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5 facts about working from home you might not have considered

Adnan Kayyali

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5 facts about working from home

Before the pandemic, we could safely assume that most people’s idea of a job involved some kind of specialized facility. As the spread of COVID-19 worsened however, working from home became the new reality that many businesses faced.

Since then, we have had plenty of time to explore remote work life and discover the real effects of wearing sweatpants under a button up.

Remote work saves costs

This is probably the most appealing thing to business owners. Besides providing a work laptop if needed, working from home saves employers a significant amount of money.

All the money that was used for office supplies, utility bills, maintenance and equipment can now be saved for other business-related expenses. Moreover, the need for a proper office space for meetings can take place in a rented space, if required.

These costs are measured per person and a report by Global Workplace Analytics stated that businesses can save up to $11,000 per person per year by switching to working from home.

It eliminates job stress

Remote employees report increased job satisfaction and retention than traditional office workers. This is partly due to the major amount of stress they are being spared; from spending less time with their families, commuting, large meetings and the fear of being infected by others at work.

The comforts of an employee’s home make it harder to overstress, and that leads to a happier employee, which of course increases productivity.

But –

It can be hard on employees

Freelancers who work remotely can attest to the fact that working in the same space that you sleep in, can be daunting. Not having a set punch-in punch-out time could blur the lines between home and office life. A day that lacks structure, routine and daily rituals can lower productivity. This can also hinder a person’s ability to unwind after a hard day, and in some cases, may lead to heightened reluctance/anxiety to leave the house as that now requires more effort.

Which brings us to the good news for the employer –

Remote employees log in more hours

Yes, it’s true. As mentioned, the lines between being “at work” and not, are less clear when working from home. However, contrary to what many expected, employees on average end up logging in more hours, not less.

An employee working from home need not worry about getting to work on time, or rush to clean up and get dressed after waking up late. Just get up, get your coffee and switch on that laptop.

Remote employees report less distraction

This one is hard to believe but yes, again it’s true. If you think about it, most distractions at work come from colleagues and meetings. In addition, many have reported that feeling safer at home encourages a greater level of focus, whereas the stress of being at the office might trigger distractions like engaging in banter with colleagues or taking more frequent cigarette breaks.

What we must keep in mind is that the months we have spent dealing with COVID-19 have been the ultimate experiment for remote work adoption. But, as we know from our many vaccine-related articles, it is far too early to draw any long-term conclusions.

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Junior social media strategist with a degree in media and communication. Technology enthusiast and freelance writer. Favorite hobby: 3D modeling.

MedTech

Film industry revenues devastated amid pandemic

Adnan Kayyali

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film industry

Few can forget the feeling of walking down the carpeted hallway, arms burdened with overpriced snacks and drinks, walking down that familiar noise-proof hallway.

Sadly, many have not felt the anticipation of the lights finally going off after a series of trailers and ads in a while. Movie theatres lay empty, popcorn machines getting rusty, and film industry revenues have tanked.

Box office revenue had been growing consistently for the past three decades prior to 2020.

Since last year, however, film industry revenues went down nearly 80 percent in a sharp dip, from just under $12 billion in 2019 to around $2.1 billion in the United States. Consumer spending during the pandemic had gone mainly to groceries, household supplies and home entertainment.

Spending went down sharply with almost every other consumer product especially the more luxurious ones as people keep a tight fist around their funds in uncertain times.

Suffice to say that going to the movie theatre is not exactly a recreational or unwinding experience when faced with the prospect of being in a room with even a single infected person. It is for that reason that ticket sales in the U.S. have hit a practical rock bottom.

In December of 2020, Warner Bros responded to the sudden drop in film industry revenues and movie ticket purchases by making all their 17 movies slated for 2021 available on HBO max. If people cannot go to the movies, the movies will just have to go to them. This is an unprecedented move that nobody would have thought possible one year ago, but the times have changed a great deal.

“No one wants films back on the big screen more than we do,” said Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO of Warner Media Studios and Networks Group, said in a statement. “We know new content is the lifeblood of theatrical exhibition, but we have to balance this with the reality that most theaters in the U.S. will likely operate at reduced capacity throughout 2021,” she added.

The future of the movie theatres and film as we were used to it is quite uncertain. 

The home streaming revenue model will just have to take over as the new reality, but hopefully people’s love of the theatre experience can be rekindled in a post-pandemic world, allowing us to go back to paying way too much for a soft drink that is sixty percent ice.

