Necessity is the mother of invention as the old saying goes, and our inventiveness during this economic downturn has led to modernization of a lot of processes and industries. The Great Depression brought inventions like the chocolate chip cookie, electric razors, and car radios, so what great advancements will come out of the current economic downturn?
The Work From Home Revolution
For years workers have been clamoring for work from home options. While the United States has officially been in a recession since June, companies that sent their workforce home to continue to do work are keeping the economy chugging along.
Since the advent of the internet, everyone from working parents to disability advocates have been asking for flexible work arrangements. For working parents, being able to be home when the bus comes reduces the need for before and after school care and leads to fewer days off because of sick children. It makes working fit a worker’s lifestyle instead of trying to make a worker fit into a company’s rigid expectations. What’s more, people who work from home report greater work/life balance and feel more energetic about and engaged with their work.
For disability advocates, work from home arrangements are an opportunity to have reasonable accommodations made in the workplace. Think about the difficulty of finding a job that is a good fit for your skills and needs – even under the best circumstances it’s a challenge. Now imagine you find the perfect job but the bathroom isn’t accessible or your desk won’t accommodate your needs or it’s an open concept office and you have ADHD or an auditory processing disorder.
Finding an appropriate job under such circumstances becomes impossible, and working from home is a great solution. Now that we have seen that most jobs can be done remotely, it will open doors to greater employment opportunities for those in the disability community.
So what does all this have to do with the economy? Because remote work has kept the economy going, it’s likely that this is going to be the exact mechanism that kicks off our ascent out of the economic recession. We have the technology to lean in to remote work and get the economy strengthened and ready to recover if we would just use it.
How Tech Is Aiding Work From Home
Have you tried to buy any piece of computer or communications equipment lately? It’s sold out across the board at almost every retailer. Home office tech sales are increasing rapidly:
- 400% increase in Chromebook sales
- 179% increase in webcam sales
- 138% increase in monitor sales
- 134% increase in headset sales
- 64% increase in keyboard sales
In addition to equipping home offices with the hardware that is needed to keep the work from home boom going, use of software and apps is also growing rapidly. People are communicating differently, which has meant greater reliance on apps like Slack and Zoom has grown. Even cloud-based enterprise software like the G Suite, which allows workers cloud-based access to spreadsheets, documents, slideshare, and more has gained 1 million paying businesses in February alone.
Microsoft got their start in the oil crisis of the 1970s, and today they are one of the two largest companies in the United States. Part of their success was because they offered services businesses needed to rebrand and rebound from economic instability.
During the Great Recession of the early 2000s, companies like AirBNB, Uber, Groupon, and WhatsApp were invented to serve a need, which was to extend needed services to people who were suddenly struggling to make ends meet because of a recession.
Innovation Is The Way Forward
We’ve all heard the saying that we can’t get out of a mess by using the same thinking we used to get us into that mess. The same goes for the economic recovery. If you are waiting for things to go “back to normal”, you’re going to be waiting forever. It’s time to realize the economy is going to have to modernize in order to bounce back. Working from home and the technological advances in the digital workplace are a key component of the economic recovery. Learn more about how tech will aid in the economic recovery from the infographic below.
Like this Article? Subscribe to Our Feed!
Author: Brian Wallace
Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency based in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies that range from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian also runs #LinkedInLocal events nationwide, and hosts the Next Action Podcast. Brian has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-present and joined the SXSW Advisory Board in 2019.