The Digital Revolution marked the shift from mechanical and analogue electronic technology to digital electronics back in the 1950’s-1970’s…however, we believe, now, more than ever, we are seeing a Digital Revolution like never before. From TikTokking grandmas to virtual colleges. In this blog we’ll be looking at how these changes in technology have revolutionised both the way we live and work today, and how they will impact us all in the future.

COVID-19 has swept businesses into an era of rapid change, starting in March, businesses have been forced to adopt new forms of technology in order to survive. With Zoom and Teams, Skype and Dropbox all increasing user numbers to unprecedented levels, businesses have moved to a new way of working, meaning digital communication has become more essential than ever before.

Not only has this rapid change enforced business to encourage flexibility and digital learnings, it has also meant individuals have adopted new communication channels to continue to be as connected to others within their personal lives.

As coaches, we have been working with a wide range of businesses across different industries and have discussed the challenges faced. However, we’ve also heard lots of positive stories and in fact, we believe many of these newly adopted working processes and technologies will continue to develop and become an integral part of day to day life moving forward.

Here’s examples of the changes businesses are implementing and the digital technologies being used to help businesses to pivot and adapt to communication methods.

Adaptability

Business owners, their businesses and individuals have been forced to adapt not only the way they work, but also the services and products they provide.

  • Business owners who have been resistant to flexible working and allowing staff to work from home, have had no choice if they wanted to continue trading and have been forced to make the change so their business can operate remotely.
  • Many B2B businesses have completely changed their business model with their existing B2B markets closed they started supplying the B2C market e.g. Theakston’s Brewery currently cannot supply pubs but will deliver direct to the consumers home.
  • Many B2C businesses have gone fully online to continue trading and there has been a 30% increase in this area.
  • Staff who work in large office complexes have had to get used to working solo from home and using new technology such as video conferencing to connect with colleagues and customers.

Efficiency

Video conferencing technology has been around for many years; however, many businesses continued to disregard it and focus on face to face meetings and training sessions until now. This situation has forced businesses to move communication to digital, and in turn, has supported business efficiency.

A great example of this is from our very own Director, Guy. Last week he was invited to attend meetings in Hull, Halifax and Blackpool, all in the course of one day! A few months ago, this would have been impossible, however, by logging in online, Guy was able to attend all three meetings with the added bonus of no travel time, no fuel expenses and no lost time between the meeting and completing urgent actions.

In addition to adaptability and efficiency, there are other huge business advantages of remote working for both the employer and the employee:

Employers

  • Reduction in staff lateness:
    • As staff cannot blame the traffic or their bus not turning up.
  • Reduced in sickness levels:
    • As staff will not call in sick if they can work from home.
  • Lower running costs:
    • With less people in the office, you use less electricity, less coffee, and need fewer desks and chairs.
  • Smaller office requirements:
    • By operating flexible staffing and a staggered timetable to when people or teams are in the office, i.e. different teams/departments in on different days, this lead to a reduction in the office space required.
  • Happier and motivated staff:
    • The culture of trust increases loyalty and their commitment to work.

Employees

  • Flexible working can fit in with home life commitments.
  • Can work at home even if you have flu or just feeling under the weather.
  • They have lower commuting costs.
  • Creates a commitment to remain with that company and not job hunt elsewhere.

Then there are the wider effects of the COVID-19 lockdown:

Environment

The impact of the lockdown has dramatically affected the environment in a positive way. Not only has the reduced the level of travel helped towards a significant improvement in pollution across the world; air pollution has declines, rivers are cleaner, and never has there been so much wildlife seen in residential areas. A fox was even spotted passing 10 Downing Street!

Hopefully lockdown will help nudge society towards a healthier, more environmentally friendly way of life, with people becoming more accountable and thoughtful of the ways they travel, helping to minimise carbon emissions, manage over-tourism and maximise the contribution to local economies.

Community

More than ever, people are pulling together in communities both on and offline, to maintain social contact. A more caring culture is developing. With more people working from home, there is a shift in how neighbours interact, and how communities come together to support one another. Maybe this is because we are not rushing around as much, the pace of life has slowed down and people are taking time to really appreciate where they live.

Examples can be seen in…

  • Neighbours pulling together to support local residents who are in need – initiatives have been seen throughout the country where people and businesses are coming up with creative ways to support the vulnerable, whether it be food parcels being dropped on doorsteps, or odd-jobs being carried out, it’s fantastic to see such positive acts of kindness.
  • Residential streets have created online community hubs, with WhatsApp and Facebook Groups popping up left and right, these virtual tools are allowing people to communicate with one another to keep up to date with information or simply to stay in touch.
  • Clap for carers – this initiative came about to support the NHS and all carers on the front line, but not only has it shown recognition for these key workers, it’s also brought whole hosts of communities together in a way never before seen!
  • Online challenges have taken over social media, if you haven’t been tagged in a virtual run, a sing-a-long, or a 7 day photo challenge, it’s only a matter of time!
  • More and more people are recognising the importance of local and national charities and the work they do, with Captain Tom raising £20 million for NHS Charities Together, the bar has been set pretty high!
  • Online quizzes and video calls have taken hold of the internet, with families, colleagues and social groups using virtual programmes to stay in touch and find fun ways of passing the time, it’s possible these may continue into the future, as who doesn’t love a pub quiz from the comfort of your own sofa?

So…the real question is, are we facing the ‘real digital revolution’ and how is it going to impact the way in which we live and work in the future?

For businesses there’s a complex balance to be struck between being productive and efficient, whilst maintaining a positive and engaged team ethos whilst facilitating all forms of work-based learning. If we can get it right, it can undoubtedly benefit the environment and the quality of life within our local communities.

There is talk of the “new normal”, and although some people might like to go back to how they once were, would this new way be such a bad thing?