Due to the Coronavirus, people are starting to do crazy things because they are trapped at home.
Of course, we're meant to be working-from-home (WFH). But still, it's questionable as to how productive people are during this period. If you're not used to remote working, it can be tough to concentrate. Having access to high-speed internet technology, with 24-hour news updates on the latest COVID-19 developments, can become addictive viewing. For distractions, you might even resort to mindless surfing or indulging in prey treasure hunt style interests.
Home Technology to the Rescue!
While many of us are stockpiling toilet paper and preparing for a zombie apocalypse, others try to work the best they can. The people over at the Singapore FinTech Association are an example of a world trying to continue as per-usual.
They were forced to leverage WFH tech to its max, in the form of the home technology call service, Zoom. Singapore FinTech Association was about to run a workshop for 300 members about the Payment Services Act. What with world governments banning all mass-gatherings of people, this wasn't going to happen.
Organizers were worried that Zoom's service wouldn't withstand such a broad audience on a single call, and technical problems were foreseen. Everything went very smoothly, and attendees praised this new method of delivery. Questions now arise; is new home technology like this and its role in business, our future?
With technology in the home advancing to more powerful levels, workshops like Singapore FinTech Association's, broadcast over an online conferencing channel, could just become a new ''normal''. One could easily foresee the Coronavirus being a catalyst for further advancements in Work-From-Home tech.
History Leaves Clues
Many are comparing COVID-19 with the Spanish Flu of 1918. Therefore, overlooked by the mainstream is the possibility that this virus will spur a wave of economic and technological evolution. It is often forgotten that SARS, a virus in 2002, ignited a new wave of technology adoption in Asia.
SARS forced the Chinese public to stay-at-home (just like we’re being told to do). At that time, many Chinese households had recently furnished their homes with shiny new fast-speed internet connections. Being forced to stay at home, and with nothing else to do but ‘’go online’’,
the Chinese population quickly adopted the internet as a new way of life. Out of this spawned Alibaba and an eCom industry that we know and love today.
Future Home Technology
So, if we’re following the pattern of history here, we can expect the role of technology in our lives to modify after this epidemic. Life WILL be different, and it doesn’t take a Nostradamus to predict this. Smart home technology will be developed to make WFH a new way of life.
A whole new technology-driven market can emerge from this: WFH tech. Indeed, conferencing and remote communication tools are already benefiting from COVID-19. With so many tech company CEOs telling their staff to WFH, platforms like Slack, Trello, Asana, and more are seeing their user bases explode! Whatsapp, Telegram, Skype, Zoom, and other communication tools are also joining the ‘’ mad profits party!’’.
Tech Company, After Tech Company, After Tech Company
...is saying it’s employees ‘’stay home’’, ‘’telecommute’’. ‘’Work-from-home’’. According to MarketWatch.com, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook have all issued orders for staff to WFH if possible. Of course, due to the requirements of many jobs in tech, it is easier for a higher percentage of employees to WFH than in other sectors. Hospitality and tourism industries, for example, are going to struggle to adapt to this new environment.
None-the-less, the technology industry is leading by example, and many more industries are likely to follow suit by demanding that their employees work-from-home.
Smart Home Technology - The Negatives
Isolation. Social isolation. We could write a book about the harmful effects of social isolation on mental and physical health. But if our latest home technology developments are going to lead innovations for the way we work in the future, then remote working/WFH (social isolation) is going to only grow.
Public health will not dissuade our powers-that-be from nullifying their home technology developments. Money is their only drive, and they'll provide their users with what sells.without a care in the world for public health. Tobacco companies keep selling cigarettes, and social media platforms make the algorithms ever-more addictive. So nothing will stop technology companies in their pursuit of profits.
The Role Of Technology In Our Future - Important Questions...
Companies will have fewer overheads, with their workforces WFH’ing. A new plethora of WFH tech will emerge, and people will save some time from their days (not commuting). Add to this, the positive effects on our environment, with fewer people traveling to and from work. Then the outlook doesn’t seem all bad.
So, what’s the REAL question here? Is the Coronavirus being a catalyst for WFH tech a good thing or not?
The future is looking very uncertain, but one thing is for sure. However, we humans HATE change, and we’re also very good at adapting to it. Look around the room you sit in right now and meditate on the fact that everything you see has come from the human species’ relentless desire to evolve, develop, and improve. Without this desire, we’d still be sitting in caves right now.
So change is never welcomed, and it's often feared. But a changed landscape after this COVID-19 outbreak is inevitable. During ''normal times'' change happens so slowly that we barely even notice it. This cataclysmic event, which is COVID-19, has simply spiked a substantial evolution very, VERY, quickly, and that's why we find it so jarring. Let's be honest, though, and we were on course for a world of social isolation anyway due to our rampant use of the mentioned above home technology tools and social media.
There will be a time, in a not-too-distant-future, that we don’t even remember living and working any other way. It will become a new norm and our new comfort zone.
Do you think that WFH is going to produce a turbo-charged technological revolution or a global mental health epidemic? A world where both coexist is becoming a distinct possibility.
Author Bio: Thomas Quarry has worked in tech since graduating from MIT in 1998. In the last decade, he's provided a written commentary on tech industry developments and its broader impact on our world-at-large.