Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 —These are the best MacBook Pro alternatives for 2021 (according to CNET).

Editors at CNET— a science, culture, and tech website— have shared their picks for top alternatives for the MacBook Pro, categorizing them by size, appearance, purpose, and price. According to the site, the HP Spectre x360 is the best 13-inch 2-in-1 alternative, coming with a longer battery life than the Pro. For the best 14-inch 2-in-1 alternative, the Lenovo Yoga C940 was picked for its features and 360-degree screen, while the Dell XPS 9700 was singled out as the best MacBook Pro 16 alternative which provides users more screen control. Lastly, the Razer Blade Stealth was touted as the best MacBook Pro lookalike, the Dell XPS 13 as being best for commuters, and the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 as the best budget option. (Source: CNET)

Why this is important for your business:

My company is a Microsoft shop, so we use Windows-based devices. But unfortunately that sometimes means sacrificing the quality and functionality that you find in some Apple products. Which is why when it comes to buying new laptops, I tend towards the ones that are more like Apple’s. I’m also motivated to recommend these devices for employees that are more familiar with Apple products, but must operate in a Windows world for their jobs.  

2 — Microsoft is releasing a new all-in-one Office app for iPads.      

This past week, Microsoft released a new Office app for iPads. The new all-in-one app is changing the way Office appeared on iOS and Android, combining PowerPoint, Excel, Word, as well as several tools specific to mobile devices such as a file browser as well as PDF management features. This feature was released last year for Androids and iPhones, while also appearing on certain Android tablets. However—after only being available on iPads in a modified mode— the newest version now specifically integrates fully with iPad features (Source: ARS Technica)

Why this is important for your business:

It’s great to see more convergence between Microsoft and Apple and a great benefit for those that use iPads as their primary device. It’s also good to see Microsoft investing in technologies for non-Windows devices. Can you imagine such heresy 10 years ago?

3 —Trello is redesigning its project management platform for a remote work future.

Trello—a productivity, managing, and project organizing platform—recently announced that they are undergoing a significant redesign as well as adding a few features that will be able to assist businesses in managing integrating third parties. While Trello is getting a visual facelift to both the illustrations used throughout its apps and websites—as well as its logo— the platform will be adding new approaches to make it easier for companies still working remotely due to the pandemic. Updates to features such as its whiteboards and customized cards will allow companies to be more flexible in sharing information and connecting to additional tools. (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

We have many clients that use and love Trello. The project management app industry is crowded, but Trello has always been among the most popular. Hopefully these changes will motivate small business owners to continue investing in this platform.

4 — More bosses are using software to monitor remote workers. Not everyone is happy about it.

Recent research released by YouGov and Skillcast revealed that more businesses are starting to track their employees’ activity online while they continue to work from home during the pandemic. According to the research, one in five companies are already utilizing such technology or planning to in the near future. Related research also conducted by YouGov indicated that two-thirds of workers did not feel comfortable with the concept of their companies keeping track of things such as keystrokes or screenshots as they work from home. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your business:

Do you monitor your employees when they’re out of the office? Some of my clients feel that they could be spending their time better and I agree. I feel that these types of applications will decline, not grow in popularity as more business owners learn that the best way to manage remote workers is not to breathe down their necks and supervise every action they take but rather to give them specific tasks and goals and evaluate them based on their results.

5—This Seattle HR startup created a virtual program to meet the surge in demand for diversity training.

Reverb—a digital HR consultancy based in Seattle—is working on a program of virtual online coaching and webinars in order to help HR and diversity professionals develop or further efforts to recognize and improve diversity in the workplace. (Source: Geek Wire)

Why this is important for your business:

The program currently will be made up of 4.5 hours of one-on-one coaching with a DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) expert as well as 7.5 hours of breakout sessions and workshops, with the hope that those participating will be able to develop a specific statement, hiring plan, and DEI strategy for their company. Diversity is a very, very important issue for businesses of all sizes.



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