It has been over a year and a half since the World Health Organization (WHO) categorized COVID-19 as a pandemic. There is still no cure for the virus that has upended all aspects of life. Today, it continues to spread through communities. However, things have changed. There are now highly effective vaccines that offer protection from infection and minimize the risk of hospitalization due to serious symptoms. In the United States, there is now some semblance of normalcy and hope that, at some point, life will go back to normal.
But many things have changed since the global public health crisis started. One thing that analysts predict will become a lasting impact of the pandemic is permanent work from home.
The Global Work-from-home Experiment
In the past year, billions of adults from around the world had to shift to virtual offices. They have to work remotely to escape the wrath of the virus. Many of them realized that they did not have to leave their houses every day to do their jobs.
So companies around the world are considering a permanent work-from-home setup for their employees. Others are allowing employees to work from home at least a couple of days a week.
The remote work setup benefits employees and companies. Employees save money and time by removing the need to commute to the office every single day. Companies, on the other hand, reduce overhead costs of running an office.
Moreover, both gain from increased productivity. Previous studies have shown that those who transitioned from working in an office to home spend less time working on their tasks daily. People were generally more motivated to work.
However, it is not without challenges. Working from home means that employees do not have access to the tools and equipment that are readily available in offices.
What This Means for the Tech Industry
Since the pandemic sent everyone home, businesses for tech companies thrived. In 2020, after years of decline, sales of laptop and desktop computers soared to 302 million. It was the highest number of computer units sold since 2014.
Lenovo, a Chinese company, was the leader of the market with a 24 percent share, followed by American companies HP and Dell. Apple’s laptop and desktop sales ranked fourth worldwide. This does not come as a surprise. Many people suddenly needed new devices for work, school, and play.
Tablets, too, were in high demand. In 2020, a total of 164.1 million tablets were sold around the world. Apple led the boost, followed by South Korea-based Samsung and Chinese tech brand Huawei.
On the software side of things, many companies also started utilizing robots that were created to do simple and repetitive tasks in the office. In the absence of in-office employees, and to save costs during the pandemic-induced recession, employers automated routine work like processing payroll data and expense reports.
Around 40 percent of all companies in the world have increased their reliance on software bots and other forms of automation in the past year. Most recognize that, at some point, they will have to start automating to keep a competitive edge over their competitors. The pandemic only made the adoption of the technology more rapid.
If the work-from-home setup becomes permanent and popular around the world, tech companies will be reaping the benefits.
On Tech Challenges
However, many work-from-home employees will also not have access to immediate help, especially in relation to technology. Workers have to deal with tech-related issues on their own.
This is how computer and tablet repair franchises can come in. The cost of opening a business in the tech-repair niche is not too high, and there is demand for services. Expect a lot of malfunctioning and broken devices that need repair.
There are dozens of tech problems that remote employees will encounter. Not all of them are equipped to handle tech problems. Many of these issues can be fixed at home with simple troubleshooting, but others need an expert to check and repair. Older employees, in particular, will need guidance.
Companies can implement early-warning systems that can monitor the employee’s usage of networks and applications and then send a signal if something is not functioning as it should. It gives companies an opportunity to apply a fix before the equipment breaks, halting productivity.
Working from home is a different setup from what people are used to. It creates increased and new needs that companies must address. Entrepreneurs can take advantage of the remote revolution to offer products and services to boost the capabilities of their communities.