The consequences of the pandemic on the use of technology by companies

In light of the explosion of COVID-19 caused by the proportion of the epidemic, companies and institutions instructed their employees to work from home as a preventive measure to reduce the risk of contagion. With a high rate of contamination, the spread of the virus resulted in an increase in the volume of data generated from various sources. Virtually all sectors, from small and medium-sized companies, health, education, have had to convert their services technologically.

Some benefits, along with the development of sophisticated technologies, have emerged: more can be achieved more easily online through these services, such as the purchase of goods, payment of bills, education, medical consultations, purchase of airline tickets, sea and land transport and reservation of hotels. As a result, competition between companies has increased tremendously to achieve consumer satisfaction, given the lack of face-to-face contact between products and consumers. In the virtual environment, it is not only necessary to present your product, but to present your entire brand as a safe, profitable and viable option in a space with a variety of options.

Almost all regions have implemented the lockdown, closing activities that require agglomeration and human interaction, such as universities, schools, shopping malls, offices, airports. These measures resulted in the majority of people accessing the Internet and its services to communicate, interact and continue with their professional responsibilities at home. Internet services have seen an increase in usage from 40% to 100%, compared to pre-lockdown levels. Video conferencing services like Zoom have seen a tenfold increase in use, and content delivery services like Akamai have seen a 30% increase in use of content.

In this sense, social isolation, due to the need to adhere to remote work, also proved to be an object of research in a new direction for companies: apparently, productivity on the part of remote teams was equal or even higher in work done at home.

A survey conducted by Open Mind points out that 50% of the leaders said that their productivity was not impacted by the isolation measures. On the other hand, 35% stated that, in fact, they saw an improvement in the company’s performance. On the part of the employees, the majority saw in the hybrid model a way to have the benefits of remote work and avoid its harm, such as the lack of contact with other colleagues and overload.

The impacts of remote work

Advantages and disadvantages

In relation to the advantages, the remote model has, as an example, necessarily, the reduction of costs, considering that expenses such as the payment of transportation vouchers would decrease. Another saving would be with the costs of the office itself. Without the complete team present, the company can rent smaller spaces and even reduce expenses such as the electricity bill; there is also the issue of wasting time, for employees, the need to go to the office less times a week saves them not only travel time but money spent on gas or tickets.

In addition, the possibility of the home office creates the flexibility for the employee to think about his own schedule, having the freedom to shape his routine as he sees fit and producing when he is in the mood for such an activity.

A study led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), published by MIT Technology Review Brazil, interviewed 1,400 people through 54 questions about remote work. Some of the advantages reported by the interviewees were:

  • Greater focus on meetings, reducing time loss;
  • Improvement in productivity;
  • Increased time with the family and free time;
  • Cost reduction for the company and the employee. That is, the first may have a smaller structure, while the second spends less on food and transportation.

In terms of productivity, some data were:

  • 12% reduction in time in long meetings;
  • 9% increase in the period of interaction with customers and partners;
  • 50% more activities by personal preference;

Despite the positive aspects, some negative impacts also emerge as a result of working in the domestic environment, such as:

  • Back pain (56%);
  • Difficulty sleeping and pain in the neck (55%);
  • Shoulder pain (50%);
  • Eye fatigue and a feeling of isolation and loneliness (45%);
  • Migraines (42%);
  • Concern about family financial issues (36%).

With the amount of benefits to the detriment of the harms, many companies made the decision to remain in the home office or in a hybrid work method, even after the pandemic, alternating between the on-site and the home environment.

The effects on technology

Como dito anteriormente, a pandemia levou ao crescimento inevitável do uso de tecnologias digitais devido as normas de distanciamento social e lockdown. As pessoas e organizações de vários lugares do mundo precisaram se ajustar as novas formas de trabalho e de estilo de vida. A pandemia levou o mundo a uma situação em que aqueles que não estão conectados à Internet enfrentam a exclusão total. Com medidas rígidas de isolamento social e físico em vigor, novas rotinas exigem acesso à internet para a maioria dos serviços.

Outro aspecto do uso digital por grande parte da população ativa é o monitoramento constante do local de trabalho e a permanência no local de trabalho. Aqueles que trabalham em casa usando a tecnologia de videoconferência encontram-se sob intensa análise e todas as interações são “hiper-focadas”. A tecnologia digital torna mais fácil para chefes e gerentes ligar e localizar funcionários quando quiserem, sabendo que eles podem ser contatados a qualquer momento. Embora haja evidências anedóticas de que isso levou a um aumento na produtividade, também levou ao aumento de estresse e ansiedade, onde os funcionários devem aprender novas tecnologias, estarem disponíveis para trabalhar quase todo o tempo, ficar com dispositivos digitais o tempo todo e lidar com multitarefas.

Posteriormente, o monitoramento do local de trabalho e problemas de estresse tecnológico se tornaram proeminentes com o aumento da presença digital. A fraude virtual tende a crescer, junto com as pesquisas sobre gerenciamento de segurança nas empresas e para seus membros. A regulamentação da Internet, um recurso fundamental, será crucial no pós-pandemia também, visto que hoje em dia não há um botão de desligar sua vida online, a partir do momento que todas suas relações, tanto sociais quanto profissionais, agora se limitam ao espaço cibernético.

As the use of video and audio conferencing tools increases significantly, organizations will increase their technology infrastructure to offset the increase. This will lead to greater investment in expanding bandwidth, network equipment and software that takes advantage of cloud services.

That is why the COVID-19 crisis brought the equivalent of years of change in such a way that the sectors of the business market modulate their characteristics of how to do business. According to a survey of McKinsey Global executives, companies have accelerated the digitization of their consumers and supply chain interactions and their internal operations by three to four years. In addition, the sharing of digital products in their portfolios has been accelerated for a period of seven years. Almost all respondents claimed that their companies have come up with at least temporary solutions to meet many of the new demands, and much more quickly than they thought possible before the crisis.

Furthermore, respondents hope that most of these changes will be lasting and are already making the types of investments that they practically guarantee they will be. In fact, when executives were asked about the impact of the crisis on a series of measures, they said that funding for digital initiatives has increased more than anything – more than increases in costs, in the number of people in technology roles and in the number of customers.

Therefore, the new adjustments that remote work brought, between advantages and disadvantages, revolutionized the business market with regard to the use of digital tools.