The coronavirus is a terrible pandemic – but it could be an ideal opportunity for us to change the “old” way we do things. Rather than being seen as a threat, technology should be regarded as an opportunity as everything is fast moving in that direction.
I spoke to a colleague who was worried how he would work from home. I could see sadness as he explained his plight if he were to work at home during the lockdown imposed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to prevent the spread of the virus. He was desperate to apply for a press card to show the security forces he was a journalist on his way to work.
He can’t operate the technology offered by a laptop. He is a desktop guy who prefers to come to work. I laughed at him because I used to be like that until my youngest daughter taught me about technology, social media and the internet.
Now I can safely say I am okay but some polishing is needed here and there. That’s the disadvantage of age in the new era.
I simply told him: “Charl, don’t you think this is a good opportunity for you to start learning to do these things and overcome your fear of technology?”
I told him he could remotely check his pages from home and communicate with a sub-editor who may also be working from home to sort out any queries – and I showed him on my computer how it worked. He smiled.
Coronavirus presents an opportunity for individuals and companies to move to using technology and save the cost that goes with it.
It was encouraging to hear some employers on a radio talk-show this week told of the benefits of their staff working from home.
One woman related how productivity had increased since her company began experimenting with working from home.
Besides, deadlines were met as employees were concerned about being seen not doing the work. She said they started early and finished on time because there were no distractions, unlike at work.
Personally, I believe any employee who suddenly becomes unproductive when working from home was never productive anyway. Nobody noticed.
It’s the environment and tools of the trade that employers need to improve as a once-off expenditure. Once all goes well and the benefits are noted and appreciated, many wouldn’t want to return to an office-bound work approach again.
There are huge savings in terms of telephone bills and provisioning, as people would drink their own tea and coffee at home.
The coronavirus and the government restrictions will help to increase the use of social media, e-mail, Skype and internet searches as people across professions would be interacting from afar.
This period of little face-to-face interaction would help us to innovate and learn more about what the Fourth Industrial Revolution is bringing us – particularly those who are going to learn new things about technology.
I overheard a senior colleague at The Citizen this week remarking: “Things may not be the same again after this virus. The pace of change to technology will gallop.” I agree.
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