Posted 26th April 2021
With coronavirus impacting the way we live and work, it’s safe to say it’s been a strange and difficult year for us all. Whether you’ve been stuck at home or working on the frontline, everybody has had to do their bit to slow the spread of the virus and protect one another. Throughout the pandemic, however, technology has kept us going, filling in the gaps left by the COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns.
In this blog, we’ll be looking at the ways that everyday technology has helped us get through the pandemic and come out the other side more digitally mature than ever. Here’s just a few of the ways that digital technology has made a positive contribution to our social and working lives during coronavirus:
Humans are social creatures and being isolated from family, friends, and in-person social interactions is difficult for even the most practiced of introverts. Thanks to social media and video calling platforms, however, we’ve never been more connected, even when we’re apart. Whether it’s a simple chat over Facebook messenger, a zoom quiz or virtual games night, technology has allowed us to make the best of a bad situation and to maintain a semblance of social life and connection over the internet.
Indeed, this was perhaps best reflected in an NHSX scheme that delivered over 11,000 iPads to care homes, allowing elderly residents to keep in touch with friends and family that could no longer visit due to COVID-19 restrictions. Whilst it’s no substitute for in-person meetings, technology has helped us alleviate feelings of loneliness during these strange and isolated times.
Throughout the pandemic, social distancing has been essential to containing the spread of the virus whilst we still carry out essential activities such as food shopping. From online delivery to contactless payments, technology has helped us to keep our distance and avoid contact with others whilst out and about, or even eliminate the need to leave our homes entirely. Indeed, in April 2020, google searches for food delivery hit an all-time high, revealing how more people than ever were turning to online delivery to avoid mingling in the supermarkets. This change is perhaps seen most prominently in the over 55s, with nearly a quarter of this age bracket now buying food and essentials online, in comparison to just 8% in 2019.
Card payments, specifically contactless payments, were also strongly encouraged in remaining essential shops, with the payment limit increased from £30 to £45 to ensure that contactless payments could be used on higher value transactions. This eliminated the handling of money or the card machine itself which could otherwise spread the illness.
Whilst the healthcare sector is no stranger to the latest technology, there’s no denying that the pandemic drove greater digitalisation across healthcare settings. With non-emergency appointments restricted by coronavirus, for example, doctors switched to providing remote consultations over the phone or via video call. Indeed, before coronavirus, only 5% of GP surgeries were able to offer virtual consultations, compared to 88% during the pandemic.
Digital technology has also enabled GPs to send prescriptions straight to the pharmacist, keeping everything digital and eliminating the paper-based middle step in receiving a diagnosis and collecting medication. Electronic signatures no doubt play an important role in this process too, allowing GPs to electronically sign prescriptions without having to print and scan.
It’s fair to say that technology has enabled large parts of the economy open during the pandemic. With all non-essential businesses forced to close their doors, remote working became a way for businesses to continue operating, oftentimes, business as usual. There’s no denying that technology has empowered both businesses and employees to continue working productively from home, harnessing cloud technology to access shared files and apps, as well as using collaborative software such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom to work together and communicate effectively.
As most individuals working from home don’t have access to a printer or scanner, electronic signatures such as E-Sign have also played a large role in this sustained productivity, allowing businesses to continue signing, sending and collecting signatures from clients despite the restrictions and limitations of the pandemic.
Even as coronavirus restrictions begin to lift, there’s a good chance that some, if not all, of these digital practices will be here to stay. Businesses across the country will no doubt have recognised the overall benefits of adopting digital technology, and will most likely keep, if not further expand on these elements in the future, incorporating the gains made during coronavirus into their long-term digital strategy.
If your business is looking to keep up with the changing times, get in touch with E-Sign today. our digital solutions are designed to optimise your document processes and improve productivity, ensuring your business is ready to embrace its digital future.
E-Sign is a leading provider of digital transaction management solutions, supplying professional services including Electronic Signatures, Web Forms, ID Checker, Verification Tools, Personalised Emails, API and Payment Processing to businesses of all sizes across the UK.
To find out more about our E-Sign solutions and how they could transform your business, get in touch with us today.