Virtual Corporate Culture : How to Get Ahead of the Integration Craze
Felipe Sadala, Helene Thibieroz, We Grow Green Tech
As we move into late summer, it is clear to see that the COVID-19 virus is not going away anytime soon. This means that companies will need to adapt their work environment into a more virtual integrated ambiance. This also provides a huge opportunity for businesses to develop new programs to integrate companies’ workplaces at home. Many companies are starting to move most of their workforce to remote locations, in an effort to maintain their employee’s safety. Even though this is supposed to be a temporary solution, many people believe that companies will never go back to work the same. Companies may realize how much more time and cost-efficient they can be by asking some of their employees to work from home. Meetings may be moved to virtual programs or even resolved through email. Projects managed in digital space may be able to be worked on at full capacity, allowing everyone to collaborate at the same time. Not only will we find the cost and time benefits, but there are also huge environmental benefits as well. That is where we come in.
Here at We Grow Green Tech, we are committed to being a growth and impact platform. Our mission, accelerate early-stage green tech companies for large scaling. So by doing research about virtual integration and its market, our goal was two-folds: increase efficiency by optimizing lean enterprise through digital transformation and promote frugal entrepreneurship- doing more with less.
One of the main benefits of a virtual integrated company is its environmental impact. With a large population of its employees telecommuting from home, this will reduce the number of people that would have to commute to work. Thus reducing the number of vehicle carbon emissions dramatically. According to a report from the World Economic Forum, digital technologies can cut global emissions by 15% .
Not only does it reduce carbon emissions, but it’s really effective in reducing waste. With fewer people at work, companies produce significantly less waste. People will naturally not want to produce as much waste as they would in an office, because they would have to deal with their waste at home. One real-world example would be in India. Because of the Covid-19 lockdown, people in the state of Punjab were forced to work from home. The number of cars that were on the road decreased so much that people were able to finally see the Himalayas mountains for the first time in almost 30 years . If one state in India produces such a result, now imagine the effects of what more companies could do if they switched to a mostly virtual work environment.
As work from home is our present and our possible future, what are the technologies required for a company to implement working from remote areas ? One of the main technologies that made remote working possible is cloud technology. This technology allows users to save and upload their files through the internet. These files are stored electronically in a data center that can be accessed at any time and from anywhere. The big sell however is the fact that these files can easily be shared among other people, allowing for multiple people to collaborate on a certain project. With the ability to access data and documents from anywhere, and having the ability of multiple people collaborating on it, cloud technology becomes essential for successful virtual integration. This technology allows us to make working from home a long time solution.
With 62% of employees saying that they could work from home, this change of remote working may not be going away so soon . Therefore, it is important for companies to establish a remote work protocol as we all get ready to make a switch. While doing some research, we came up with a few categories that will help companies better decide between virtual integration applications. The first category we looked for was how simple and easy to understand the layout of the program was. This is key to highlight because it helps minimize the learning period, allowing new users to have a more pleasant experience in understanding what is going on and be more efficient in their time. The second category we looked for was the kind of program offerings and its integrations. Limited features make it hard for companies to integrate various different programs, causing confusion when bouncing around interfaces. Having options such as file sharing and assignment management is important in the efficiency and ease of integration. The third thing I looked for when picking programs was the pricing. It is widely known that going virtual can save your company a lot of money, in some cases even $11,000 a year . One of the main reasons is because of reduced overhead. Companies will save on the office space for these remote workers, therefore cutting down costs. This more than ever has been crucial for companies to stay afloat due to a decrease in business sales and economic crisis.
Working from home however could also add cost in other places. According to Steven Landberg, managing director at Claymore Partners, “The Covid driven rapid shift to working from home may reduce office space requirements and lower rental costs, but will add costs for technology connectivity and security to enable that transition. In person approaches will also rebound as the virus becomes more manageable requiring office space reconfiguration.” This means that the shift to virtual office space will be slow, as companies will try to go back to in person office spaces. Companies should take into account all the categories above and more when deciding rather they should use that certain program.
With the three categories above, we chose a couple of different programs that will best assist us in seamless virtual integration. It is important however to note that with an already crowded marketplace, it is impossible to choose a perfect solution. The first program was called Monday. Monday is an Israeli company that serves around 100,000 organizations. Founded in 2012, Monday now has an evaluation of around $1.9 Billion . A key differentiator was how simple the layout of the program was. With only a couple of minutes of research, we felt comfortable enough to operate the program. As pictured above, the layout lends itself really well in being clear where people have questions and the task at hand. By stating the due date clearly, and having the timeline bar clearly represent visually how much time a person has left, makes it almost impossible to get confused. Monday also offers around 8 different products that are useful in running a business, but we felt the best choice was their extensive “remote work” product. An other noticeable feature was the amount of integration they have with other products. Monday integrates with around 30 other products, including Slack, Gitlab, and Zoom. This boasts a huge advantage for the user because employees will always be able to easily access and utilize all data in the Monday software, improving efficacy and ease of use. Last noticeable feature is their user interface. By having a simplistic look, it instantly grabs your attention. The marketing makes you feel like they built the product for easy learning, making you feel invited in the process.With its ease of use, and features that beat out its competitors, Monday seems to be one of the best virtual integration softwares out right now.
An other widely used application for remote communication is Slack. Slack, probably the most famous virtual integration software, was established in 2013 and has around 135,983 companies using it. More notably however is the fact that 65 Fortune 100 companies use this program. Much like Monday, Slack has all the components are essential for virtual integration. With a simple interface, extreme integration with other programs, and affordability at its forefront, Slack becomes one of the best programs to virtually integrate your company.
Those were only 2 of the most notable programs in the market right now. However, as we progress more into the future, we will see an immense amount of virtual integration software being developed that will revolutionize the way we work from home. In fact, we are already seeing this trend happen. Reports show that there has been a 44% growth in the virtual work environment industry in the last 10 years, even before COVID-19 . This makes it extremely important for new companies to get on this trend now, as it will prove hugely beneficial for the switch to a more remote working environment.
As more companies embrace digital transformation and more efficient processes, we also have a chance to develop and define a more inclusive and sustainable work environment for our Planet and its people.
 World Economic Forum, “Digital technology can cut global emissions by 15%. Here’s how”, 15 Jan 2019 https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/why-digitalization-is-the-key-to-exponential-climate-action/
 Picheta, Rob. “People in India Can See the Himalayas for the First Time in ‘Decades,’ as the Lockdown Eases Air Pollution.” CNN, Cable News Network, 9 Apr. 2020, www.cnn.com/travel/article/himalayas-visible-lockdown-india-scli-intl/index.html.
 Global Workplace Analytics. “Latest Work-at-Home/Telecommuting/Mobile Work/Remote Work Statistics.” Global Workplace Analytics, 30 July 2020, globalworkplaceanalytics.com/telecommuting-statistics.
 Levy, Ari. “Working from Home Is Here to Stay, Even When the Economy Reopens.” CNBC, CNBC, 11 May 2020, www.cnbc.com/2020/05/11/work-from-home-is-here-to-stay-after-coronavirus.html.
 Hering, Beth Braccio. “Remote Work Statistics for 2020: New Norms and Expectations.” FlexJobs Job Search Tips and Blog, FlexJobs.com, 13 Feb. 2020, www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/remote-work-statistics/.