A gradual return to the office has had little to no impact on business investment in virtual collaboration technology according to new data from Tradeshift, which found telecoms spending is almost twice as high as it was prior to the pandemic.
According to Tradeshift’s latest Index of Global Trade Health, which analyses transaction data between buyers and suppliers, the number of telecoms-related transactions crossing the company’s platform was up by 90% in Q2 compared to pre-pandemic levels.
The significant uptick in telecoms spending is in stark contrast to the dramatic decrease in travel and hospitality spending since the pandemic. Business travel was 30% below pre-pandemic levels but the volume of transactions processed by Tradeshift has been increasing consistently since the first lockdown eased.
Corporate hospitality spending dropped 81% in Q2 2020. A year on and it’s tracking at the same level suggesting client entertaining and networking events will remain virtual, at least for the time being.
Christian Lanng, CEO of Tradeshift, says, “For a lot of businesses remote working began as a defensive act, a way to keep the lights on during a very challenging period. But the upside of collaborating virtually quickly became apparent.
“As economies open up, I think we all have a renewed appreciation of what it means to come together in person. But we’ve come too far to go back to ways of working which suddenly feel like they belong to a different era. Getting together is still going to be part of working life, but those opportunities will come at a premium. Zoom is going to do the same thing to professional services as the container did to physical trade.”
“For our own part, we decided pretty early on that this change is not temporary, and whatever we come back to will not look like what we were used to before. Like many companies we decided that the future of work was not a binary choice between a fully remote workforce and one that is fully office-based.
“A lot of our teams are spread internationally, so remote working makes a lot more sense than going into an office to sit on Zoom calls. For other teams, particularly sales, it’s useful to be able to sit together and bounce ideas around. Flexibility has been absolutely central to our thinking.”