Covid-19 a push for the 4th Industrial Revolution (41R):

By: Elisja van Niekerk (Winner of Woman in Technology, Woman of Stature Awards 2020).

Many conferences, concerts, events, university graduations, birthday parties and on-site meetings are getting cancelled not only in South Africa but around the world in an attempt to stop the spread of Covid-19. Aside from social gatherings getting cancelled many businesses are requesting employees to work remotely and schools and universities have closed.

The managers that lived by the “bums on seat at work” mentalities are now forced to learn how to manage their employees remotely and employees are forced to learn how to manage and juggle their “work-time” and “family-time” even with the kids at home.

4IR has been transforming the way we work. Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and 3D printing has been considered the leading edge of 4IR thus far, but with businesses now realising the benefits of remote working and forcing them to digitise their organisaional processes this view is rapidly going to change. Although South Africa is characterised by its inconsistent supply of electricity and low internet penetration, the impact of 4IR is being felt here just as much as anywhere else in the world. One of the impacts of 4IR relates to the tools that businesses use and create.

Some of the popular tools that businesses are turning to for remote work include “unified communication and collaboration platforms” like Microsoft Teams. Trello a project management tool which is a platform that help keep track of workflow and tasks via a tracking board system. Zoom a video conferencing tool. GitHub a software development tool and Google Drive a file management app.

Covid-19 is not only going to push South Africa into the 4IR faster but will also teach managers that their employees are happier and working more productively when working from home. In return employees will learn how to manage “work-time” and “family-time” when working from home and that they do not need to go to the office every day to be productive.

The impact of Covid-19 and 4IR will be felt across every brand but more importantly it will dramatically impact how and where we work in the future.