As a tech company, we closely watched technology during COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve discovered both triumphs & failures, and we’d like to share our discoveries with you so that together, we might learn how to better navigate and thrive in the current world.
It’s been said that for every hardship, there is a lesson learned. And with the COVID-19 pandemic the world has certainly been experiencing a hardship.
There is no doubt that for all of us…Life. Has. Changed.
The question is, with all of the strife, the financial losses, the change in daily life, an even greater dependence upon technology, the loss of time with family & friends, what can we learn?
Let’s break it down.
Rolling with the Changes
Humans are inherently displeased by change…because sometimes it’s hard (and sometimes, we just fear it will be).
Routines are hardwired into our brains and when a small difference in routine occurs, many of us are thrown a bit off kilter.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been no small change; and it was change that was both difficult, and rife with fear.
Marriage, illness or death, birth, changes in home life, and change within jobs, and finances are some of the most stressful things we deal with in first world countries. Those things often only happen one at a time.
The Coronavirus ticked quite a few of those boxes concurrently for nearly all of us, so it’s understandable that stress levels have increased and negative emotions have heightened. Many felt and still feel like their world has been turned upside down.
Mostly because it was.
Tough times can bring out the worst in us: politics can polarize people, frustration can lead to confrontation, loss can lead to depression…but hardship can also bring out the best.
Which takes us to the positive side of this whole COVID-19 mess.
We’re humans. And as resistant to change as we may collectively be, we’ve also proven to be resilient. Our resiliency provides the fuel to get us through the tough times, creativity allows us to thrive despite the challenges, and in the current crisis, technology has been the tool to make it happen.
How Has Technology Helped People Through COVID-19?
Across the world, perhaps the most obvious way technology helped us was to efficiently inform us of the coming pandemic & update us on progress.
In PA, and other states that quarantined, technology has helped us in a myriad of ways.
Technology vs COVID-19
- Computers changed Remote Work from a special treat for the elite to an every day occurrence for most office workers.
- Zoom & Facebook Workplace enabled companies and schools to keep communications open and business & schoolwork going.
- Teladoc (Doctor/patient video calling) appointments have greatly increased as people can video call their doctors from the comfort of their own couch.
- Google Hangouts, FaceTime and Facebook Messenger allowed us to stay connected without being physically connected.
Creativity Saved Small Business
Couple those pieces of technology with the ingenuity of business owners, and we’ve collectively come up with some pretty creative workarounds.
- Brick and mortar dog groomers have begun booking appointments online and retrofit their vehicles to provide at home, mobile grooming.
- Restaurants who weren’t able to stay afloat on take-out service alone became mini grocery stores by allowing their customers to place their orders online and selling extra supplies like dry goods, cleaning supplies & the seemingly endangered and ever elusive toilet paper.
- Working from home in pajamas went from being a rarity that people wished they could be lucky enough to enjoy, to the every day norm.
- Beer distributors, hardware stores & retail shops began offering online ordering & curbside pickup. Who doesn’t want their beer faster?
- More grocery stores began offering online ordering & delivery and many added curbside pick up as well.
- Organizations like WhyHunger used technology to gather data to help hungry people find food banks and recruit volunteers to help feed those in need.
Technology, during COVID-19, made a very hard time more manageable for many.
But, every solution comes with its own set of problems. And, as techs, we know very well that technology is not immune to that rule. Frankly, the fallibility of technology is one of the major reasons our jobs exist.
What Technology Problems Do We Face During the Coronavirus?
We humans have made some astounding accomplishments in the technology field over the past hundred years. And at no time have advancements, well, advanced as quickly as they have in the last few decades.
We’ve seen a ton of ways where technology has helped us in this pandemic, but where did it fail us?
Sadly, many businesses weren’t able to survive. Some areas of industry, like construction and hospitality, by the nature of their services, weren’t able to adapt.
They had to either ride out the storm, or sink. No amount of creativity was going to save them; robot laborers are not yet commonplace and empty hotel rooms don’t pay the bills. Technology hasn’t helped them survive during COVID-19.
And the businesses that did adapt with the help of tech, still faced obstacles.
- Limited bandwidth (read: sloooow internet) due to so many people using the internet in a given area at once.
- Apps not working properly/not connecting.
- Information security issues for remote work.
- Decreased availability of intercompany tech support due to increased demand.
- Shortage of computers available due to increased demand.
- The usual tech issues: viruses (of the non-corona kind), compatibility issues with equipment or software, & Murphy’s Law of Electronics (if you really need it to work, it will not).
- Information overload. It’s easy to be too connected when interaction with others for work or family/friends is based on the internet. And increased screen time has been proven to lead to increased depression.
How Can Technology During COVID-19 Help Us Prepare For a Future Crisis?
For every problem, there is a solution. So what can we do differently? How can we improve as the virus continues? How can we better prepare for the inevitable “next time”?
If you’re a home computer user:
- Make an Emergency Preparedness Plan.
- Keep your computer and software up to date (See our Windows 10 update post here)
- If you computer is too old to update, learn How To Choose A New Computer
- Beware of Fraud! Unsavory types particularly like to prey on people during times of chaos. Find out What To Do If You’ve Been Hacked here.
- Protect Yourself From Viruses (of the computer kind).
- The internet can be a wonderful source of information. Be cautious of where you click. Be thoughtful about what you read. Beware of social media; look for solid references from trusted sites. Anyone can say anything on the internet, but it doesn’t mean it’s true. Take a break and remember to…
- Unplug. Step away from the computer. Put down the phone. Too much of anything can be, well, too much. Enjoy time outdoors, with your pets, and each other (from an acceptable distance of course).
If you’re a business owner or manager:
Take some time to think about how tech has helped your company survive COVID-19 and what changes or additions you could make to help your business thrive.
- Has online ordering sped up your service?
- Has curbside pickup eased congestion in your store?
- Have you found working from home to provide solace and productivity or distractions?
- What tech has worked for you so far?
- Expand on that tech. Get creative. Expand those ideas.
- How can technology help you both grow your business now, and keep you going in the event of a crisis in the future?
For in-depth information regarding disaster preparedness for businesses, visit The Department of Homeland Security Ready.gov website for comprehensive IT Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity Plans.
Do you have an Emergency Preparedness Plan? Contact Us and we’ll be happy to help you create one, or review and expand your current plan.
Get your free printable Disaster Preparedness Checklist here:
Need computer or tech support in Northampton, PA or the Lehigh Valley Area?
Whether you’re a residential customer with a computer virus or questions about tech, or a business in need of emergency preparedness planning assistance and full service tech support, we’re here to help. It’s our job, and our passion.
With hope for health & happiness for everyone,
DRC Technologies, Northampton, PA – providing full service tech support to the Lehigh Valley Area for over 18 years