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Employer optimism faces off against employee worries

Some data from the UK about small business IT spend there from Giacom, Digital Wholesale Solutions, and Union Street.    Nearly 70% of SMB leaders feel “overwhelmingly positive” about the prospects for their businesses moving forward. Additionally, two in three (67%) are confident in their company’s growth prospects through 2021.   And, 94% of business leaders recognize changes are required to support working from home.

The SMBs outlined four immediate priorities.  Making collaboration work long term, fixing home broadband, deploying a cloud or hosted phone system, and bringing together collaboration and communications.  

But just like the story earlier this summer, there is data in the US about well being concerns.    Nearly 60% of workers report concerns about stress and burnout.    One third fear for their physical well-being, including getting sick.  Another third worry about social wellness and belonging.  And despite all this, survey data says participation in mental health programs and Employee Assistance programs has dropped.

Meanwhile, the PC market had a great first quarter – after having a great 2020.    This despite the global chip shortage.  Gartner is estimating shipments of traditional PCs are up 32 percent compared with Q1 2020, and IDC says it’s 55 percent growth year over year.   Yes, Q1 2020 was rough, so that number may be inflated, but both research companies say it will keep going.  

Cisco is telling us what they think are priorities from IT leaders – citing cloud applications, network security, cloud security, and multi-cloud infrastructure. 

As for those multiple clouds – per Cloud Security Alliance’s research, 62% of respondents have multiple clouds.  The most popular is AWS at 67%, Azure at 65%, and Google Cloud Platform at 37%. 

Why do we care?

I talked about this earlier in the week, and I am struck by the notion that for every article about the business leader positioning, there’s an alternate side of concern among employees.     I’ve also been covering unions in tech more, and while I’m not directly covering it, Jeff Bezos wrote his last shareholder letter today.  A good chunk of it was about employees.

There’s a space to be very competitive around the culture and company you build with employees, particularly in small companies.      The two aren’t disparate.   If you want to execute, you need your people.     Investments there really do pay off.