Updated: Oct 21, 2021
By now you’ve probably seen all the “Fall plans vs. Delta variant” memes that have taken over the internet. While there’s nothing funny about this new Covid-19 variant, people are trying to lighten the mood with humorous memes about how mandates ordered because of the new strain have, quite frankly, ruined their plans.
This sudden change in direction is nothing new. Companies bore their share of the effects of Covid-19 at the start of the pandemic. In-person events were quickly shifted to virtual, and online events platforms soon became our saving grace as they took center stage when the Covid-19 Pandemic hit the world like a storm. It provoked a paradigm shift in the way we communicate and conduct business and even how we go about perfunctory tasks. For many companies, survivability depended on adaptability, and a transition to a virtual platform.
It is almost fully attributed to virtual platforms that this perpetual languishing infringed upon us by the pandemic was appeased, by allowing businesses, employment, and education to continue amidst a global catastrophe.
While no one wants to postpone their plans of going back to in-person activities, for now it’s fortunate that we have experience in this area and can safely weather the storm that is the Covid-19 Delta Variant.
Businesses go virtual
Companies have been forced to evolve in order to weather the Pandemic, and while many had hoped to get back to normal, experts agree that the pandemic will make its way well into 2022. For many companies, this global pandemic will halt September and October reopening plans. Victoria Sanchez, citing a global health expert, who “help[s] advise the Biden Administration on COVID in the United States, predicts the American death toll will reach 500,000 by mid-February and says the pandemic will last until early 2022.”
Analyzing the results of a poll by Gallup, Daniel Villareal confirms that the number of Americans who believe 2022 will be affected by the pandemic doubled. “In June, just 17 percent of Americans thought that the disruptions would continue into 2022. As of July, 42 percent of Americans do. An additional 41 percent of Americans think that the disruptions will continue through the end of 2021. Combined, 83 percent of Americans think the pandemic's disruptions will continue either through the end of the year or well into the next year.” This staggering number indicates that people will continue finding ways to conduct business online.
Craft activities, cooking courses, doctor appointments, and even babysitting can now all be done using digital platforms. This new model of online businesses has opened up countless opportunities for startups to emerge, and people are loving it. Most companies have not only adapted their business models to meet new expectations; they have thrived!
A shift to remote work
With a lot of companies conforming to virtual events, employees have also seen the value in remote work. The surge of the Delta variant, wreaking rapidly across states creates a veritable urgency to stay safe and map a way forward, embracing our ‘new normal.’ Actually, Rani Molla, exposes a most interesting theory on our adapted way of life, by affirming that “Companies that make people return to the office will lose employees.”
In our evolutionary process, we have become proficient with these virtual platforms; for many, it has been a most useful tool and skill that cannot be easily dismissed, or unlearned. Employees have adapted to learning to effectively use these virtual platforms, so much so that we’ve almost made a complete transition to a virtual world. He adds that “We’re in an era where people have tasted a different way of working, a different way of connecting with the people they cohabitate with, a reduced level of stress from the reduction of commutes, saving more money. And because they’ve tasted this, they’re demanding it, they want it. Given that, will incumbents remain as powerful as they’ve always been in drawing and retaining top talent?”
While a fully virtual existence is unlikely, the concept of hybrid work has surfaced, where employers are expected to either shift their employees with virtual time and face to face time, or when allowed to stay home, given office days. While it is by no means a bleak future, its definitions and nuances remain uncertain for now, as every company will need to consider how to move forward. What cannot be ignored, is how useful virtual conferencing platforms are and their having indelibly etched a permanent spot in our future.
Online learning during the pandemic
Consider for example the staggering shift in education from a physical classroom to a virtual platform. Hope lingers for some that things will go back to what they were used to when it comes to education; however, Cathy Li and Farah Lalani, discovered that with “global edtech investments reaching US$18.66 billion in 2019 and the overall market for online education projected to reach $350 Billion by 2025,” it is safer to assume that online learning, “whether it is language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing tools, or online learning software,” will be integrated in the future of learning.
More than 1.2 billion students worldwide were affected by the pandemic and had to adapt. Li and Lalani published that “Research suggests that online learning has been shown to increase retention of information, and take less time, meaning the changes coronavirus have caused might be here to stay.” With an overwhelming number of students who have adapted to a virtual platform, this can be expected to transcend to the future of business as well, permanently.
In-person events and activities have been anticipated for far too long. While no one wants to give up their fall plans, people have decided to sit tight and cling to an online way of conducting business, working, and learning while this new Covid-19 Delta wave passes.
Although many companies shut down as a result of the pandemic, others adapted by going almost completely virtual and have reaped the benefits tremendously. An online world has opened the doors to a startling number of new opportunities and startups have taken complete advantage.
As companies shifted to digital platforms, many employees embraced a new way of working as well, either by going hybrid or fully remotely. They have saved not only time in commute hours, but money in passage and fuel expenses as well.
Lastly, the education system has been most efficient in helping teachers and students make the most out of e-learning. Similarly to other businesses, schools and universities have seen substantial savings and advantages to online education. While no one is content to postpone their plans due to the Delta variant, we are surely glad that we’re not left wondering what to do next. Our shiny new virtual way of life is here to stay!
If you want to learn more about creating a virtual space for conducting business, learning, or for social gathering, please reach out to us. We are more than happy to help you plan your next virtual event.