Tech lessons we can draw from global virus crisis

Virtual workplace
Virtual workplaces will save us a lot of pain when a pandemic explode. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Coronavirus has fundamentally disrupted our way of life the way we know it. It has been very difficult for everybody in the last few weeks, especially in countries where the pandemic has hit hardest.

The devastation of this disease is beginning to be felt here at home. Schools have closed as businesses brace for tougher times with calls to work from home growing urgent and louder. The economy is already experiencing slowdown with the stocks market going through unprecedented pressure. Some investors are already calling on the government to act to save the economy from imminent collapse.

As we take extra health caution to ensure the spread of the pandemic is kept at a minimum as possible, it is also time to think about how the economic impact of such pandemics can be mitigated. A healthy economy means livelihoods, and its collapse is bound to bring about its own pain that could be felt for years.

Working from home is currently the clarion call. However, the question is how many of our jobs can be done remotely.

Companies, organisations, and institutions that have adopted technology and embraced an integrated approach to their operations will be comparatively less affected by coronavirus.


Workers of such forward looking entities will be able to work seamlessly from home. Well for some, production will not be as robust as when they work from under one roof, but they will be able to assuage losses better than their mostly analogue counterparts.

Firms, institutions and even governments that have been slow to digitise their operations and still work in rigid and compartmentalised models of operations, will feel the impact far harder than those who have made great progress in application of new advances in technology.

Educational institutions will face the same challenges too. Learning in most primary and secondary schools is largely manual and use of technology is at its infancy. Although there are a number of e-learning apps on offer, their uptake has been low, perhaps because there has not been an overarching need and urgency to use them. But the moment of reckoning has arrived as coronavirus wreaks havoc across the globe.

Some colleges and universities have been quick to adopt technology, while others have not seen an urgent need to do so. How disruptive the pandemic in these institutions thus depend on how tech-savvy, or otherwise, they are. Those that lag behind in adopting e-learning will certainly find their operations largely paralysed, and they will regret why they were not fast enough in the race to the digital world.

Once the pandemics has been subdued, and we pray that is pretty soon, there will plenty of lessons for businesses, governments and educational institutions alike.

Managers and leaders will be forced to re-strategise and come up with remedial measures that would keep their operations afloat in the event of coronavirus-like pandemic.

The secret will of course lies in using the available wide range of technologies to make our operations virtual. With current advances of technology, most of the work we do can be done without having to be in the brick and mortar offices.

Virtual workplaces will save us a lot of pain when a pandemic explode. Kenyans will be able to comfortably work from, killing two birds with one stone; they will be able to stay safe from the disease, while keeping the economy, and more importantly, their livelihoods going.