Enterprise hits and misses - office workers Zoom into video fatigue, big tech chases connected cars, and Meta scores a (rare) metaverse win

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed October 17, 2022
This week - knowledge workers are back in the office: to do video calls and virtual meetings. Big tech doubles down on connected cars, while Meta nabs a metaverse deal with Microsoft. Fall events roll on, and fake employees make the whiffs section.


Lead story - Slack - knowledge workers are back in the office, but spend hours there on Zoom calls

You're back in the office, only to find yourself on back-to-back Zoom calls - then why did you bother? It's a loaded question, one that Gary explores, via survey data from Slack. Putting the video meeting problem aside for a moment, these stats jumped out:

Deep work benefits from less office distractions - "When it comes to so-called ‘deep work’ - the specific value-add tasks that knowledge workers are hired to do, like create marketing collateral, or coding, most people in the study (55%) say they think home has turned out to be the best place to be productive."

The office sparks community, and problem solving - "Some 66% stated that such quick, desk side conversations are important for problem solving, and 79% cite them as important for an overall sense of belonging."

There is emerging clarity on what the office is good for, and what the home office excels at. The next problem is: technology that unites the two. Slack, of course, thinks it has a solution to that. Gary supports Slack's notion of a "digital HQ." What is that? He quotes

Leaders need to see where people work is irrelevant. Now, we need to create a digital-first experience, as most of the people interacting with our business is going to be through digital means... Regardless of who you are, what demographic or geography you sit in, your experience on that digital platform needs to be the same across the board. If you do, people are happier as they can work from a physical location and remotely. You need to help people do what's best for them with technology, to support them to do the work in the way that they need to do.

Hard to argue with Gary:

That makes a lot more sense than going to an office to be with people, and then spending hours talking on Zoom or Teams instead.

As for video meeting creep (pun intended), there's no perfect solution (I'd argue that excessive video meetings can clobber the hopes of a productive day at the home office also). The idea of shorter video clips instead of 30 minute meetings could reduce (some) meeting load. Simulating water cooler talk to ease the remote work isolation is another (virtual) challenge worthy of pursuit. Flexible work: a riddle unsolved.

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage, as the enterprise event train chugs on:

Google Cloud Next analysis and use cases:

A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:

For all that, overall, the Index suggests that organizations entered 2022 confident of their own resilience, which is perhaps just as well given what’s unfolded globally since then...  As noted above, the pandemic did indeed accelerate organization change and transformation, with 90% of respondents pointing to this. Digital transformation was the most impacted (52%), followed close behind by changing to new flexible working models (51%).

Best of the enterprise web

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top seven

  • Biden Proposal to Make Gig Workers Employees Sinks Uber and Lyft Stock - As if Uber and Lyft didn't have enough (profit) problems...
  • AI tools fail to reduce recruitment bias - study - raise your hands if you're surprised. Via BBC News: "Of particular concern to the researchers were tools to 'analyse the minutiae of a candidate's speech and bodily movements' to see how closely they resembled a company's supposed ideal employee."
  • Why enterprise security needs strong identity tech like MFA - We need to limit the exposure of attacks using stolen identity credentials, and we're not close yet.
  • Meta Meets Microsoft - Ben Thompson gives Zuckerberg way too much credit with the "father of the metaverse" kind of talk, given that virtual reality and augmented reality were already gangly adolescents by the time Zuck caught on to them. But, since I've hammered the metaverse plenty in this column, we should acknowledge a significant partnership that does legitimize the further pursuit of these technologies. However, I will point you to this tweet as a counterpoint:
  • No Time Like the Present  - Lora Cecere continues her sizzlin' supply chain streak: "While one might argue that the availability of better data and insights can help companies make better decisions, let me share why I struggle with the analogy."
  • Cultivating organizational resilience - We haven't built resilient organizations yet, but we're making strides; McKinsey explains why.
  • Regulating DAOs - Bruce Schneier tackles the thorny problem of regulating nebulous crypto-instruments.

Overworked businessman


You have to love "pledges" made by companies advancing technologies beyond their direct control:

Meanwhile, I had to tweak Amazon for pushing the living heck out of a big budget series that adds up to elf dust between the toes of Bilbo Baggins:

(I found solace in a vastly superior show, HBO's under-the-radar quirky/gutsy/beautiful Station Eleven). Finally, we have a new and creative way to win the talent war: make up your employees. From scratch:

That's a wrap - If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses - in a good or bad way - let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does. Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed.

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