16 years of changing the landscape for office space from our home in Denver
Hey everyone! My name is Matt DiRienzo and I’m a Product Manager for ReadyTalk’s new video collaboration platform, FoxDen. This week, myself and my fellow FoxDen Product Manager, Tim Myers, are going to be riding around Colorado on the Tech Tour bus talking with fellow leaders in the technology industry. Each day, you can expect a new piece of content from myself or one of my fellow ReadyTalkers about the CTA theme of the day, so check back all this week to see what we are up to.
Today’s theme: The growing Colorado technology industry and its global roots.
As you may or may not know, ReadyTalk has been a leader in Colorado tech industry for the past 16 years. We started back in 2000 as an audio and web conferencing company and have grown over that time into a cloud communication company. Since day 1, ReadyTalk has been able to plant our seeds all over the globe by having participants join our customer’s audio and web conferences from every continent. From there, our customer base also grew into the international space and continues to do so. And this global expansion was done from our office here in Denver.
16 years later, we launched FoxDen, our new video collaboration platform and the same thing happened, but faster. FoxDen just launched in April, but we already have international users in places like Argentina, Australia, South Korea, India and Brazil. We built the FoxDen platform to work anywhere, anytime, so where you were located and what device you are using shouldn’t matter. It just works and allows borders just to be lines on a map instead of a barrier.
Why did we build FoxDen this way? The future of work and some emerging technology trends we are seeing made it obvious we had to continue to think beyond Colorado and beyond the borders of the United States.
The physical office space is changing. Knoll Design wrote a great research paper on how the physical office space is changing here in the U.S. as well as internationally. You know what they found? Companies are downsizing their offices:
Accenture has achieved a 40% reduction in their UK portfolio and reduced real estate in the US by 70%, from 3 million to 900,000 square feet. For Accenture, this has been a carefully managed, thoughtful transition, facilitated by technology, and driven by people-centered thinking. “For both consultants and corporate functions there’s a choice of places to work: Accenture, client sites, home, or third spaces,” says Daniel Johnson, Global Director Workplace Innovation at Accenture. “The goal is to support work, and ensure we deliver the best work regardless of the specific location.”
I really want to highlight that last sentence, “The goal is to support work, and ensure we deliver the best work regardless of the specific location”. This is something that comes up again and again in Knoll’s research paper as well as what we are hearing from our customers here at ReadyTalk. With new technology innovations, it doesn’t matter where you work anymore. This workplace strategy is giving companies the ability to look outside of the city or country they are located in for talent. Which brings me to the next future of work trend we are seeing.
There is a talent shortage in the tech industry (and others). And this shouldn’t be shocking news to anyone. If it is, the shortage can be explained by simple math:
According to a recent Gartner report called “Service Providers are Waging War Against U.S. Talent Shortage With Unconventional Methods,” this is the biggest problem facing the U.S. technology economy:
By 2020, there will be 1.4 million computer specialist job openings, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. But projections show universities are not likely to produce enough qualified graduates to fill even about 30% of these jobs.
The talent shortage is making companies adjust their hiring strategy when it comes to finding talent. Not only are companies looking outside the state they are located in, they are also looking outside the country. Hunting for talent outside of where your organization is currently located can get expensive quickly due to bringing talent in for interviews as well as relocation costs when you hire them (plus nexus tax).
Shameless plug alert. FoxDen is already changing how ReadyTalk is hiring new employees outside of Colorado and doing so without having to incur the additional costs in doing so. We recently hired a new associate user experience designer who went through the interview process completely over FoxDen. She was living in Chicago and we didn’t have to bring her into our Denver office once during the interview process. Even after she was hired, she worked remotely from Chicago while looking for housing here in Denver. Her first time setting foot in our Denver office was a month after she got hired!
Another way to avoid relocation costs is to make sure your organization adopts a remote work policy. This policy shouldn’t just apply to new hires but your current employees as well. In the tech industry, this has been a common practice since the dotcom boom in the 90s. Keep in mind a remote work policy isn’t just about attracting talent but keeping the talent you already have as well. Back to the Knoll research paper:
Research by Deloitte suggests that flexible working can improve the retention of high performers by as much as 100%, as well as improving employee engagement.
I believe that we are already seeing and will continue to see organizations favoring allowing employees to work remotely, rather than spending the money to relocate them to where the organization is located, or losing talent for not allowing them to work where they feel they can be the most effective and efficient.
Here at ReadyTalk, this is something we have been doing since we opened our doors. At any given time, we have a percentage of our workforce working from somewhere other than our office here in Denver. They may be just working from home. but they might be in a completely different state or somewhere internationally. In fact, my manager is currently working remotely from Sonoma, California and we have a software engineer working from the Czech Republic.
Shameless plug alert. FoxDen not only makes it easier for my co-workers to work remotely, but helps keep them actively engaged with our Denver office. It’s easy to forget about a person that is calling in on the phone. The polycom on the table in your conference room is easy to ignore which means your co-worker calling in on that polycom is easy to ignore too. On the other hand, having a co-worker use FoxDen to join via video makes it much harder to ignore since video makes it feel like they have a seat at the table.
What about your organization? Are any of these future of work trends emerging where you work? Does your organization have a remote work policy? I would love to hear your thoughts and if your organization is adopting a new remote work policy.