MEETING RECAP: Innovation in Telework
The Telecom Council held a meeting with the hot topic of “Telework” last week. With the Coronavirus thread, so many people have been forced to suddenly switch to Working From Home (WFH), and the shift has been accepted as anywhere between a godsend and a curse, depending on the individual worker, and their situation. While most people agree that they don’t miss the commute, they are split among those who prefer working from home, and those who prefer going to the workplace.
The reasons for those preference differences can be many:
- personality types, social needs or habits
- workspace at home or ergonomics
- productivity differences
To get more clarity, we had an expert overview from Vivian Kelly, CEO and Founder at Interprose. Kelly runs a PR company with a twist – for twenty-some years, she has built her company from the ground-up as a facility-free WFH organization. This means that her entire managerial experience, and her staff’s experience has been remote work or WFH. Much in the way Generation Z are digital natives, and relate differently to smartphones and the Internet, Kelly is a WFH native, with deep knowledge of what works, what doesn’t, how to hire for WFH, and which personalities thrive in WFH.
Among the lessons from Ms. Kelly are that the two biggest problems experienced in the surge of WFH after COVID lockdowns have been 1) Simply inadequate connectivity, Wi-Fi, and home broadband service; and 2) a lack of equipment configured, setup, and accessible from home. While these problems would be simple to solve, the rush on these products since March has made them hard to solve.
Meanwhile, the connectivity problem seems to offer a long-term opportunity for telecoms. Carriers could offer a WFH package or surcharge, which takes a normal consumer broadband connection, and fortifies it, offers some QoS, and maybe some security, and adds a surcharge to the consumer bill, which could be split somehow with the employer.
As usual, our meeting was capped with a series of interesting startup and innovator pitches, where we saw a number of WFH tools, or distributed workforce tools. Lots of cool demos on collaboration of teams and workgroups that are spread out. Thanks to everyone for joining us. As always, members can access the presentations from this meeting in the Member Library.