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The number of people working from home has shot up since the beginning of the pandemic; it is estimated that more than 50 percent of workers in the U.S. currently work from home at least part of the time, whereas In February that it just under 3.5 percent of the population.
That's a big shift in a small amount of time and there's a lot we still haven't figured out yet about how to make it work said Matt Compton, co-Founder and CEO of Filo, a company that powers virtual spaces for collaborative teams, workshops, programs, and events.
"2020 has taught us that remote work can increase individual productivity. However, we have also learned that when our interactions go virtual, group collaboration becomes far more difficult, creativity suffers, decisions slow down, personal connection becomes burdensome, and people burn out," he said.
"Filo helps people come together to create, learn, and solve problems without having to be in the same physical location."
The company, which launched on Thursday out of High Alpha’s venture studio, was formerly known as “Spaces by High Alpha,” and was originally created as a product to run High Alpha's first remote Sprint Week in May of 2020. It allows attendees to move between rooms so they can more easily collaborate; rooms can be customized, branded, private or open. Filo is integrated directly with Zoom, which means means it can scale to any number of attendees.
Filo focuses on three key areas, the first is customization, where "each event, workshop, program, or team can easily design a unique space purpose built for their own specific purpose or goal," he said.
The second is Visibility, where "Filo redefines digital presence by making people and their contributions visible to others, driving increased interactions and collaboration." Finally, there is connectivity.
"Filo drives both structured and ad-hoc conversations or serendipitous conversations resulting in a connectivity lacking in remote settings."
The company is already working with over 20 customers, including Techstars, Toronto-based CrowdRiff, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and the ALS Association. Filo has over 5,000 unique users and hosted over 6,000 meetings and sessions including over 40,000 participants. It has been used to run educational and user conferences, company kickoffs and planning sessions, design sprints, enablement workshops, and virtual offices.
While Compton acknowledges that remote and distributed work is not new to 2020, he does point out that "is a trend that has steadily grown over the last 20 years," and one that has been greatly accelerated due to the pandemic.
His vision for what things will look like going forward is a hybrid work environment, one where some people will want to get back to the office and some people wanting to stay home, and where companies will be implementing new evergreen policies and moving offices and headquarters. That will only makes services like Filo more essential when it comes to getting people to be able to more easily work together.
"It's safe to say that while the world may not stay the way it is now, it is not going back to the way it was on Jan 1, 2020," he said. "In many ways, hybrid environments will introduce new and harder communication and collaboration challenges than when teams are fully remote and distributed. Filo's virtual meetings spaces will be very well positioned to help these teams meet and collaborate in a meaningful, creative, and productive way."
All of that feeds into Filo's mission, which is to help people come together to create, learn, and solve problems without having to be in the same physical location.
"While we look forward to the day we can get back together in person, we also look forward to a future where teams and groups do not have to move their homes, leave their families, travel across the globe, and spend massive amounts of money and time simply to work or collaborate together in a meaningful way. This is what success looks like for us."
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