More and more companies are sending their employees to home offices, avoiding business trips or relocating entire teams to remote offices in order to counteract the situation with the Covid 19 pandemic and remain reasonably fit for work.
How does the corona virus affect our working lives? How does digitisation help and what sustainable effects can be expected from the current pandemic in terms of the digitisation of the world of work?
In this article we try to give an overview of what companies and employees need to know.
Within a very short time, the spread of the virus has also influenced the way we work. For a long time now, the digitalisation of the world of work has been advancing inexorably. However, the spread of the virus around the world and the security measures imposed in response are now rapidly accelerating this development. The way in which new technologies are used in the workplace and how we will define our workplace in the future is also changing radically.
Now that the coronavirus is spreading dramatically in Europe, companies are faced with crucial questions: How do we protect our employees? How do we keep our processes, supply chains and production running? How do we stay in touch with business partners around the world and how do employees from different branches best work together in these circumstances?
Many large and small companies reacted quickly. Initially, business trips to risk areas were prevented. In the future, every trip that is not absolutely necessary is to be avoided. Trade fairs have been cancelled, conferences are not taking place. Air traffic is at a standstill. Anyone suspected of corona is not allowed to leave the house for weeks, and entire departments are sent to the home office en masse if there is the slightest suspicion of infection.
Nevertheless, business processes must be kept alive, meetings must be held and contact with customers and business partners must be maintained. Under these extreme circumstances, the potential that digitization of the world of work has for companies and employees around the world becomes clear.
Google and Microsoft are among the first companies to react to the development around the corona virus. They are making important collaboration (AmPnBsP) tools available free of charge, thus enabling other companies to maintain their corporate communications (AmPnBsP) quickly and free of charge. In addition, both companies said they wanted to enable organizations to protect employees from the spread of the virus while keeping their operations largely operational. In countries such as Italy, Hong Kong and Vietnam, these tools are also available for remote teaching to schools.
Google provides users of the G Suite package and G Suite Education with capacity for meetings for up to 250 people, as well as streaming for up to 100,000 viewers. The events can be recorded and then made available via Google Drive Microsoft has also announced that it will offer six months of free access to the premium version of Microsoft Teams, the software giant's coworking tool. This also allows meetings to be recorded and made available.
Surely this way of holding conferences digitally will be even more popular in the future.
The provider of video conferencing Zoom, from San Francisco has also reacted to the tense situation. The company lifted the 40-minute limit on its free meeting version, and as a result has seen a rapid increase in user numbers. In the first days of the Corona pandemic, the company's share price skyrocketed. Zoom boss Eric Yuan expects his company to be able to benefit from this development even after the Corona crisis.
The companies and employees would now get an impression of how advantageous the digital working world with video conferencing can be. The trend towards digital working was also strongly felt before the crisis. Zoom, for example, achieved a considerable increase in user numbers in the previous fiscal quarter. This development is a further indication that the corona virus is not the trigger but an additional driver of the digital working world.
In Japan, the corona virus showed radical effects on the working world shortly after the outbreak. In a country where it is customary to arrive at the office sooner rather than later and only leave well after work, this change is particularly impressive. Many prominent names are among the companies trying out this new way of teleworking. These include corporations such as Toyota, Mitsubishi, Sony or the important start-up financier Softbank. In each of these companies, several thousand employees are encouraged to work from home. The closed schools in the country are also contributing to a change in work attitudes
However, there are large regional differences in the use of teleworking in Japan in response to the epidemic. While many employees in the major cities now choose the option of working at a distance, outside the major cities most employees still travel to the office. This is mainly due to the fact that the risk of infection is much higher in Tokyo's crowded public transport systems than in rural areas.
However, politicians are also learning from the advantages and experiences of working remotely and suggest that home offices should be made available in Tokyo during the Olympic Games to avoid a traffic collapse in the city.
Whether countries such as Japan will make greater use of digital jobs after the corona epidemic is still open. But digital working life is also making itself increasingly felt in other areas. Entire conferences are being moved to the Internet. Trade fairs do not take place, business partners move their meetings to virtual (AmPnBsP) rooms. The providers of conference tools are experiencing a strong increase in usage and many will still keep the advantages of this way of working in mind after Corona. It is therefore very possible that Corona will significantly contribute to the digital revolution.