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How the COVID-19 Pandemic Will Impact Technology for Remote Workers

Remote work is certainly nothing new. In the past 15 years, the number of remote employees in the U.S. has grown 159%. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and government mandated social distancing have dramatically hastened the upward trend. With over half the country ordered to stay home, employers are scrambling to transition as many jobs as possible out of the workplace. While it’s unclear how long the country will be expected to practice social distancing, it’s very likely that even after the pandemic dies down many employees will not be going back to the physical workplace.

For many businesses, the upfront cost in time and technology has been the biggest barrier to going remote, but now that they have been forced to quickly clear that hurdle there’s plenty of incentive for employers to adopt the policy as the “new normal”. From a financial standpoint, many companies currently spend between 10 to 15% of their revenue on rent. With a permanent switch to remote operations or even just a significant reduction of office staff, companies could see huge savings in the long run. If that weren’t enough of a reason, from an employee retention stand-point, as many as 80% of job seekers say they would choose a job with a remote work option if all else were equal.

While the specifics of what’s required to go remote vary wildly from one business to another, for just about everyone it means purchasing some new applications and physical hardware. Read on to learn what the COVID-19 pandemic will mean for a lot of different sectors in the tech industry.

IoT Enabled Devices Will Help Manufacturing Go Remote

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic the IoT market was projected to hit 1.6 trillion dollars by 2025. For the general consumer, IoT devices allow for more seamless control over nearly everything in your life. From your refrigerator and coffee machine, to your thermostat–if it has electricity it can be networked. Even cities rely on IoT devices to reduce costs, save energy, and optimize efficiency. For businesses, they offer huge savings. Manufacturers have embraced IoT devices for years to streamline equipment repairs, which saves money on labor costs and minimizes downtime. Not to mention, it drastically improves the usable life of the equipment involved.

While manufacturing is an essential industry and much of the workforce can’t be sent home anytime soon, there is ample motivation for companies to reduce as much of their in-person workforce as possible. Severe supply chain disruptions have impacted almost 75% of US companies. Even after the pandemic has subsided and social distancing comes to an end, many companies estimate it will take between three and six months for manufacturing to return to normal. Big businesses all over the world are planning on how to minimize disruptions should another pandemic of this scale occur sometime in the future. IoT enabled sensors when coupled with cloud storage solutions will allow manufacturers to reduce more of their in-person workforce by enabling remote machine monitoring. The more that manufacturers are able to minimize a human presence the less likely it is that the workers who do remain at the physical locations will get sick.

Headphones, Microphones, Cameras, Cloud Storage, and High-Speed Internet are Essential

As millions of office workers are forced to work from home, meetings that once took place in the board room will now be conducted in many people’s bedrooms. Utilizing applications like Zoom, Uber Conference, and Skype, employees are able to conduct wireless conference calls from just about anywhere in the world. While the convenience this offers is great, many people are now coming to terms with the fact that their ten-year-old laptop’s web camera doesn’t make them look their best for important client meetings. Plus, with mass school cancellations sweeping the nation, noise cancelling headphones must be pretty appealing to many parents working at home.

For business leaders it’s essential to invest in efficient and user-friendly cloud storage solutions to allow teams of workers to seamlessly access and share files and data. And both business owners and employees alike are having to consider whether or not their home WiFi needs an upgrade. While many projections estimate that the end of social distancing may take longer than initially thought, both employers and employees will have to make some investments in remote tech now to maintain a continuation of business operations in the near future.

Workers are Able to Learn More Than Ever on the Internet

Thanks to sites like Skillshare, Masterclass, Udacity, and Teachable, the general public have been able to learn a wide variety of skills from the comfort of their own home. There is even a ton of valuable content for free on YouTube. Now, as we’re all pushed even more onto the digital world, a plethora of resources are opening up in nearly every subject matter. LinkedIn is offering a variety of free classes to help remote workers make the transition. You can learn a wide variety of technical skills with guided webinars or pre-recorded videos. From welding to carpentry, and even virtual reality language classes designed for the Oculus system. And with both colleges and public schools all over the country finishing the semester online it’s clear we’re about to see a complete overhaul in the education system.

Of course, the production, assembly, and integration of all the remote tech that’s about to flood the market will likely require soldering skills and electronic inspection. To meet the increasing demand for these skills and to do our part during this challenging time EPTAC has expanded our IPC certification programs to include eTraining options and remote proctoring for certification and recertification courses. In addition to our classroom and onsite training programs, you can enjoy the convenience of online training with live interaction and instruction from EPTAC’s Master Instructors.

About EPTAC

For over 30 years, EPTAC has been a leading provider of solder training and IPC certification. We provide professionals with the tools and training they need to advance their careers and improve their businesses. With 19 locations across North America, our solutions and instructional staff provide easy access to knowledge that will enhance your business model and help you meet and exceed industry demands. For more information call 800.643.7822 or contact us.