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What Remote Work Looks Like in 2021 and Beyond – ReadWrite




Remote work has been growing in popularity for a while now. In fact, before the novel coronavirus, over 50% of younger generations worked from home at least some of the time, according to a study from CloudApp.

The pandemic completely shifted the professional landscape. According to a Stanford study, 42% of the US labor force began working from home full-time in 2020, while just 26% of them operated out of a traditional business premise. (The remaining 32% weren’t able to work.)

In other words, remote work went mainstream. The question now is, how long will it last? Keep reading to learn our remote work predictions for 2021 and beyond.

7 Remote Work Predictions for 2021

So, what will remote work look like in 2021? We dusted off our crystal ball and took a look into the future. Here’s what we see happening in the coming year:

1. Remote Work Will Continue to Grow

In 2021, many workers will return to the office, construction site, warehouse and retail sites. Wherever it was, they worked before the pandemic hit. But many of them will also continue to operate out of their home offices. This return to the workplace is especially true for white-collar workers.

For example, major tech companies like Twitter, Shopify, Square, and Slack have announced that their employees can work from home indefinitely if they choose.

So, while we don’t expect to see 42% of American professionals working remotely for all of 2021, we do think that the percentage of remote workers around the world will continue to grow beyond the 2019 statistics.

Remote Work growth in 2021 and beyond.

2. Asynchronous Communication Will Become the New Normal

As more and more workers adopt a permanent remote work lifestyle, the need for asynchronous communication will skyrocket.

If you’re not familiar with the term, asynchronous communication is any form of communication that does not happen in real-time. In general, emails, Trello comments, phone messages, etc., fall into this category.

Synchronous communication is the opposite. This communication type happens in real-time, which means that in-person meetings, voice calls, and Zoom meetings are included.

The benefit of asynchronous communication for remote workers is clear. These folks can’t simply walk down the hall and talk with their colleagues. They might also be located in different time zones from their teammates. Asynchronous communication allows remote workers to converse with each other despite these hindrances.

If you plan to work from home (or somewhere other than a company office), we suggest using asynchronous communication tools like email, Slack, Trello, etc.

A screen recorder can also be useful for explaining complex processes and workflows to colleagues. You simply hit the record button, perform the process, and send the footage to your team. They can then watch the recording and grasp what you’re trying to tell them.

chatbot persona
Remote Work growth in 2021 and beyond.

3. Use of Visual Communication Tools Will Grow

We believe the use of visual communication tools will also increase in 2021, which totally makes sense when you think about it…

Again, remote workers aren’t able to converse with colleagues in-person — at least not on a regular basis. But seeing who you’re speaking to has numerous benefits. That’s why, according to Hubspot, nearly 100% of people claim face-to-face communication is vital to long-term business relationships.

Fortunately, visual communication tools will allow you to see your colleagues (and the projects they’re working on) while you speak to them, even if you’re working thousands of miles apart.

  • Video Conferencing: The pandemic made Zoom a household name. In all likelihood, you’ve attended a Zoom meeting or two (or 20) in the past few months. But there are other video conferencing tools that will allow you to host face-to-face meetings remotely. Some of our favorites include Highfive and ClickMeeting.
  • Screenshot Tools: Written communications are often unproductive. It can take a while to write and edit complex messages that are easy to understand. Fortunately, a screenshot tool can be used instead. Simply snap an image of your screen, annotate it with arrows and text boxes, and send it to your teammates.
  • GIF Creators: A GIF is a soundless video that loops continuously. You see them all the time on social media. As it turns out, they can be handy business tools as well. Record a quick GIF of your screen (or yourself via your computer’s webcam) and send the footage to your team. They’ll definitely appreciate the fun communication channel.

4. Company Culture Will Take Another Leap Forward

Organizations in every industry obsess over company culture. After all, if your culture isn’t great, nobody will want to work for you, which is obviously not ideal. This is why the “cool” companies offer catered lunches and technology budgets to their staff.

But when it comes down to it, culture is really about engagement, not fun perks. If you can engage your teams in their jobs, your company culture will naturally improve.

