Zoom In: How Worktech Is Making Our Lives Better – In and Out of the Office

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At the end of 2019, Zoom Video Communications had 10 million users. Only a few months later in April 2020, that number sky-rocketed to 300 million. 

Looking back it’s funny to remember a time when a company’s tech person was required to set up a video conference call. The technology seemed complicated and sometimes unreliable. Fast forward to April 2020, the onset of the global pandemic, Zoom became so prevalent that grandmothers across the country who had multiple TV remotes labeled with masking tape were arranging Zoom mahjong games with their friends. 

What was once just a worktech product became an integral part of our personal lives. Instead of weekly team meetings, we leveraged Zoom to bring us together and keep us connected in the throws of the frightening health crisis. We had Zoom happy hours. Zoom birthday parties. I even hosted a murder mystery party via Zoom. Sure, we had Zoom fatigue after a while, but that’s to be expected with anything that becomes such a big part of your daily routine. 

There was a time when worktech consisted of an antiquated computer and a company printer and copy machine that never seemed to work. Today innovations in worktech from the way we communicate to the way we schedule our lives to the way we get paid are not just making our work lives easier and more enjoyable, but our personal as well. 

Take Slack for example. In 2019, about 8 million people used Slack. Today that number is approaching 40 million. While Slack is not as prevalent in our personal lives, millions are leveraging Slack to stay connected with colleagues in a quicker, easier, and less formal way than email. In a hybrid/remote work world with so many of our colleagues in so many different locations, Slack is a powerful tool for maintaining and fortifying personal connections with colleagues. While the actual water-cooler conversation on Monday morning might not be as big a thing anymore, slack conversations can make you feel you are all together sharing those thoughts about the latest movie or big game. It’s allowing these connections to take place offline and not just in person.

I would even add how we now schedule our lives into this worktech phenomenon. For many of us, if it’s not plugged into our Google Calendar then it’s simply not happening. Launched in 2006, the time management and scheduling service, Google Calendar, was created as both a worktech and personal tech product. With over 500 million users today, it’s the ultimate example of technology that can be utilized by both our professional and personal personas to make our lives easier to manage. The days of keeping a schedule in an actual hard copy of a daily planner seem like something out of the stone ages. Today, with the click of a button, we can keep track of where we need to be and whom we need to talk to, all from our phones or laptops. So whether it’s a meeting with the boss or a dentist appointment – our Google Calendars are also there to tell us where to be. 

Even the way we are paid has been impacted by new work technology. In a perfect world, my bills would line up perfectly with my check. Also, in a perfect world, I’d be a lot better at golf. But sadly we do not live in a perfect world. About 10 years ago, a handful of employers began offering their employees the ability to access their earned pay before payday to help pay bills on time. Today, earned wage access has become the default way millions of people are paid. This worktech product is leveraged to help employees manage their finances and avoid falling into the endless cycle of debt. Earned wage access is now table stakes for companies, especially those with Gen Z workers, who simply expect everything in their lives to be “on-demand.”

Worktech has certainly evolved to play a big role in our lives inside and outside the office. These work tech solutions and vendors have evolved to adapt to not only what helps people to be more productive, but make their lives easier. And that requires understanding what people need and what motivates them to succeed. Because when companies get that right, everyone wins.

As AI continues to make the things around us smarter, and our lives easier – I can only imagine what the future will hold. As long as it doesn’t involve that awful copy machine.

Now excuse me, I’m late for another Zoom call.

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