With advances in technology and corporate attitudes increasingly evolving with the times, more people than ever are working from home. This year, what is being dubbed as “the world’s largest social experiment” in the first and second quarter has fast-tracked this trend toward digital connectivity and a new “business as usual.”

Written by Sandy Lindsey for Brickell Magazine

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The future of transactions, both personal and professional, is here and it’s digital. Work is no longer a physical place that you have to go to. It can now happen anytime and anywhere as long as you have a device connected to the internet and access to your business data. 

Ivan Mladenovic, CEO of Preemo IT Support, provides daily IT and managed service support to 130+ businesses in South Florida. Increasingly, he’s seen more companies eliminating on-site IT infrastructure, including physical services and desktop workstations, and moving everything to cloud providers like Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS. “Businesses are eliminating the capital expenditure of purchasing hardware and software (and replacing it when needed) in a move toward a more ‘consumption-based’ operating expense with cloud services,” he says. “These services scale the same way the business grows: If you add a new employee, you add more services, and visa-versa.” 

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When setting up for the first time, Mladenovic advises to cover all the bases. Begin with the basics: Cloud-based email, file sharing, phone services, messaging, meetings and remote access. All these cloud services must connect seamlessly to one another, so they can work together in a cohesive way. This is why integration is so important. For example, you’re alerted in Slack when you have a Zoom meeting, and you can automatically add Dropbox links to your Gmail account, and so on. Once it’s all in place, testing is equally essential. “Before engaging with a client on a Zoom meeting, test the services with a friend to make sure you know how to use them,” he says. “There’s nothing more embarrassing than being on a video call, and you can’t figure out how to share your screen, or how to dial into the call, or the best angle on the camera.”

John Saunders, Founder of 5Four Digital has seen the shift to web-based tools and has learned to leverage them with his team to better serve his clients. “With so many digital tools at our disposal, Earth is a much smaller place and it’s so much easier to interact with folks around the world,” shares Saunders. “Not only do we have team members locally and abroad, we also have specific time blocks for discussion to facilitate the needs of our clients. Since we’re so nimble, we don’t have a central location, making it easy for us to accommodate client needs and complete tasks quickly.”

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One of the main benefits of working remotely is flexibility — a commodity with universal appeal. To accomplish this, a structured environment is key. “Working from home takes discipline,” says Saunders. “Shower, get dressed and prepare your breakfast and lunch. This creates a feeling of distance from your ‘home’ environment and does wonders for productivity. Pajamas are cool…once in a while.” It’s also important to create a “safe haven.” This can be an actual home office, a corner of your bedroom or living room or anywhere that can be considered a “work” area. It’s essential to have a space away from the TV, co-workers, family, pets and other distractions. 

Leading Real Estate, Land Use, Zoning & Corporate Attorney Estrellita S. Sibila, JD, LLM has been at the forefront of incorporating technology into the multi-faceted matters they service for their clients at Sibila Law. “The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act began the transition from wet ink paper contracts to now-favored electronic signing,” shares Sibila of her firm’s early adoption. The firm has also added additional layers of security to their real estate transactions with a secure, encrypted client portal and a transition to hybrid and digital closings. “This year we took a bold step and moved to fully digital real estate closings where all documents are signed electronically, including the note, mortgage and notarized documents,” says Sibila. “Clients, lenders and underwriters have found the process to be efficient as well as time- and cost-saving. The institutions and organizations that are embracing this type of technology and adapting quickly to our ever-changing world are setting themselves up to thrive during challenging times.”

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Max Tuchman, CEO & Co-Founder of Caribu, uses cutting-edge technology to bring families and friends together when they can’t be in the same physical space — with the age-old pastime of reading books. It’s just like making a video-call, picking out an activity from the in-app library, and then turning the pages and drawing together — virtually. Caribu includes fun kid favorites like Baby Einstein, Thomas & Friends and Beatrix Potter, as well as bedtime stories, early learning books, coloring sheets and word search games. “Our users range from young parents to grandparents and professional athletes and celebrities who want to have meaningful and quality engagement with a child in their life,” says Tuchman. “Necessity truly is the mother of invention.”

These companies are proving that there has never been more of a need — and a demand — for engaging clients, audiences and personal relationships through digital spaces where distancing doesn’t seem to matter. Going virtual may actually bring us closer together in many ways, and the future seems brighter and more interconnected than ever.

Read more at Brickell Magazine

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