In a short space of time the world has seen increased calls for social distancing, forced cancellation of trips and gatherings of all sizes, as well as a slowdown in manufacturing; all due to the impact of the Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19).
This has resulted in the suspension of all school programmes including university lectures. Companies have had to urgently formulate plans to keep employees safe, comply with set government regulations while keeping businesses afloat. Digital solutions have come in to save the day.
As many countries went into mandatory lockdown, South Africa and the world has been forced to embrace tools that many business and even schools have been avoiding, branding them as tools for the information technology sector in a bid to find alternative ways to market and deliver their services.
Schools and universities moved to online teaching. Instead of entirely suspending academic programmes, educational institutions with online programmes have continued with their academic year. However not all have been able to do so!
We have seen a peak in the marketing and use of online services for the deliveries of essential items, thus aiding in limiting the movement of citizens during lockdown, ensuring their health and safety.
3D printing has come to the rescue in many countries, ensuring that medical services continue to be rendered through the production of much needed components for lifesaving machinery.
COVID-19 has, without anyone’s consent, ensured that working from home or remote working is a means of survival of many businesses during this period. This has compelled managers to change their modus operandi from managing the number of employees in the office or in the field, to embracing technology and overseeing employees as they work from home. Managers are now managing the many digital tools which enable effective remote working. Moving from never having heard of half of these tools to having these tools as the backbone of their operations, all in a matter of weeks or even days.
Employees, the world over, are forced to navigate the slippery slope of managing and juggling the responsibilities of work-time, family-time, kids and spouses all at home at the same time, while maintaining their sanity.
This is opening our eyes to the fact that although 4IR has been associated with Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, 3D Printing, while taking nothing away from all of the above; 4IR in its simplest form, entails the digitalisation of organisational processes and reaping the benefits of the digitalised process.
Where many previously became light headed and paled in complexion upon hearing the phrase “4IR”, they have now come to realise that it’s not about the loss of jobs to robots or AI, but rather the digital enabling of the human workforce. The impact of COVID-19 has ensured that digitalisation will no longer be a “far-far-into-the future” consideration, but rather an urgent necessity for organizations and businesses to survive now and into the future.
Don’t be left behind in the move towards the digitalisation of our workplaces, let MISA help you improve your computer skills through the Soft Skills Training Benefit as provided to MISA members based on the applicable terms and conditions. For more information contact Ms Gogontle Kgwathe on Gogontle.Kgwathe@ms.org.za.