Tuesday 9 June 2020

COVID, digital tech, the environment and us

COVID, digital tech, the environment and us

As the COVID-19 lockdown turns from a disconcerting rapid change to the early development of a  semi-normal routine, it becomes all too obvious that this is a marathon and not a sprint. As the lockdown is eased and we emerge into the daylight of a post-COVID world, we will see continued disruption as we move towards a new normal.

Those of us able to work remotely will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future, to ease the pressure on the transport infrastructure and ensure physical distancing for those that have to work on-site.

[I’m not a fan of the term “social distancing”, I don’t think its accurate, I think, with thanks to technology, we have remained social throughout the lock-down]

Digital technology has allowed many businesses to continue operation throughout the lockdown, it has kept us all communicating (both personally and professionally) and it’s helped continue to educate our children.

[Despite, in my case, the generally poor standard of the home-schooling teaching staff]

It has kept us entertained. Kept us connected. Kept us sane.

[There is a short article here, from the University of Manchester reflecting on what may have happened 20 years ago and how digital technology has eased the burden.]

As we move through the next phases in the fight against COVID-19, digital technology will be employed to help monitor and control the spread of the virus, maintain physical distancing, and to start, as safely as possible, to fire up the economy allowing us to gradually forge a new normality. As with any period of disruption, we will likely see the increased adoption of new ways of working and the creation of new businesses, helping to build a digital economy more resilient to future disruption.

Generally, it’s acknowledged that the advancements in digital technology have eased the impact of the coronavirus pandemic for many of us; but it’s worth mentioning that during this same time cybercrime has risen and as more and more businesses adopt digital tools this trend, unfortunately, will continue. As businesses rush to adopt new ways of working its important to ensure that security, privacy, and safety are always primary considerations. The benefits for business adopting digital technology are now clearer than ever, and those that buck the trend will likely find themselves left behind. However, as we forge ahead, we need a clear understanding of the risks and how to mitigate them, so we can create a digital economy built on secure foundations.

There are other lessons that can be learned from the lockdown; it has clearly shown the impact that we have on the environment, the fact we are all travelling less has manifested in cleaner air and clearer skies and this cannot be forgotten as we create the new normal. Green businesses that have a low carbon footprint should be given precedence over returning to old ways of working. It would be a great shame if we chose to ignore the positive lessons learned after all this and we simply returned to a pre-COVID normal.

It has shown us how much we rely on frontline workers, the importance of the NHS, and the importance of the people that stand up each day to ensure the rest of us remain safe and healthy. We need to ensure this new breed of hero is not forgotten in our new normal.

On the whole, the lockdown has shown that we are a resilient bunch, and whilst there are stories of selfishness, greed and outright idiocy, they are generally overwhelmed by stories of kindness and selflessness that should remain as an inspiration to us all. I hope that as we move forward, we take the lessons learned over the last few months to heart and strive towards a fairer, cleaner, greener society.

[Anyway that’s what I think, take it or leave it.]

[Pubs are looking a long way off :(]

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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