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Slack Is Giving You Back Your Weekends…And Other Small Business Tech News

By July 12, 2020July 17th, 2020No Comments

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

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

1 — Slack is now letting you choose when you get notifications on a per-day basis.

Slack will now allow users to select when they receive notifications day-by-day, providing the option to limit or stop receiving pings on the weekends. Users will now be allowed to determine when they want to receive notifications as well as select an option to keep from getting pinged on certain days all together. When users decide to turn off their notifications, a “z” will appear next to their name in Slack, indicating that they are on DND (Do Not Disturb). People will still be able to send users messages and notifications while in those mode, they just will not be notified. (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

Over the years I’ve badgered business owners that turn off their devices on weekends or on vacation. And I still believe that. When you run a business you need to be available 24/7. I know there’s life-balance needed, but this is what you signed up for. However, that doesn’t necessarily apply to your employees, particularly those working hard from home all the time. They need time off and should be allowed to take the “z” on a weekend.

2 — Notarize and DocuSign are growing and expanding in light of the pandemic.

Notarize and DocuSign both seem to be thriving in the era of COVID-19 and social distancing. Notarize— which is a tool that allows businesses and customers to digitally notarize and sign formal documents— recently raised $35 million and has seen a 400% increase in activity since the pandemic broke. Similarly— DocuSign— which has long been a leader in providing legitimate, digital signatures on official documents, is in the process of integrating online notary services as one of their main products through their purchase of Liveoak Technologies, which is a video conferencing platform that provides additional tools to help verify identity remotely. (Source: GeekWire)

Why this is important for your business:

This is a service that’s been needed for a while but has been slow in coming to market. But, thanks to Covid-19 and working remotely we’re finally getting more mainstream tools to get our documents notarized instead of standing in line at the auto tags place or persuading a notary friend with a bottle of wine to do it for us.

3 —Venmo is piloting their Business Profile feature to showcase small businesses.

Venmo has announced that they will be rolling out a pilot version of their Business Profile feature in order to help small businesses dealing with economic hardships brought on by COVID-19. With the new feature, users will be able to utilize a distinct QR code as part of their POS (point of sale) in order to help the ease of contactless payments. (Source: Retail Dive)

Why this is important for your business:

With big-name companies such as Amazon and Walmart utilizing contactless payments, Venmo will allow smaller businesses to also keep up through this feature. With over 52 million people using Venmo, the company hopes that the Business Profile feature will help small businesses take advantage of their large network without having a large budget for advertising.

4 — Mmhmm turns your boring Zoom calls into a Weekend Update-style TV show.

Mmhmm— a computer camera company whose product can be coupled with YouTube, Google Meet, and Zoom— has raised $4.5 million. The camera’s app allows users of the mentioned video chat software to turn meeting rooms into a virtual broadcast studio or stage, not only offering virtual and animated backgrounds, but a TV show-style feature. Users using the app and camera have the ability to change the position of their face, other images, while adding other special effects and features making simple video calls look more like a Weekend Update segment on Saturday Night Live. Users will be able to collaborate presentations with other users as well. (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

Now that we’re getting used to online meetings, the smarter corporate and public presenters will be looking for tools that help communicate their ideas in a more entertaining, user-friendly manner. Expectations for online meetings will go up and the bar will be raised. Mmhmm is a cool app to try if only that it will help your audience stay awake and actually listen to what you’re saying.

5— The demand for employee surveillance software is soaring.

A recent study has revealed that employers are becoming more and more interested in software that helps track employees and their productivity when working from home. Since April, employers have greatly increased their internet searches for queries such as “how to monitor employees working from home” and “work from home monitoring tools” by 87% as compared to before the pandemic hit. According to the study, the unease employers feel with the lack of control and unfamiliarity with having employees work remotely is the main reason behind the spike in searches.  (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your business:

I don’t like it and I don’t recommend it. If you’re making the right hires, you should be confident that your employees can do their jobs and complete their tasks in a professional and independent manner without you surveilling them. You’ve got better things to do with your time then babysit your work from employees. What is this, pre-school?

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