The COVID-19 pandemic has brought major disruptions around the world affecting almost all sectors such as logistics, healthcare, education, tourism, retail, and manufacturing. These abrupt changes resulted in employees adapting to new ways of doing work, to ensure business continuity. The rise of the pandemic instills an urgent sense for people to change the way they interact and carry on with their daily lives and work.
Many businesses were shut down, while others have to redevelop their business models to stay afloat and adjust to the new scenario due to COVID-19. Companies have to quickly deploy the use of video conferencing tools and cloud-based technologies. It is expected that the use of digital technologies will become more entrenched for the use of social activities, education or healthcare services by employees and students alike.
With the prevalent use of technologies, security concerns have become a real issue. It has become a thorny issue for managers to provide technological solutions yet still provide security and privacy need to the end-users. Using a home network without the use of a VPN can also expose companies to cyber threats such as malware, ransomware, phishing, and the hijacking of videoconferences. What is astonishing is that even healthcare employees providing essential services are confronted with ransomware attacks. Online frauds involving cryptocurrencies disguised as job opportunities are also emerging.
User engagement has been mixed thus far with the nature of work and life tasks being radically changed. While some embraced the luxury of working from home, others experience their challenges, such as stress from the technological demands at work. Some attempted to bypass the company systems and policies and result in insecure technology behaviors. Others experience mental health issues from the feelings of disconnect, distraction during work, balancing family needs against work. It is therefore important for companies to pay attention to the well-being of the employees.
Research has shown that the elderly tend to use IT for communication and news source. However, young children and adults are challenged with a barrage of false information or “fake news”. They are also constantly distracted from studies and work with exciting online entertainment news. The rapid and fluid nature of online news means crucial decisions such as whether or not to wear masks have proven to be confusing and frustrating. This has led to the erosion of trust in the government.
In this era, we are thankful that technology has still helped to play a significant role in normalizing work and life routines. Despite its imperfections, technology has helped to smooth out the inconveniences brought upon by this pandemic.
Ingel Soong is a Singaporean author for a company aimed at enriching people’ lives.