COVID-19 Causes Surge in Online Engagement.
Updated: Feb 3, 2021
With more people adapting to online practices that have become our new normal, the way we conduct businesses and communicate will never be the same. Employment, education, and healthcare businesses, large and small, seek to improve and expand their reach through video communication platforms. Local companies are now facilitating work from home opportunities to reduce in house expenses. Learning platforms such as ABC Mouse and Doodle videos are in greater demand, and societies are now taking a closer look into virtual health care's viability. With the rapid improvements being made to current video conferencing platforms, all three areas will be the focal point for the surge in online engagement.
Small businesses felt the crippling effects of the pandemic a few months in, resulting in mass redundancy. However, where possible, small companies would move their operations online and have staff transitioned to working remotely. Sadly, this came with a cost. Many companies resorted to salary cuts to facilitate this shift. Even so, employees were happy to have a job still.
As the pandemic raged on, we started to witness larger business quake under the strain of Covid-19. In the beginning, they were more financially equipped to running their operations online, and some could even afford to cover the added utility cost of their remote workers. Though, as time progressed, these companies started feeling the strain, which eventually resulted in job cuts.
Across the world, governments have established various relief packages to assist in stabilizing households affected by Covid-19 either from being laid off or becoming ill. Unfortunately, this assistance would not run the pandemic's full duration, and many homes are now in peril because their last relief package is done. With limited job opportunities due to businesses' closure and the increasing Covid-19 restrictions, what are families to do?
The only feasible avenue for employment now is to work online. Without a doubt, traditional employment will be permanently distributed and how we advance will take on a new appearance. The future of work will be carried out remotely by default due to the nature of this pandemic. We are defiantly restructuring how we design and utilize office spaces, focusing on the inclusion of diverse demographics through virtual engagement.
With more virtual events comes a greater need for written communication. Soon to be gone are the days of crowding and gathering for the dissemination of information. Emphasis must now be placed on clear and concise written communication. Covid-19 has caused a massive evolution that we can no longer avoid. In this new era, we will quickly see those capable of adapting thrive in this new fashion of working.
Advantages of Working Remotely.
1. Family Dynamic.
The shift to working from home opens the labour pool for online businesses. It is no secret that the labour market is male-dominated, specifically, by older men. With the option of working from home, a more significant number of women can capitalize on this opportunity to help stabilize their households. A 2020 research conducted by the Catalyst reveals that globally, women account for 47% of all support staff, only 29% of senior managers, and 23% of executives. Women face additional challenges professionally because they are more likely than men to prioritize their family life over their careers.
Working online provides flexibility in choosing when and where to work. Thus, allowing women to better balance their professional and family lives without having to sacrifice one. Reports collected during the pandemic suggests that fathers working from home become more involved. Family responsibilities are shared more equally now than they were before the pandemic. Ultimately, family life has seen a significant benefit from having both parents home.
2. Recognizing Your Value.
Many workers loathed going to work. The hatred for Mondays is very real. Additionally, Sick Building Syndrome contributes tremendously to the decrease in the value of our work. This is predominantly the case within the BPO sector, where multiple workers are crammed in a room with joined cubicles for extended hours. The psychological effects such as stress from being overworked and commuting in traffic to and from work weigh heavily on the mind. Physical challenges ranging from indoor and outdoor chemical contaminants, inadequate ventilation, and restricted lunch and break times during peak seasons all contribute to the slow or rapid decline of the value one places on their work.
Working from home offers a "new lease on life," a fresh perspective. It allows you to reconnect with family, friends, old hobbies, and learning new skills. This freedom also helps people to recognize or regain the respect and value of their work.
Similarly, students who work have the added benefit of studying and working from home, allowing them to save on transportation, lunch, clothing, and beautification expenses necessary for daily commuting. Those extra dollars would now cover the increase in power, hydro, internet, and grocery bills.
3. Multiple Sources of Income.
Working from home allows the freedom to seek other virtual forms of employment. If you are skilled in customer support, content writing, or web creation and design, you have the added benefit of scoring other sources of income from the comfort of your home. For those without additional skills, you have the freedom to lean one and begin marketing it. Nevertheless, there are disadvantages to working from home, as you will see below.
Disadvantages of Working Remotely.
1. Face-To-Face Services.
Skilled Trade occupations require face-face interaction. A locksmith must visit your home to deliver his/her services. The same for an electrician, an internet service installation, factory workers, and street vendors. As you have guessed, the pandemic has severely affected their businesses, but as we strive to coexist with Covid-19, their doors remain open in regulation with the government guidelines.
2. Social Interaction.
Working from home is every introvert's dream. They have been preparing for this new society all their lives, so it is no surprise how some people can thrive in the Covid-19 era. However, many feel deprived of social interactions. These will be your extraverts. This societal shift has removed the ball from their court. Pre Covid-19, the world thrived on social engagements at work that would entice employees to be present on particular days or for an event or meeting. The worst part of it is not having your co-workers to turn to for assistance with a difficult client or task. Working remotely requires you to be completely self-reliant and self-sufficient in the event assistance is not readily accessible.
3. Extended Period of Inactivity.
Sitting in one location for up to 5 hours, immersed in work and virtual meetings can easily become draining on the mind and body. However, you can include meditation, exercise, or short walks outside with proper time management and a clear work schedule.
Face-To-Face Learning vs. Virtual Learning.
Covid-19 has forced us to rethink how we deliver quality education virtually. Online learning eliminated the hassle of commuting with overloaded backpacks, lunch expenses, and gaining access to teachers. Now, students are required to study in the safety of their homes.
With easy access to notes and lecture videos online, students do not have to worry about printing or notebook expenses. Note-taking is done easily on their devices, and in some cases, notes are provided by the educator.
Virtual learning allows students to quickly reach out to their teacher/lecturer through an online video or messaging platform. Thus, eliminating the delay of waiting for a consultation date.
Telehealth can be used to screen patience for Covid-19 symptoms and check for potential exposure. Online/mobile screening applications, phone screening, or virtual telemedicine visits can be used to evaluate patients for Covid-19 signs, assess the severity of their symptoms, and determine whether to advise the patient to be admitted to the hospital or whether the symptoms can be managed at home.
Remote evaluation of the patient's medical condition can be conducted with telehealth, and the use of a regular hospital bed or the intensive care unit's urgency be determined. Making this decision virtually avoids rushing the patient through the emergency room, ultimately reducing the chance of exposure for the emergency department personnel and patients. Upon leaving the hospital, telehealth can be used to follow up with recovering COVID-19 patients.
Telehealth technology is of significant value where distance is a critical factor, through using online platforms for the exchange of credible and crucial information. With electronics becoming more portable, more families will have access to at least one device. While in quarantine, anyone can reach out to Physicians for remote healthcare. Telehealth benefits may also extend to non-emergency or routine check-ups and in cases that do not require direct face-to-face interaction. Remote care can improve access to health care while simultaneously reducing the risk of direct transmission of general infections from person to person.
We have seen how online usage has expanded beyond our imaginations. Well, with the invested efforts to make information and communication technologies (ICT) widely accessible, we will see even more industries shifting gears to introduce their services online.
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