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Friday, August 7, 2020

Coronavirus is a Beta Test For Remote Work

Coronavirus is a beta test for remote work
  1. Remote-work software companies
  2. Quarantine may kickstart remote work
  3. We will emerge from Coronavirus, but do we evolve or resume?
  4. My most positive outlook
  5. Ease client concerns during this challenging time

Pandemonium was palpable last week as many of us began to feel a creeping sense of unease around the rate at which the Coronavirus is spreading. All over social and mainstream media outlets, we saw massive unrest as people cleared supermarket shelves grasping on to some semblance of security at this uncertain time. 

Still, there are opportunities to be had during this systemic COVID-19 quarantine.

No, I don’t mean shorting the market. Though, making money off crises is about as American as apple pie.

How each of us treats this event and use our time can strengthen our prospects when the economy is back performing at its full potential.

Remote-work software companies

The Coronavirus kicked the American economy right where it hurts – by shutting down in-person retail and service sectors. Bloomberg estimates that the likelihood of the U.S. entering a recession in the next 12 months is over 50%, but it’s probably more like 100%.

The Covid-19 pandemic is a uniquely challenging economic hurdle because it threatens our health and productivity. But many companies and government employers already allow for some remote work to stave off a full shutdown. While specific sectors will be disproportionately affected, others may be more resilient because they integrated technology into workflows.

The largest remote-work software companies stand to benefit from a change in the work setting and are well-capitalized, with 0 debt, to grow. Zoom Video Communications (NYSE: ZOOM)removed the meeting time-limits on their free version and extended the service to colleges and schools. Since last year they’ve increased revenue by 88% (to $622.6M) and grown Net Income by 233% (to $25.3M). Slack (NYSE: WORK) reported an 88% growth in revenue ($622.6M) over the past year, along with a 233% growth in Net Income ($25.3M).

Quarantine may kickstart remote work

President Trump continues to urge American companies to allow their employees to work from home whenever possible. European countries are shutting their borders left and right and, even conservative efforts expect a similar response in the United States. The Coronavirus will change how our communities, especially workplaces, interact.

As of last year, only 29% of Americans can work from home, but that share of remote work has tripled in the past 15 years (Bureau of Labor). Obviously, that option is consolidated into specialized sectors. Only 1 in 20 service workers have the option of remote work, while more than half of information workers can transition more smoothly.

The only reason we are attached to working in the office is that we have over 100 years of directed attention towards making employees productive in that environment.

Coronavirus can shake that conditioning.

We will emerge from Coronavirus, but do we evolve or resume?

Workers may emerge from their isolation with an expectation to work from home, at least partially. So, firms need to build systems and mechanisms to help workers remain productive at home.

More anxiety is sure to come. Actions now need to be proactive and preventative to ward off unnecessary stress and fear of job-loss among your employees. A quarantine seems inevitable for much of the United States.

Preserve corporate culture and camaraderie, for instance, because it shouldn’t disappear with isolation. Email communication does not connect us well enough to maintain morale. Consider video conferencing because such visual messages, especially from corporate leadership, can make a massive difference to preserving productivity during stressful times.

My most positive outlook

Uncertainty, though, breeds insecurity. Fear brings more fear.

I feel an urge to remind you, reader, that neither are intrinsic parts of your mind or states of consciousness.

Fear is a triggered response from external stimuli. We can resist these outside forces that benefit from mass panic, and we can create mental barriers to not succumb to paranoia.

A pandemic is not the time to figure out what labor arrangement is most fitting for employees. But, Firms still need to focus on how to implement remote systems to keep employees productive. When the economy is back in full swing, work expectations will have changed, and people may have adapted to a more remote role. This can also be an opportunity to create lasting systems that allow employees to be happier and more productive by working remotely.

Ease client concerns during this challenging time

Dispelling fear is essential to formulate, as our CEO wrote, a sensible action strategy to navigate the next few weeks or months. Then, you must have confidence in the plan and communicate with your clients and employees.

RiXtrema will continue to provide relevant and insightful content to help financial advisors navigate this difficult time. Portfolio Crash Test, for instance, can easily prove to your clients that you have their best interest in mind and are considering thousands of possible risk scenarios. Contact our Client Success Team at clientsuccess@rixtrema.com or visit our website to receive a call back to learn more about RiXtrema’s Financial Planning Software.

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