FutureLab 2020 Summary and Christmas Opening Hours

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The year 2020 has been a very interesting year for everyone and FutureLab was no exception. We had our ups and downs, we saw many changes in our own processes and in the way our customer’s do their business. It was definitely “a year of digital” and the global pandemic has sped up many businesses’ transformation. In this blog post, we’d like to summarise our year and share our vision for the future.

The year of digital transformation

In March 2020 all New Zealanders went into lockdown and a majority of businesses stopped operating. There was a rush to introduce remote work in many organisations and despite that remote work was no stranger to FutureLab, we too had to change a lot of processes. With VPN, IP phones and cloud storage it was easier, but without seeing each other on daily basis, the work certainly wasn’t easy. We introduced many team changes including daily Zoom meetings and regular check-ins. The changeover went so smooth and everyone loved working from home so much that we’ve never come back. Yes, that’s right. Since March 2020 the entire FutureLab team is remote and despite the fact that our office still exist, we’re looking at downsizing it in 2021 since… it’s empty most of the time. We will be notifying our customers about any changes if we decide to change our Penrose office location.

Year of help in statistics in Covid times

This year was very busy for us in terms of ongoing and casual support. Here’s our year in stats support stats:

We’ve helped 29 new businesses to solve issues with their website on a casual basis. We’ve also introduced smaller ongoing support plans due to Covid (starting from 2h a month), temporarily discounted many of our customer’s hosting or support plans and introduced no-interest instalments for our services. We understand that this year has been a very strange year when many businesses require urgent digital transformation, yet they can’t afford it because of economic changes. That’s why we’re upfront with our final quotes and no hidden charges and we help as much as we can with delays in payment and breaking the payments in long term payments. Finally we’ve separated our hosting from our support and development services and introduced FutureHost in order to support customer’s needs better.

Social enterprise

At FutureLab we strongly believe in working towards a better change. Whatever we do, we want to make an impact. That is why this year we donated to 7 charities with a minimum amount of $500 including planting 50 trees. We focus on sustainability and children as they are our future. Our goal is to plant a tree for every project we do and one tree for every website we host a year starting from 2021. We donate money every single month so if you’re passionate about any particular charity, please let us know, we’ll include them in our list.

Steps to become greener

In addition to working from home and reducing pollution from our employees’ travel, we decided to transform our FutureLab’s vehicles to ecological versions. From 2021 our vehicles will be only petrol hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) which means that on most of the days we won’t be using petrol at all. We considered purchasing fully electric vehicles, however, with customers all over New Zealand and Australia the technology is too young to provide us with reliable transport e.g. between Auckland and Tauranga. By saying that, we strongly believe that our next change of vehicles will be to fully electric.

What’s in the future

2021 is just around the corner and we believe it will be an even busier year for any digital company. In the last few months, we’ve been focusing more on developing digital solutions than simple websites. We create web apps automating businesses’ processes and business phone apps. We believe this will continue to grow in 2021. We are also going to continue optimising remote work and learn from global leaders in remote work like Human Made or Automattic. Finally, we would like to achieve close to 2% of our revenue in donations (that’s right revenue, not income!). We would like to focus on changing the world through digital transformation and we hope our growing customer’s list will help us do that.

Opening Hours

Finally, we would like to wish Merry Christmas to everyone out there and happy New Year. As we say in Polish “Let 2021 be better than 2020 but worse than 2022!”.

Our last day for work would be on the 23rd of December 2020 and we will be only supporting our supported customers. We’re back on board on the 11th of January.

Author: Ralf Klis

With over 15 years of experience in the digital world, I've seen it all and I'm often happy to share my knowledge. I've been involved in many R&D projects including one of the first TV Apps or mobile websites (back in 2005!). Now I'm passionate about making the digital presence work for businesses.