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New Technology work & environment
in the COVID era

It has been more than a year since the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the lives of people across the globe. Pushing economies in recession to healthcare woes the pandemic has varied impacts. Even if this resulted in people staying behind closed doors with restrictions on travel and movement, work cannot stop. Technology came to the rescue, with work from home becoming the new constant. The dynamics changed drastically. With meetings and conferences going online, people started adapting to the new normal. Thus, the presence of technology came of critical use as it enabled a smooth adaptation to the online culture.

The advancement of technology achieved in the past twenty years has brought about a major revolution in the corporate sector, changing every aspect of our work culture. Beginning from the way employees enter the office premises to the way they attend meetings or collaborate remotely, technology has become an integral part of the modern business world. While these new-age, advanced technologies present numerous opportunities, their primary objective is to ensure a smooth workflow and increase the productivity and efficiency of employees. Companies have been quick to incorporate some of these technologies, but the coronavirus pandemic is now accelerating the digitalization of the corporate sector as most organizations continue to work from home, what may be the new normal and most probably, a post-COVID future – a possibility of working from home for the rest of the year or permanent. While technology has been redefining and reinventing the corporate sector for a while now, the COVID-19 crisis has forced companies to take a hard look at their existing practices and adopt new technologies to tackle unprecedented challenges, train the workforce with new skillsets, and optimize time as well as resources. Some of the current technology trends observed in the corporate space may not be permanent, but technology is changing the face of enterprises as we know it.

Another of the great changes brought about by this pandemic is that of consumer behavior and the rise of new online consumer trends and habits. With the lockdown and quarantine, the percentage of people who began to buy online, as well as the percentage of companies that made their products available for purchase over the internet grew exponentially and many of these new consumer habits have come to stay in the post-Covid stage. This pandemic has triggered Internet purchases reaching historic highs despite the possible difficulties these online channels had in responding to customer demands. Companies of all sizes have been able to see and verify that the future lies in the municipality, that is, in the use of both physical and digital channels for the sale of their products and services. This trend has led many companies to discover another way of generating new income and in the post-Covid stage, these companies will reinforce their online strategies. The virtual is replacing the physical everywhere: medical centers, hospitals, offices of large and small businesses, meeting places and entertainment, etc., In fact, more than 30% of visits to doctors will be made by telecare even after the pandemic. But the health sector will not be the only one to continue to maintain even after the pandemic, digital technologies, eCommerce, assistive robots or teleworking will continue to spread. And is that companies have been able to see how technology and entrepreneurship have been the salvation for many companies.

The onset of this pandemic has brought in various changes in different aspects of our lives. According to a recent survey, around 191 countries have either implemented or announced the closure of schools and universities, which has directly impacted close to 1.57 billion students. Most educational institutions have started to offer their courses online to make sure education is not disrupted due to the pandemic. Technologies used in distant learning include augmented reality, 3D printing, virtual reality, and robot teachers enabled with artificial intelligence. COVID-19 has also completely transitioned how content is being generated, distributed, and streamed. Online streaming of live shows and concerts has gained traction across the world. Several film production companies have also been releasing their movies via Over the Top (OTT) platforms such as Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, Netflix, Zee5, Voot Select, etc. as OTT caters to the varied interests of people across the globe with the perennial additions of diverse content. The lockdown has helped people in realizing the ease of viewing content on OTT platforms; it has changed how people are consuming content on a day-to-day basis.  OTT platforms have witnessed a significant rise in both app downloads and viewership during the lockdown period. New alternatives are being introduced by health and fitness apps to help people remain fit in the comfort of staying indoors due to the pandemic situation. Several fitness and health brands have started conducting live workout sessions on their apps and social media platforms. These initiatives have also seen decent traction. COVID-19 has demonstrated the importance of digital readiness, which allows business and life to continuing as usual – as much as possible – during pandemics. Building the necessary infrastructure to support a digitized world and stay current in the latest technology will be essential for any business or country to remain competitive in a post-COVID-19 world, as well as take a human-centered and inclusive approach to technology governance.

As BBC points out, an estimated 200 million people will lose their jobs due to COVID-19 and the financial burden often falls on the most vulnerable in society, Digitization and pandemics have accelerated changes to jobs available to humans. How to mitigate the impact on the larger workforce and the most vulnerable is the issue across all industries and countries that deserves not only attention but also a timely and human-centered solution. In the current scenario, the pandemic looks far from over. Hence, we need to keep adapting to the changing environment and technology as COVID-19 has put forward many challenges but also opportunities for new changing ventures.

By Vasudha Kaul

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