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When the internet was first invented, its main purposes included broadcasting information, sharing information and allowing interactions worldwide regardless of physical location. People could share information and connect faster than ever before.
Today, as the pandemic looms, the internet is the only connection some people have to family, friends and co-workers. As many non-essential employees adjust to working from home for the first time, digital communication has become vital, not only to ensure work productivity, but also to continue simple human connection. Below are four reasons why digital is essential, especially in the time of COVID-19.
THE IMPORTANCE OF DIGITAL TRANSITION
Before COVID-19, 70% of companies had or were preparing a digital transformation plan for their organization. As COVID-19 spread across the globe, most companies had to resort to working from home regardless of whether they had a plan in place. This was undoubtedly a huge change for those in sectors where much of the work takes place face-to-face. From real estate agents, to bankers, to teachers, the transition to telecommuting is not as simple for everyone as logging online.
First of all, not everyone has access to technology and tools needed to study, work and communicate from home. While most phones and other tech devices now have the internet, even the most developed countries have issues with strong internet connections. To support those with limited or no internet access, High Speed Internet created a list of internet providers offering limited, no-cost internet services during this time. Access to internet services is vital for work and personal well-being. As our physical distance grows, the internet offers the ability to close the physical gap virtually.
THE VALUE OF VIDEO COMMUNICATION
Those who weren’t using video communication before have likely adapted it now. There are numerous platforms for video communication, including Skype, Zoom, and Google Hangouts. Although many of these platforms were created for business use, more individuals are using free versions of the software to connect to family and friends. Zoom, in particular, has seen an increase in usage as well as an increase in mentions on social media.
Much of daily human interaction comes from the hours spent at work. For those workers who are deemed non-essential, their interaction has sharply decreased due to working from home. Humans are social beings, and as such require some form of interaction beyond calls, emails and texts. Seeing the faces of co-workers, friends and family can benefit an individual by not only providing them with better communication but also improving mental health. The visual element that these services provide helps to connect people when so many feel isolated.
THE GROWTH OF DIGITAL USAGE
During this time, consumers are also adopting new digital behaviors. A recent survey found 20% of U.S. consumers are shopping on new websites and 8% more consumers are utilizing store pick-up. To keep up with demand, companies have had to pivot to digital.
Tele-enabled businesses can more easily stay afloat during COVID-19. Many have launched online purchasing channels, utilized social media platforms, and digitized their business processes. Forbes recently featured companies which have successfully pivoted their business models amid the pandemic.
COVID-19 has brought about a renewed dependency on the internet, with Forbes reporting a 70% growth in internet usage. This shows that for most people, the internet and how it connects people is a necessity.
THE IMPORTANCE TO FIND NEW WAYS TO CONNECT DIGITALLY
Although expert predictions state we may be able to return to the workplace by mid-summer, the world will look a little different. Now that we know some non-essential employees can work from home, many may choose to do so more often. Additionally, in the event of a second wave of COVID-19 cases, companies will need to find new and better ways to ease the transition to working remotely.
As we come out of this pandemic, we must acknowledge what worked and what did not. As we are still in the middle of the pandemic, we should take this opportunity to try many different methods of digital communication so that we can be better prepared should something of this magnitude occur in the future.