Engaging remote employees has unique challenges. Because these workers operate independently so frequently, it’s easy for them to lose touch with the businesses they’re employed by and become disengaged.

In 2021, company culture will need to take another leap forward and find ways to keep remote workers engaged. We predict that many organizations will stay connected by stressing communication more than they have in the past — and they’ll encourage employees to connect with each other socially during work hours.

remote team video conference
Image credit: Anna Shvets from Pexels

5. Organizations Will Re-Evaluate Their Retention Strategies

As remote work becomes normal for many professionals worldwide, organizations will need to reevaluate their retention strategies. After all, staffers will have more employment options than ever before because geography won’t keep them from accepting new job offers.

With this in mind, companies of all kinds will need to think long and hard about why their employees want to work for them and not a competitor. Perks like stipends, unlimited paid time off, and technology budgets can help in this regard.

But we also suggest going deeper. Try hard to connect your employees to your company’s mission and values. If they believe in the work they’re doing, they’ll stick around for longer.

Retention is often overlooked. It shouldn’t be. According to PeopleKeep, it can cost anywhere from 16% to 213% to replace an employee, depending on the position they vacate. You don’t want to spend tens of thousands of dollars on turnover in 2021, do you?

6. Communication Skills Will Increase in Importance

We’ve talked a lot about communication so far…

Yes, we believe that asynchronous communication strategies and the use of visual communication tools will explode in 2021. But that’s not all. We also predict that the need for dynamite communication skills will increase in importance as well.

Both managers and the remote employees they oversee will need to become communication experts to maintain productivity and effectiveness.

What will this look like? Here are a few ideas:

  • More Effective Tools: Communication is easier with the right tools. We encourage you to experiment with different options like Slack, Zoom, Trello, CloudApp, and others. Then choose the ones that work best for your organization and run with them.
  • A Hands-On Approach: Management professionals will need to get more hands-on with their staff in order to keep them in the loop and engaged. This probably means regular check-ins, pep talks, and making sure they’re always acting with empathy.
  • Total Commitment: Lastly, managers and remote employees will need to commit to communication. Both parties need to make staying in contact with other colleagues and managers a priority. If either side drops the ball in this regard, communication will suffer.

7. Virtual Onboarding Will be Essential

Did you know that great employee onboarding can boost retention by 82%? Unfortunately, 88% of companies don’t onboard well…

Here’s the thing: onboarding is even more important when dealing with remote workers. Why? Because you can’t simply give new hires an employee handbook and say, “Come find me if you have any questions.” Well, you could, but it would be horribly ineffective.

At least an in-office employee in this scenario has a few coworkers nearby they can talk to. Remote staff will be all alone in their home office, thinking, “Wait, what?”

A remote work maintains its prevalence in 2021; companies will need to find ways to improve their virtual onboarding processes. A few ideas include investing in cutting-edge onboarding technology, asking experienced team members to mentor new hires via phone calls, Slack chats, Zoom meetings, etc., and getting to know new hires on a personal level.

The Future of Work

Remote work is the future. Take another look at the seven predictions above to prepare yourself and your company for the coming changes. You’ll be glad you did! But don’t stop there. Begin to implement them into your organization’s strategies and workflows.

What do you think? Will remote work look differently in 2021 than what we laid out in this blog post? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Top Image Credit: andrea piacquadio; pexels

Joe Martin

Joe Martin

VP of Marketing

Joe Martin is currently the GM and VP of Marketing at CloudApp, a visual collaboration tool. He has more than 13 years of experience of marketing in the tech industry. Prior to his role at CloudApp, Martin was the Head of Social Analytics at Adobe where he led paid social strategy and a research team providing strategic guidance to organizations within the company. He has an M.B.A. from the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, Executive education in Entrepreneurship from Stanford Graduate School of Business, a B.S. in Finance from the University of Utah and a digital marketing certificate from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. His work has been published in the Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, NY Times, and other top tier outlets.


Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending



Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play

London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs



Deanna Ritchie

As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations



Deanna Ritchie

As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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