Over the last year our homes shifted from a totally personal realm to our new place of work. Technology gave businesses the flexibility needed to make this transition. Things we took for granted like video calls and messaging platforms, or remote VPN connections essentially kept businesses afloat. Other devices typically limited to offices had to rebrand for home applications.
Kelsey Johnson, Account Supervisor at March, chatted with Janabeth Ward, Senior Account Executive, about how tech leveled up their home offices, as well ways companies adapted to meet the need.
Janabeth Ward (JW): I think that the global pandemic obviously has had its downsides, the one big perk of it has been the flexibility it has given workers and employees to be able to really work from anywhere. I know, I personally have other friends who’ve taken advantage of work from home.
Kelsey Johnson (KJ): I have many friends that are doing the same thing, going to random places that they wanted to go for the longest time, but couldn’t in the past because of work, crazy schedules, and needing to commute every day. I feel like, especially at March, having that flexibility is awesome.
JW: You also recently moved into a new apartment, how is your work from home setup going?
KJ: It’s good. I don’t have a ton of furniture, because COVID has like really messed up supply chains. We saw the opportunity with COVID to move to a bigger space and decided to jump. I’m trying to find some more unique devices to add to my home office to make it a little more seamless.
JW: Kelsey, you mentioned how you used to work in your kitchen, I had a similar setup. In my old apartment, I would work in my kitchen. I feel like there are always all these distractions. One of my roommates was a teacher and worked from her room. Just between the two of us working from home, I feel like someone was always coming in and out of the kitchen space, whether they’re making lunch or just passing through. I think technology has been able to help me focus and make the whole process a little bit easier and allowing me to stay productive.
JW: I know that you and I work together on EPOS, which is a premium audio solutions company, and they make headsets for enterprise and business professionals. They really strive to have technologies, like AI and active noise cancellation. I find them helpful to help keep employees on track and not get distracted by all the things happening around them.
KJ: They had some interesting messaging around the downsides of not having consistent audio or quality audio. Like what is the most expensive word Business Report, which was really fascinating. I know you’re a little bit closer to that than I am. Is there like anything in there that was like particularly interesting to you?
JW: Not necessarily the what’s happening in the report specifically, but I think that they talked a lot about how we don’t really recognize the implications of bad audio and interruptive sounds, in terms of our productivity, our health, and our well-being, can really exacerbate stress on employees. It resulted in high blood pressure and headaches and side effects like that. That’s something that we don’t really think about in our day to day but it’s definitely a side effect that is probably affecting other people.
KJ: Other brands that I’ve seen, companies are starting to weave in for businesses and consumers as the hybrid workplace becomes more cemented in our society. It’s been really exciting to see all of these different and unique technologies that have, all of a sudden, been forced into the limelight, because they’re relevant and useful to now. Not only the everyday consumer, but the everyday worker.
I heard about one through a couple friends, because they just gotten it and it seems awesome. I thought about getting it because I don’t know about you, but I still can’t land on the perfect WiFi speed that works with the buffering and the slack. Especially this week, slack has barely been slowing down my computer. It’s a Google product called the Google nest WiFi. Have you heard of this or have you seen this?
JW: I haven’t. I’m familiar with Google products but I have never heard of this WiFi product.
KJ: It’s a smarter mesh router, and they have had previous legacy products that have been okay, but this one is getting rave reviews. Basically, how it works is you plug it into your existing providers modem and then it can cover 5800 square feet of any given space at extremely efficient speeds. There is next to no lag time with buffering or zoom calls. RingCentral seems so much better for my office. I’m assuming, if anybody’s working in like internal working pods, there could be a huge benefit for a smaller business that is trying to get back together lightly, while still like maintaining social distancing restrictions.
That’s when I’ve been tracking. I’m curious to see how small businesses if they start to adopt that product as well.
KJ: I know another one of our clients has an interesting case study into the growing value of antivirus. Personally, I’ve never prioritized antivirus because I assumed that I’m not susceptible and can’t be touched. But that’s not true. We’ve learned that through our work with them, so many interesting things about consumers. When they work from home, they are using their business devices, and aren’t prioritizing the level of security that’s needed for an enterprise product. That’s another interesting thing, where I feel we’re going to see a lot of consumers start to take on more awareness and understanding of why security itself is so important.
We also have Sophos, which is the enterprise side of the house as a client. They’re partnering with a ton of different brands to be able to provide the best possible security when their employees are working from home. We’ll only continue to see that trend grow of this kind of like B2B to C within the security landscape. Even though it’s still a business operating as it typically does, their employees are in different locations, they don’t have the IT infrastructure to support the security that’s needed anymore. It’s an interesting expansion into the consumer market and needing to make sure there’s that level of education and awareness that’s happening. That has been another interesting development that I’ve been tracking and I’m excited to see where it goes.
JW: On the security front, I agree that, as a consumer and then also someone who works in tech, I always feel I am informed. I don’t think about security as much as I probably should. I think that it will be interesting to see how people or if people become more aware of that and the different kinds of technology out there to monitor their devices. Especially as our society does become more connected with the working from home lifestyle that we’ve embraced.
KJ: At the same time, I really hope all of this comes to an end soon. I do love the work from home office environment, personally it’s a better work life balance. Especially for you, as you explore this new city, that would be great to be able to have no pressures of also figuring out your new commute.
JW: I am excited to continue working from home. I hope that some Marchers eventually come visit Atlanta once things begin to open up again. I’m also looking forward to seeing how things continue to evolve, the different technology and solutions, that come out of this and seeing what we start to use.
Listen to the full conversation – and three others about what we’re keeping tabs on this year – on our podcast, The Innovator’s Mic.