Has Covid-19 changed our technology habits in the long-term?

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the world has had to adjust to new ways of staying connected, whilst physically remaining distanced. Technology has played a crucial role during this sudden shift, and in turn, innovation has increased. Within the first two months of lockdown alone, Microsoft President Brad Smith reported that two years of digital transformation had already taken place. But how many of the tech enabled changes are here to stay? 

Travel

Areas such as transport and food delivery no doubt see some return to the pre-pandemic norms, with more people returning to work and less leisure time now available. Most of us who have returned to the office may have noticed changes to how we travel and make payments. New software apps allow us to book tickets in advance as well as see in real-time where the bus or train is on its current schedule, helping to reduce congestion and to make planning journeys easier.

Retail and Spending

With payment through physical cash discouraged to prevent the spread of the virus contactless payments have also become the norm. Payment via credit/debit cards or on mobile phones increased during the first lockdown, payment limits were increased to £45 to help with bulk spending due to so many people self-isolating and shopping from home. Digital payments do carry their own drawbacks, especially in regards to cyber security, but even as restrictions ease, the convenience of contactless payment means that is likely to remain for the foreseeable future.  

Communication

Video conferencing tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams played a massive part when keeping in touch with family, friends and co-workers. Whether it was hosting pub quiz nights or interviewing a potential new recruit, many of us will have had some experience with using these platforms over the past year - even if we didn’t know what ‘Zoom’ was prior to the pandemic!

Online meetings save time and money. Not having to plan travel or seek accommodation allows meetings to be arranged quickly and conveniently as well as allowing a greater range visual communication features (eye contact, facial expressions, etc.), which provide a more personal connection than what would have been achieved by a phone call.

Videoconferencing also played a massive part in the move to virtual education. Whilst there is no doubt schools and higher education will return to a classroom setting after the summer half term, the benefits of virtual learning for those of us also balancing a working life are numerous.

We discussed the benefits of e-learning in a previous article, which you can read here.

Skills gap?

However quickly technology is changing, it’s important to develop soft skills too. Areas such as problem solving and communication skills have been vital during the pandemic – so we should develop these and not let them go to waste. It may be useful to keep a record of where there are gaps in your knowledge and understanding as well as reflect on areas where you have improved.

Similarly, scanning QR codes and clicking ‘buy now’ with saved card details is convenient, but we should not become complacent. Cybercrime has sadly increased throughout the pandemic, with the FCA warning consumers to be vigilant against coronavirus-related scams. Keeping up-to-date with cyber threats and completing relevant training can help businesses protect themselves and their customers.

Technology continues to develop rapidly, and businesses should harness this where possible. Solutions, such as online learning, allow training to be undertaken more flexibly, saving time and travel expenses. Learning and development, and completing the required CPD hours, should therefore be able to carry on as normal, pandemic or not.

For users of the Aviva Development Zone, why not take a look at our curated selection of business and communication skills modules. If you are not registered and would like a free 14-day trial, visit: https://mydevelopment.zone/#getStarted.

About the author

Jessica joined RWA in 2018, having graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Film Studies. Her role as a content designer involves developing new and engaging e-learning modules as well as assisting in the creation of articles for Insight. 

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