triggering a fundamental societal shift as countries saw mass population migration from rural areas to the cities. Post-revolution life would never be the same again.

The question is, with millions of people currently working from home and showing little appetite to return to the office, are we witnessing a new industrial revolution across the knowledge economy?

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The office, as you know it, is dead

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 Plexiglass, masks, warning signs: Is this the office of the future?

 New York (CNN Business)Bustling skyscrapers and office parks packed with workers could be a relic of the pre-pandemic world.

The health crisis has forced millions of Americans to abandon their offices in favor of working from home, for better or worse. Now there are signs this may not be a short-term phenomenon, but more of a permanent shift in favor of remote work even after a Covid-19 vaccine is in place.

More than two-thirds (68%) of large company CEOs plan to downsize their office space, according to a survey released Tuesday by KPMG.

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Research: Professionals say working from home has made them more effective

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  In March, everything changed in an instant. And now, for the past six months, we’ve been living in a remarkably different kind of world.

Our living rooms became boardrooms; our business lunches became Zoom chats and the supply chain was, for a time, crippled. The global pandemic changed the way we lived and the way we worked. While some of us thought the change was only temporary, maybe for a few weeks, we were actually experiencing the dramatic onset of the theoretical topic we all called “the future of work.”

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The workforce is about to change dramatically

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Three predictions for what the future might look like

In march, tens of millions of American workers—mostly in white-collar industries such as tech, finance, and media—were thrust into a sudden, chaotic experiment in working from home. Four months later, the experiment isn’t close to ending. For many, the test run is looking more like the long run.

Google announced in July that its roughly 200,000 employees will continue to work from home until at least next summer. Mark Zuckerberg has said he expects half of Facebook’s workforce to be remote within the decade. Twitter has told staff they can stay home permanently.

With corporate giants welcoming far-flung workforces, real-estate markets in the superstar cities that combine high-paid work and high-cost housing are in turmoil. In the San Francisco Bay Area, rents are tumbling. In New York City, offices are still empty; so many well-heeled families with second homes have abandoned Manhattan that it’s causing headaches for the census.

You live where you work is a truism as ancient as grain farming; which means it’s as ancient as the city itself. But the internet specializes in disentangling the bundles of previous centuries, whether it’s cable TV, the local newspaper, or the department store. Now, with the pandemic shuttering the face-to-face economy, it seems poised to weaken the spatial relationship between work and home.

When the pandemic is over, one in six workers is projected to continue working from home or co-working at least two days a week, according to a recent survey by economists at Harvard Business School. Another survey of hiring managers by the global freelancing platform Upwork found that one-fifth of the workforce could be entirely remote after the pandemic.

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How to build a ‘rest ethic’ that is as strong as your work one

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The authors of a new book offer creative and thoughful ways to maximize your time off that will gift you with inspiration, ideas, and recovery.

Take in a deep breath and hold it. Keep holding. How long can you hold your inhale until it gets uncomfortable? Thirty seconds? A few minutes? It doesn’t take long until we all, eventually, need to exhale.

Think of your work ethic as the inhale (it is, in a way, as essential to your career as air is to your body). With a good work ethic, we make, execute, coordinate, manage, fulfill, and get things done. Task list—inhale. Project execution—inhale. Making our ideas come to life—inhale. But we can’t keep inhaling forever. Eventually we have to exhale. This exhale is your rest ethic, and it is just as essential.

A solid rest ethic gifts us inspiration, ideas, and recovery. It allows us to build up our enthusiasm and sustain our passion. Gaining a fresh perspective—exhale. Project ideation and “aha” moments—exhale. Letting big ideas incubate in your mind—exhale. And just as a deep exhale prepares you for a better inhale, your rest ethic enables you to have a better work ethic.

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Survey: 49% of remote workers report a drop in productivity

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Distractions at home and difficulty communicating with colleagues during the pandemic contribute to output declines, according to Globant.

