San Francisco has been a major global innovation hub for decades, so as 2020 raged on and brought with it all kinds of challenges, we looked toward Silicon Valley to see how tech would be able to help us. With lockdowns, quarantines, and social distancing, technology has become more important than ever in helping us stay connected and healthy.
Here are 3 tech trends in San Francisco to look out for in 2021.
In-Person Work Will Become Optional, Work From Home Will Be More Widespread
In the U.S. during the height of COVID-19, millions of employees were sent home to work. Even if the virus somehow gets under control, due to lockdowns or the vaccine, the trend of working from home is not expected to go away any time soon. Location is likely to matter less, and quite a few options for job flexibility may exist that had not before.
Even SF offices that have reopened or plan to reopen will likely have a more flexible remote work policy. Companies that insist on in-office attendance may find themselves less desirable than those that don’t.
Another outcome of the growing popularity of remote work will be that tech tools will become more important than ever. This includes Zoom and other video conferencing platforms, project management software, cloud systems, collaboration tools, etc. In 2021, we can expect to see improvements on the existing technologies and more options in general.
A Transformation of Downtown San Francisco
With more people working at home, the Financial District of SF and the bay area will be less crowded almost every day of the week. If bars and concert venues start opening up, employees may choose to come into the office on Thursdays and Fridays to take advantage of socializing and entertainment.
Another change will be cutting down on office space. As more people work from home, the office will lose some of its importance. A joint workspace or smaller place may suffice for the needs of a company in which most employees work from home.
As for San Francisco itself, things may change regarding its centrality as a startup hub. With remote work becoming the norm, physical headquarters could take on less importance. Square, for example, has already declared itself a fully remote company and is involved in a dispute with the city over business taxes. Moving its headquarters elsewhere is not out of the question.
Even if the virus somehow gets under control, due to lockdowns or the vaccine, the trend of working from home is not expected to go away any time soon.
Conflict Between Salesforce and Microsoft Will Grow
Since Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2016, it has been competing heavily with Salesforce for customer data. Now that Salesforce has acquired Slack, the competition will likely be ramped up. Slack may offer its own equivalent of Outlook, or it can even replace email and render Outlook insignificant. There are a lot of options on the table, and hopefully, the consumers will be the winners with whatever new tech is developed.