Wed, 25 Mar 2020 08:24
The effects of the COVID-19 outbreak are unprecedented in living memory. Almost unique in peacetime, the changes to society, work and leisure are far-reaching, with major measures to prevent the spread of the virus in place in every country touched by it.
The crisis has shone a light on the central role of technology in our society. If our reliance on modern tech was something to be concerned about beforehand, it has become nothing short of vital now. Perhaps the Millennial generation – long mocked for their supposed obsession with technology over real-world interactions – are specially placed to adjust to these changes.
The Role of Technology
With many people confined to their homes for the foreseeable future, our internet connections have to stand in for many of the building blocks of normal life:
- Work: Those who are able to work from home have been told to do so. This has created an army of remote workers, many of them working from home for extended periods for the first time in their careers.
- Education: Since schools closed, many parents and family members are finding themselves in the role of temporary teachers. The internet provides endless content for activities to keep children happy, engaged and learning during the closure period, as well as providing a handy way for teachers to put work online for their students.
- Social Lives: With gatherings forbidden, technology allows us to remember that "social distancing" only refers to physical distance. Keeping in contact with our friends and family remotely is more important than ever. When phone calls and social media posts just aren't enough, video calls can give us that much-needed dose of human interaction.
- Shopping: People have been advised to shop online for essentials where they're able to. It's not always possible – due to the greater demand, delivery slots are harder to come by – but where it can be done, it avoids unnecessary interaction with others and helps to stop the spread of the virus.
While for many people this is a revolution in how they live their lives, for many millennials, it is an intensifying of habits they already had.
Coming of age in the early 2000s, millennials were the first generation to fully embrace social media and go through the latter stages of school and university with broadband internet access close at hand. Keeping in touch with friends in far-flung places, ordering items online and doing work – or school work – at home is second nature to many. Though it is of course a generalisation, it may be the older generation who are feeling the most strain from the coronavirus lockdown.
Every generation expresses a preference for some flexibility in where they work from, but this has been particularly strong for millennials. For years before the crisis began, this age group were showing a strong desire to work from home where possible. It's hard to predict what long-term effects the coronavirus lockdown will have on working practices, but with widespread home-working becoming the new (temporary) norm, it could be that more employers follow this line in the future, adapting their business demands to the needs of millennial workers.
Now more than ever, society needs to pull together – and that needs effort from people in all age groups.
This period has been full of examples of the best social media has to offer the world. For example, within a few days of the shutdown there were hundreds of Mutual Aid groups on Facebook, where local people who were vulnerable, self-isolating or running low on essential supplies could ask for help. There have also been successful fundraising efforts to help those most at risk of the virus, such as the Robin Hood Fund in Nottingham.
Video calling technology has also been useful for connecting older people who cannot leave their homes or receive visitors to their families – proving that far from pushing people apart as opponents of such technology have suggested, it can actually bring people separated by circumstances closer together.
Here are some more helpful tips and resources to help you while remote working:
Remote Working awareness course
Try our Remote Working awareness course to stay safe and healthy away from the office.
Information Security awareness training
With the flexibility to work from home in the current climate, it's a great time to refresh your knowledge of keeping business information secure and working safely online. Try our awareness training courses on key information security topics to working safely and securely away from the office.
Business Contingency Plan (BCP) for Infection Outbreaks
A blog post with helpful tips for businesses on drawing up a business contingency plan and ensuring business continuity.
Mental Health While Working Remotely
A blog post with helpful tips on how to care for your mental health while working from home for longer periods.