Working from home is creating interesting trends that some expect to continue on the other side. Employers and employees are seeing what is possible and seeing the benefits. Piggybacking off our first post about food delivery, it will be interesting to see if lunch food delivery will increase as more people work from home. Heck, maybe employers will add that as a perk that you get free food and coffee delivery at home (side note Panera has an $8.99/month unlimited coffee subscription).

Direct WFH – Work from Home

Lots of historic search volume highs in this group which is not surprising. Two interesting pieces are that Zoom Meeting Software is absolutely obliterating the competition. It should be an interesting case study in the future. Secondly, Microsoft flipped the switch and has now passed Slack in search volume. Scott Galloway has been predicting for some time that Microsoft will squash Slack. These two companies, Zoom and Microsoft, are on bullet trains towards each other. Microsoft Teams has video meetings + a bunch of other communication and collaboration tools that of course integrate nicely with other Microsoft Products (word, excel etc…). Zoom currently has a huge search volume lead and brand momentum so the ball is in their court but they have a really well-funded giant running next to them.

Takeaway – Some clear winners are emerging early which in the long run will be very positive for their companies. This forced experiment of working from home, in my opinion, will lead to more working from home on the other side of shelter in place. Offices and in-person human interaction are necessary for full creativity and collaboration but there will be a shift. — Office space is not getting used which is negative for that industry. A sustained work from home movement will change the commercial office real estate landscape.

Home Improvement

This section is being driven by people being forced to stay at home with no sports to watch and in tandem with working from home. Eventually, the no sports to watch and no activities outside the home will go away but in the short term lots of home improvement projects are getting tackled (building a fire pit is in my future if this shelter in place goes longer). The more lasting trend will be improving your home office and home in general as you will be there more.

The service industry for homes is interesting. More usage leads to needing more repairs. The expectation for this group is for business to stay steady. The recommendation is that if your company has the means they should be on their front foot. Take market share, build your customer file, deliver great service and have a communication plan to your current file to let them know you are open and taking precautions with your staff. I recently heard a moving company is taking the temperature of every employee every morning in addition to other precautions.

The recent spike for Staples searches could be people needing office supplies for the house and additionally needing supplies for teaching their kids at home. The previous peaks for Staples where during back to school season.

Working from home is a trend we see continuing and will have reverberations that are not yet obvious. One example is people are using Zoom, Hangouts, House Party and other video meeting apps for social reasons which develops a broad level of comfort in society. We did a Google Hangout with my parents and it went well. It was probably their first time in a video meeting and definitely not their last. The acceptance of video conferencing will change business and social interactions, telemedicine anyone?.

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