Flexible working policies to become standard

The world’s largest companies are advising their workers to stay at home to combat the coronavirus. Reports from enterprises such as Ford, General Motors and Unilever are all suggesting that teams are switching to remote and flexible working. At present, the UK Government has not proposed a lockdown on working in office spaces. Ann Francke, head of the CMI, said this may “change the workplace forever”.  

Remote working could be a permanent fixture

Technology experts are predicting that many office workers will have no desire to return to the office once the COVID-19 global pandemic is under control. Alex Hern, Technology Editor at the Guardian, notes that tech firms are benefiting most from the current changes to working patterns. However, he also warned that some employees may question “why they needed to be in the office in the first place”. Tech giants such as Microsoft are temporarily waiving fees on collaborative software in the hope that more people will adopt in the future.  

Microsoft Teams suffers as remote workers soar

As more and more UK businesses turn towards working from home, a well-known collaboration tool appeared to have crumbled at the rise in demand. It was reported on Monday 16th March that the Microsoft Teams app suffered a two-hour outage, which affected workers all over Europe.  The problems began at 7am and Microsoft reported that they had been “mitigated” by 10am, but this did not stop competitors such as Slack and Alphabet from taking advantage – their user numbers are by up by 500 per cent.

Many UK businesses are “still not prepared” for remote working

Findings from new research has revealed that many UK businesses are simply not prepared for remote working, despite the current need. A report conducted by VoIP provider 8X8 revealed that a staggering 41 per cent of companies had no formal remote working policies in place, while 15 per cent of companies allowed no form of remote working whatsoever.

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Studies show neurons react differently to same stimuli

Research from the team at Nature Communications has revealed our neurons fire differently, even if we are looking at the same object. “Neural activity changes when your attention is focused on an object or when your attention is split,” says George Denfield, who is studying in the Medical Scientist Training Programme. The results could spell big changes for collaboration tools as we begin to understand more about how to get the best from our focus.  

We can ‘train our brains’ to increase attention spans

In an age where we are constantly bombarded by notifications, it can be difficult to focus on one task. In addition, chronic sleep deficiency and a reliance on caffeine are making the problem worse. Thankfully, scientists have come up with ways to ignore these distractions. For tedious tasks, we can ‘reward’ ourselves by committing to one thing for five minutes, while we should also switch off mobile phones and consider white noise devices to block out exterior influences

Holographics: the next step in collaboration?

Investors are turning their attentions towards the next technological development in collaboration. The team at Spatial are now pushing virtual reality collaboration, whereby lifelike avatars replace the need for traditional video conferencing. Users simply connect by VR headset and do not have to commit to one device as the hardware is described as ‘device agnostic’. “Last year we saw a strong demand to collaborate in AR/VR from more than 25% of the Fortune 1,000,” says Spatial CEO Anand Agarawala.

Visual collaboration software set for huge growth

A new report has revealed that visual collaboration platform software will skyrocket in popularity by 2027. In particular, the software will have a landmark effect on the manufacturing industry, and its reach will go as far APAC, Europe, MEA, North and South America. The Global Visual Collaboration Platforms Software Market Research Report 2020-2027 is out now.

Remote working has “given us more access to better talent”

By removing the borders of office-only working, we have “opened up the talent pool”, say experts at the Financial Times. The new shift in modern work has given employers more opportunities to work with parents, caregivers, military spouses and those with physical mobility issues, offering a more inclusive workplace. Darren Murph, Head of Remote at GitLab, said: “We find that our 1,200 all-remote staff worldwide are more productive and happier at home, rather than, say, being stuck in a car or train commuting.”