Recently, our lives have taken a sudden and serious turn towards digitization. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent social distancing hasn’t left individuals with any other feasible options. While we are sitting at home, we are developing a strong sense of reliability on digitized, online tools. This is a process that has been delayed for several years by puritans and other bureaucrats. Certain instances are cited below:
- Regulated billing for telemedicine restricted by Medicare
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) stopping medical providers from using basic applications like Skype, Facetime, etc.
- Banishing partial homeschooling for all students by teacher unions and associated political bodies
Remotely working seemed like a farfetched action for most organizations until very recent times. People are unable to step out of their homes today due to COVID-19 and must rely on technology to be able to complete their tasks. Widespread internet usage has now become a source of every action and implementation for individuals, saving them a lot more time and energy.
Perks of a Digital Lifestyle:
Almost all aspects of our lives have definitely been affected or radically transformed by digital technology. Travel, shopping, leisure and communications are a few of the areas that have been radically reconstructed in the past few decades.
So how has this digital revolution affected us as individuals and as a community?
Professor of Social Studies and Science & Technology at MIT, Sherry Turkle stresses on the importance of community building and involvement through online interactions. Especially now with COVID-19 pandemic induced social distancing, creative ways of using Digital Technology has come to the forefront.
While Cello player Yo-Yo Ma has been conducting live concerts over the internet, Broadway artist Laura Benanti has offered to go through the performances of high school students’ musicals. East London DJ pH has partnered with Shimza and industry colleagues has come up with an idea to virtually keep party-goers on their toes in the comfort of their own homes during this lockdown. The #LockdownHouseParty is the duo’s brainchild after last weekend’s successful #QuarantineOnlineParty attracted more than 120,000 streams online – https://twitter.com/MansNotCorrupt1/status/1243994171624603649?s=20
Social isolation can be used as a window to analyze and authenticate one’s own self. These artists are taking their strengths and sharing them virtually with the general public to spread positivity throughout this time. It is necessary to share and receive positive energies from all around instead of creating virtual barriers.
According to Turkle, the correct use of online tools and technologies coupled with an instinctive human mind can make this period of distancing a genuine success. We just have to be able to tap into our full potential with our online presence.
An update in Virtual Reality:
VR is a concept that needs no introduction. A simple tool, that allows users to get transported to any world, environment or reality for that matter. It can single-handedly convert human imagination to a tangible form. Elizabeth Bradley, the director of Vassar College has suggested a new innovation in the field of VR. Bradley feels a VR program should be devised in order to create an opportunity for socialization in an isolated state.
Developing a connection while being distant helps towards betterment of an individual’s mental state of being. It is believed to cater to their psychological needs with the help of constructive intervention and analysis. This would be quite beneficial during our given time period as most social human interaction is prohibited in the physical world, which can harm a lot of people’s mental health. Having an online platform where VR would allow individuals to interact with each other would allow for more social interaction.
Telemedicine- The new solution:
Also referred to as Tele health, this phenomenon can be defined as the exchange of medical information and services through electronic communication. The implementation of this process has been held up for several years. However the pandemic will completely change the work ethic of medical providers in the country, as predicted by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Chairperson of the Medical Ethics and Health Policy department at the University of Pennsylvania. Emanuel has further stated the advantages of telemedicine. It helps with cost cutting, confinement of health issues and limits movement thereby ensuring safety and good hygiene.
Keeping lifestyle, healthcare and creativity aside, another sector majorly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic is the financial sector. The previous years have seen epidemics like the plague and swine severely affect businesses and productivity. However, certain measures can help sustain businesses and economic growth during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
1. Remote working:
The highly infective nature of the coronavirus is encouraging several organizations all over the world to let their employees work from home. However, several businesses may face relative losses due to telecommuting. Here are some guidelines for them to survive this gradual shift:
- Every organization must put an effort towards preparing their employees for remote working situations. Various seminars, sessions and workshops should be held where employees can work towards enhancing their skills and abilities. It’s important to ensure that they are prepared to work under any extremities.
- Tools and applications such as like Slack, Zoom and Asana can be used to ensure productive communication within the team. Such applications offer services like chat, video conferencing and project management. This will allow for teams to stay connected while working from home with efficiency and effectiveness.
- Employers must ensure that the employees are set up with a secure internet connection, laptops and other relevant devices. It is an investment which needs to be enforced for the smooth flow during remote working conditions.
It’s important to develop a workplace culture where employees work as a community. It is necessary for every member to understand and respect the organization’s every step. Only then can a team work towards achieving a common objective through every thick and thin situation.
2. No Limit on Sick leaves:
Research has proved that the incubation period for COVID-19 virus is 2-14 days. This means that a person infected from the virus might start showing symptoms as late as two weeks. Thus, there is high chance that employees might start showing symptoms while working from home.
In situations like this, they must be allowed to take leave. They must return to work only when they show proper signs of betterment in terms of health. Companies should grant these benefits to employers going beyond profits and productivity as only good health can contribute towards great results.
3. Technology over Travel:
With a consistent growth in the field of transport, travelling for business has become a very common phenomenon. The convenience involved in commuting across the globe for meetings, workshops, networking events or seminars have helped constructively in growth and expansion of businesses.
However, the COVID-19 outbreak exposed the world to a new side of this aspect. The Centre of Disease Control and Prevention has recently stated that the root to a significant number of cases is travelling.
Thus, it is necessary to substitute frequent travelling with artificial intelligence and related technology to stay safe. A stronger network of telecommunication can be developed between employees and clients. Virtual reality can be effectively used to create training modules for new members instead of sending people onto the field. The goal is to avoid exposure, and technology can aid us greatly for this.
Many more such options can be explored upon in order to cut down on the expenses invested in travelling. This ensures safe and secure containment of the employees as well. It is necessary to aim towards maintaining a healthy, hygienic working environment for people in such tough times. The losses incurred in the process can be collectively recovered if businesses aim for sustenance.
At Incepta we understand the importance of this issue and are taking matters seriously in order to combat and limit exposure to the coronavirus. Please read our official statement on the measures implemented from March 15th on our blog at https://blog.inceptasolutions.com/2020/03/17/official-statement-for-covid-19-inceptas/