In 2020 all businesses have experienced significant changes in the way they conduct their daily work. A shift from physical to virtual work occurred in small and large team projects, networking meetings, project coordination, and business administration.

At the beginning of the year, some companies hoped to resume regular office work within weeks. Still, weeks turned into months, and it became clear to everyone that the virtual office experience is here to stay. Most office workers continue to work remotely from home, and corporations plan to reduce the leased office space. Yet, not all physical meetings and personal behaviors map 1*1 into a virtual environment, and workers - who didn't build digital skills before – have difficulties adjusting formed habits to the virtual business.

The term "virtual office" now appears regularly in the articles and posts on social media, yet, just like any office, it has many different workflows and technologies deployed for various business tasks. Organizations continue to adjust by fostering the development of the new behaviors and sets of skills required to use virtualization tools to help personnel to adapt to the virtual or hybrid departments' business administration.

Ten months into the virtualization experiment, it is time to analyze what we have learned so far and how we can use this experience in 2021.

In October-November of 2020, U3 Explore community 1-conducted a survey to compare the notes on the people's experience in a virtual environment, and2- held a panel discussion of virtual working practitioners.

Today we share a quick summary of the survey results and the highlights of our hour and a half panel discussion on November 18th.

The key points from our survey results:

60% of our responders live and work in USA and 40% live indifferent countries in Europe and South America.  While most of our survey participants are working in the organizations that got hit by Covid-19 in 2020,20% see an improvement in their business compared to 2019. Nobody saw the deterioration of their work, and many have experienced an improvement in business delivery by working from home.

Only 25 % of the responders saw less collaboration with the colleagues, while 50% enjoyed more collaboration, especially in geographically spread projects.

The biggest surprise was in responses to the question on the effectiveness of working with less supervision: nobody found themselves been less effective without significant oversight. 65% of the responders are working today with minimal to no direct management.

In 2021 nobody is planning to work 100% in the physical office. Responses are split 50/50 between 100% virtual and hybrid office work. Responders intend to have no or minimized travel.

Survey results were the backdrop to our panel session. We split our event into four parts addressing internal teamwork, external networking and sales support, technology and skills needed in virtual business, and an outlook on 2021.

Based on the feedback on the takeaways from the event, we have prepared a summary and a few short videos to describe the panel's highlights.

The forum's goal was to identify conditions that will drive our work in 2021 and beyond. We have invited four panelists to the event: Jason Assir from Opex Digital, Volker Hirsinger from Petrosys, Marel Sanchez from Actus Veritas Geoscience, Vitaly Meyer from PetroCubic. Katya Casey from Actus Veritas Geoscience moderated the event. The panel had discussed project business organization and team management, external collaboration, the effectiveness of virtual conferences, networking, communications technologies, and how we use them.  In the end, the panel and event participants have discussed the constraints in moving a virtual business forward.

We wish you were there to benefit from the discussion, but we think sharing a few highlights might help with some plans forward.

It all boils down to human preferences and psychology. Technology adoption and effectiveness is directly related to us accepting and using it as it is intended. Companies and people who manage to adapt to a changing environment gradually are more resilient to the change.

Conversation on the formats and the challenges of external collaboration and participation in virtual industry meetings and networking in2020 led us to discover a new term: participants of the virtual industry conferences found that they are missing an "accidental discovery "that occurred during in-person large scale events.

There were exciting ideas shared while answering how much importance we place on face-to-face meetings. Here are few opinions on the subject

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