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MedTech

Did the Pandemic bring the next Tech Bubble?

Mounir Jamil

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tech bubble

As the winds of the tech world keep on turning, updates brought forward by the pandemic and changes in the playing field can be clearly seen.

This comes at a time when some experts speculate that we are on the verge of another tech bubble almost similar to the real estate bubble witnessed by Dubai and many other countries many years ago.

While these times may prove to be intriguing to any tech enthusiast, they are certainly dangerous and troublesome for those navigating it.

After a small whiff of being the world’s richest man Tesla founder and billionaire Elon Musk fell back to second richest person in the world after Tesla’s stocks fell by nearly 8 percent this week. Earlier this year, a spur of the moment type tweet caused him to lose $14 billion in Tesla market value in hours.

This tweet alone caused the $14 billion plummet in Tesla’s market value, alongside $3 billion to be knocked off in Musk’s own stake,  not to mention the price he had to pay: Removing him for head of Tesla board.

The tech world will literally chew you and spit you back out, and as the industry witnesses constant change, adding a pandemic only makes it harder to navigate. Several thoughts and ideas have begun to spring up on the internet, speculating the dawn on a new tech bubble, one like that of 2001.

With Musk’s anecdote in mind, one can’t but help think about the other tech and communication companies that are regarded as winners in a post-COVID world as stock pricing soars and other parts of the industry falter.

Investors have bundled together a handful of names, most notably the dubbed FAANGM stocks (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google, and Microsoft).

These businesses have managed to sail against the currents,  defying odds as they performed comparatively well during the onslaught of the pandemic.

It is important to note, however, that these big tech companies, were already well armed with the means necessary to accommodate for major shifts brought forward by the pandemic namely the shift to remote work, increased need for personalized in-home entertainment, and definitely the increased e-commerce needs.

Needless to say, these big tech companies are well established, with solid cash flows and stable balance sheets, the underlying point is that the strength of recent performance is creating a momentum that is driving more investors to speculate and pay less attention to price, the result – valuations have shot up.

The parallels of a current tech bubble with that of the 1990s are one too many. Internet stocks are the big craze. Investments are paving way for speculation as Wall Street dishes out IPOS for dot-com stocks that promise earnings or a transformative information economy.

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MedTech

Smart Homes: Tech making our indoor time friendlier

Mounir Jamil

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As people around the world have been locked away behind the walls of their homes, an enhanced focus has been placed to perfecting everything on the inside to maximize levels of comfort and productivity needed on a daily basis.

The pandemic has forced us into a new reality where we look toward at new avenues to increase our time at home – fueled by fierce technology, the smart home trend has witnessed an increase in popularity.

While smart homes have been around a bit before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, we can defiantly see a surge in their consumption now and an increased demand for them as a study from Statista reveals that the global smart home market revenue was forecast to reach a value of more than $141 billion by 2023.

The term “smart home” can be a bit alluring, as it more precisely refers to a practical and convenient setup of applications and devices that can be automatically controlled remotely anywhere via an Internet connection.

In a nutshell, a smart home functions by having several devices that are connected to each other, which can be accessed through one central point, typically being a tablet, smartphone, or laptop.

These devices range from key home appliances such as lights, switches, water temperature, security system, air conditioning and etc. Other nifty gadgets allow homeowners to control Smart TVs and speakers, letting them set the right mood for a perfect stay indoors.

All these gadgets and devices in a smart home are interconnected through the Internet and give the user several options such as controlling home functions like lighting, temperature, security, and of course their home theater remotely.

The neat part about smart home appliances is that they come equipped with self-learning skills that allow them to quickly pick up in homeowner’s schedules, preferences, and routines to make the needed adjustments when necessary.

We can notice a direct increase in usage brought forward by the pandemic, as a study finds that one-third of smart home device owners report an increased usage during the pandemic.

Another interesting point to draw is that the two top used devices in a connected home are the smart door lock and camera-based security devices reflecting the needs of accessibility and security.

While the market holds a promising future for potential investors, they should be warned that it does come with a competitive and vibrant landscape coupled with a suite of companies creating customized offerings for their buyers.

On a brighter note, the barriers for entry into the smart home market are projected to decrease with the additional demand of digital security, entertainment systems, and lighting solutions going up.

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