The ongoing pandemic has forced us to come to terms with the fact that this virtual lifestyle is the new normal. Companies are racing to creating new apps/software that can improve our virtual experiences and ease the entire process. The virtual world is the way forward.
Work-from-home has become the new working norm. It has changed the entire dynamics of the Indian workplace. Tech giants such as Google and Facebook are allowing most of their employees to work from home for the rest of the year. Tata Consultancy Services Ltd expects 75% of its staff to permanently work from home by 2025. WFH is also a welcome change for start-ups; they are using this move to cut costs and rethink operations. In many ways, WFH could turn out to be a blessing in the long run because an increase in productivity levels among employees is being noticed. It is also enabling companies to cut on administrative costs.
The pandemic has also changed the education sector forever. Schools and colleges have shifted to the online learning model. Video classes on zoom and a variety of other platforms have now become a common sight in many households. Platforms such as Coursera, Udemy, Byju’s etc are updating their library and regularly creating new courses for varied learning groups. In addition to this, various activity based classes such as dance or singing are also being conducted virtually. A wide variety of fun virtual workshops involving cooking, art, etc. have also become common.
Shopping for daily essentials has become easier with apps such as Swiggy and Zomato widening their services to include delivery of groceries. You can choose from a range of stores depending on your location and the items get delivered within 2 hours. Even complex tasks such as house hunting can be easily done with the help of VR headsets. They enable you to see properties from the comfort of your homes using Virtual Reality.
Social interactions cannot be done virtually – this is what people always thought. However, we have also managed to convert parties and family gatherings into virtual events. Be it a birthday or an anniversary, we can do it all online via a video call. Important functions such as weddings are also streamed live online to make sure everybody can enjoy and feel like a part of the occasion while ensuring safety at the same time.
However, there are quite a few shortcomings related to the virtual world. Time lag exists in decision making processes due to the involvement of hierarchy. Technology use can also be a big hindrance; one needs to have working-knowledge of standard applications. Apart from this, E-learning requires self-motivation and time management skills. It can also cause social isolation and lack of communicational skill development in students. Currently, virtual activities are still developing and are not as wholesome as face-to-face interactions.
The virtual world is here to stay for the long haul. It is incumbent upon us to devise methods and programs that make such experiences more fruitful and less uncomfortable. Companies need to find efficient ways to communicate with their employees without considering the virtual world as a barrier. Institutions need to reflect and rethink of ways to make the learning process as productive as it can be. We need analyse the issues that currently exist and find solutions to mitigate them because this trend is gaining momentum and is likely to become a new norm post Covid-19. The virtual world is the future.
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