When coronavirus first emerged in early 2020, the world was a very different place. One might say a more innocent place – most definitely a more sociable place. As lockdowns have taken hold around the world over the last year, our lives have been turned upside down and practices that would have previously seemed alien have now become accepted and commonplace.
While the virus altered our lives in many ways, perhaps nowhere has its effects been more pronounced than in the changes it has forced to how we work. Where once populations hustled and bustled in rush hour traffic to make their way to shared workspaces each morning, this year we’ve seen countless haunting images of deserted city centers and empty office blocks. Lockdown and social distancing have forced us to address the way we worked – some might say, for the better.
The importance of being able to adapt
Almost without exception, the firms that fared best through the virus were those that could adapt quickly. In most cases, this meant those that already had robust IT networks and cloud service provision. As home working became a necessity rather than a luxury, companies came to rely on their external networks to allow staff to continue to work.
Most industry experts suggest remote-working is here to stay. Certainly, it does seem quite unlikely that either employees or employers will relinquish the considerable cost savings and improved work/life balance afforded by working at home any time soon.
The power of collaborative working in the cloud
It would be difficult to imagine how the world could have continued through the virus without the power of online technologies and, in particular, cloud-based services. Networking through cloud-based services like those provided by 24×7 IT Solutions allowed employees to collaborate remotely, almost as though they were still in a traditional office environment. Furthermore, the same cloud-based providers also offered bulletproof security services, protecting remote workers and networks from the increased cybercrime witnessed through the virus.
An end to business travel
Given the calls for companies to show greater eco-awareness and follow better green initiatives, many could argue the days of excessive business travel were already numbered. Nonetheless, the social distancing caused by coronavirus forced companies to address often avoidable business trips, replacing them instead with video conferencing. Longer-term, this might actually end up being viewed as a silver lining of COVID-19 as the dangers caused by climate change worsen.
The end of the traditional high street
Unfortunately, the writing has been on the wall for the traditional high street for several years as consumers increasingly changed their shopping habits favoring online retailers over brick-and-mortar stores.
Through lockdown, this move became all the more pronounced with consumers having no option other than to shop online but it’s thought the changes to selling will be long-term.
Indeed, most industry experts now believe coronavirus may well prove to be the final nail in the coffin for traditional retail. Even those fortunate enough to weather the initial storm of the virus will surely face an almost impossible battle on the other side as economies face up to the predicted coming depression.