As the restrictions imposed on the movement of people and social interaction begin to lift, people will soon take their first steps into a world that will be very different from the one that they had known pre-COVID-19, notes Marcus Smith, Technical Director, Hey Jude.

Major trends that were gaining momentum before the pandemic hit, have accelerated in its wake. Digital apps have been central to this rapid and meaningful shift, mainly because they have brought accessibility, convenience and simplicity to the lives of consumers. Online shopping, on-demand video streaming, virtual meetings and the like, have been adopted by more people than ever before. But as we enter into this ‘new normal’, how will this affect the way we work, both now and in the future?

While many industry sectors are counting the costs of the COVID-19 crisis, businesses that have adapted and moved swiftly to serve their customers and their employees, are reaping what they have sown. Accelerated digital transformation that harnesses reduced human interaction, automated tasks, and increased productivity are simplifying the lives of employees during a time where the lines between work life and personal life are blurring.

Employees are finding less time for everyday self-care such as exercise, preparing food, and family time, let alone for arbitrary errands, like paying utility bills or renewing a driver’s licence. Buying items that aren’t considered essential or in-demand is even more complex. How can an employee source, pay and get delivery without having to spend time searching the internet for suppliers that are operating and have stock?

Hey Jude, for example, is the world’s first human-powered digital assistant for busy people and gets things done quicker and smarter than they can do so themselves. Virtual assistants take care of a member’s everyday problems and personal tasks, so that they can focus on doing their job. By embracing digital technology within organisations, employers can help make their employees’ lives so much easier.

Digital technologies are also being used to improve the onboarding processes of businesses. While acquiring talent isn’t a priority for many employers right now, HR departments will still need to onboard employees at some point and train them remotely. Augmented reality can equip HR departments in creating immersive experiences for training and fast-tracking employees at home. Virtual assistants can be used to walk employees through an onboarding environment and be on standby to offer advice.

Since colleagues and supervisors won’t be able to meet face to face any time soon, employers can leverage the power of digital recognition platforms for peer-to-peer recognition. Specialist software can automate recognition and rewards systems to enable co-workers to remotely send and receive digital celebration cards, or social recognitions like virtual high-fives.

With new digital technologies and platforms being rolled out by the week, employers have more options at their disposal for encouraging their people to adopt healthy lifestyles. A major side effect of remote working are unbalanced lifestyles, and the over-eating, lack of exercise, and high levels of anxiety and stress that come with it.

Digital technologies like Hey Jude offer innovative ways of managing employee mental health and wellness. Apps have been developed for this purpose, and can relay interactive voice conversations and animations to help workers adjust attitudes and reduce anxiety and depression.

By embracing and migrating to emerging technologies, businesses can better position themselves to navigate the unchartered post-COVID-19 business landscape that lies ahead, and keep their companies on course, now and in the future.

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