Suvodeep Das, Vice President – Sales & Marketing, Sodexo Benefits & Rewards India shares a few ways in which technolog...
Covid-19is sure to transform the way the world learns and works, business leaders must remember that this is not a one-off crisis, writes Suvodeep Das, Vice President – Sales & Marketing, SodexoBenefits & Rewards India.
- He further shares a few ways in which technology can be the unlikely saviour for entrepreneurs.
Epidemics, on the other side of the world, are a threat to us all. No epidemic is just local.
-Peter Piot, Belgian Microbiologist
2020 – a new year, a new decade, marking the beginning of a much-anticipated new era in technology and digitalization! Little did we know what was about to unfurl, not in the distant future, but a brief span. What started as flu in China has spread faster than any disease in the modern era, WHO declared it a pandemic on 11th March.
Within two days, WHO had also come up with guidelines to control the transmission of the disease. Quarantines of suspected cases and social isolation of the general public are topmost on the list of ‘things to do.’ As of date, more than 50+ countries have implemented a nationwide shutdown. In India itself, the central government has laid down the guidelines, and most states are in a state of partial shutdown. Educational institutions, malls, movie houses, stores except those selling essential commodities – all have been closed. People have been advised to stay home and venture out only when they must.
The economy is much more fragile than we realize.
The result has been deadly for the global economy as well, not because of the virus itself, but because of its consequences. Quarantines and isolation mean no travel, no stepping out, no eating out, and no outside entertainment, i.e., no spending. Already wobbling from the impact of a prolonged recession, entire industries are on the brink of collapse. The stock markets are seeing new depths every single day; the Sensex, for example, has gone down by 10,000 points in just one month. While the most obvious impact has been on the travel and hospitality sector, almost all industries are reeling from the continuing shock. Restaurants, malls, shops, gyms, and even factories are shutting down.
Technology is the unlikely savior.
In this time of mandated social distancing, the only way out for businesses is to transfer their services to the internet; after all, this is one virus that can’t spread online. The digital economy is the best way out for a world that is becoming more and more threatened every day. Organizations that have chosen to go digital for their day-to-day activities are the ones that can maintain some semblance of normalcy and help reduce the ‘spread’ of the disease.
- Physical currency is one of the most common modes of catching or passing on any virus, using digital payments will go a long way in limiting the spread as people will not need to touch any currency.
- Digital employee benefits like gift cards, meal cards, etc. have worked as an alternative to currency as well, ensuring that even when people are working from home, they can use their benefits, be it for food, groceries or online shopping.
- Quite a few organizations in the country have advocated Working from Home (WFH) using Video conferencing, choosing to conduct business as usual, albeit in a different mode. A lot of schools and colleges have also refused to bow down to the virus; using the remote classroom concept instead.
- A lot of companies have invested in shared drives so that it doesn’t put additional pressure on email infrastructure; even more so for teams used to working with massive files.
- Since companies need to take some extra steps to motivate teams working remotely, especially for ones who are used to only working together, instant, digital rewards programs that can be given remotely, every day will be a powerful tool.
- By Suvodeep Das, Vice President – Sales & Marketing, Sodexo Benefits & Rewards India.