During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused companies to make the sudden and drastic shift to remote work, something had to give, and for US employees surveyed by Globant, that something was productivity.

Globant, a digital transformation company, surveyed 900 US senior-manager level and below employees in April and found that nearly half (49%) said they had decreased output, according to its report released this week.

Distractions from the home environment and difficulty communicating with colleagues were the top two contributors to decreased productivity, Globant found.

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30% of remote employees admit to having an online account compromised on a work device

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A OneLogin survey covered how employees are using work devices for a variety of other things.

The transition to working from home has been rocky for millions of people as they adjust to transitioning workplace policies into the privacy of their own home. According to a new report from cybersecurity firm OneLogin, people are using work devices for much more than work, even after they’ve had accounts or passwords compromised.

The company’s 2020 COVID-19 State of Remote Work Survey Report features a global survey of 5,000 employees who started working remotely since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Of those surveyed, 30% have had a corporate device breached and only 10% changed the password afterwards. Half of organizations globally have not established cybersecurity guidelines regarding remote work according to the survey and US remote employees use work devices to access adult entertainment sites more than any other country.

Half of UK respondents had not changed their home Wi-Fi password in the last two years, compared with 36% overall, and 25% never changed their password while 45% of US workers have given their work passwords to their child or spouse, compared to 13% in the UK and 9% in France.

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Work-from-home is the new feminist frontier

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More moms are working from home than ever before in history. Without child care and school, it’s been a struggle. But many are also realizing that pursuing their careers while being present with their kids has its benefits, too.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, this was rare: An estimated 7% of employers offered permanent work-from-home options. Today, mid-crisis, that number has exploded to 57%. While the transition was ugly and disruptive, employers are now warming up to the idea, and some are making work-from-home options permanent.

On a large scale, this shift would have dramatic impacts on the economy, the workforce, real estate, the environment, and more. It would also be a game changer for working moms.

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4 ways work will change after the COVID-19 pandemic

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The CEO of Skylum notes that we will now understand how things can work when people are purely focused on productivity and communication, and that is going to change everything.

To say the coronavirus has had an impact on the way the world “works” would be an understatement.

In a matter of weeks, we’ve gone from a society that sees remote work as a luxury, or even a “freelancer lifestyle,” to realizing the vast majority of jobs today can be done from home. Companies that hadn’t moved the majority of their assets to the cloud are now doing so at a rapid rate. Video calls have gone from being a suboptimal alternative to a core function of the way we communicate. The list goes on and on—and the impact is here to stay.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve noticed several shifts in our company, Skylum, as more than 100 of us around the world have adjusted to the new rules of society.

Many have never worked from home before, which comes with a unique learning curve. Many have never had the opportunity to connect and collaborate with other employees who work out of offices on different continents—which is now easier since everyone is “remote.” Many have also never viewed their job descriptions through the lens of being quarantined, where tasks left unfinished become more obvious to the rest of the group (in an office setting it’s easier to appear “busy”).

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Why ‘as-a-service’ models will reign in a post-pandemic world

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It’s hard to think ahead when we are up to our necks in the misery and fear of a pandemic, but every CEO should be focused not just on how to survive, but how to thrive in the COVID-era. I say era because this is not a passing phase, but a new reality.

COVID is accelerating many societal and technology shifts and reversing others. The COVID-era is a technology-driven era with widespread and often forced adoption of trends like work-from-home, online retail, pickup/delivery services, entertainment-as-a-service, telemedicine (well, tele-you-name-it), and machine-learning. Embodied in this change are deep behavioral shifts that, even given a decade, might never have reached these proportions. Enabling nearly all of these shifts is an “… as-a-service (XaaS)” capability be it data, infrastructure, platform, software, or experience. XaaS was already on it’s way to becoming a juggernaut, with a market value of $93.8 billion in 2018 and projected to triple to $344.3 billion by 2024, but it’s now on a whole new COVID-triggered upswing.

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