Living in lockdown: How people are using technology to adapt

At the start of 2020, leaves were turned and we were armed with our new year’s resolutions. We never expected that by March we would be on lockdown by the government, only allowed to go out for essential items and to go to work if absolutely necessary. The impact of Covid-19 has been huge – not just health-wise, but economically. During this unprecedented time, people have quickly adapted to a remote way of work and play through the use of technology.

Non-essential shops, gyms, cafes and bars are closed. And, the police now have the power to fine people that are breaking the rules. The impact that this has had on our everyday way of lives is huge. Many people are unable to work or are working from home, others are self-isolating and all of us should be social distancing.

We’ve been stripped of many basic things we do to give our lives fulfilment – in aid of slowing down the spread of coronavirus and saving lives. Out of all of this, novel ways of doing the things we love have emerged through the use of technology, and people have quickly adapted themselves to this new way of living.

Let’s take a look at some of the trends that have emerged.

Working

During the government enforced lockdown many have shifted to working remotely. This shift has increased the use of video conferencing tools and other workplace applications – giving us some semblance of business as usual.

An article by The Economist noted: “The next few months are set to be a giant experiment in whether new technologies can allow successful mass remote working for employees, speeding up the reinvention of the office.”

Since the outbreak, Microsoft Teams saw an outstanding 500% increase in usage of meetings, calls and conferences in China. Zoom, another video conferencing tool, has had record levels of usage.

Slack, which allows staff to communicate easily via a chat application, has seen a 40% increase in paid subscribers this quarter.

Above all, communication is key.

Propmodo highlighted the importance of tenant experience apps particularly at a time when we’re staying at home and connecting with employees/tenants is paramount.

A workplace experience app can connect users, keep employees informed in real-time and be a great base for everything work-related, from articles to company events. It can be utilised to keep a remote workforce connected, increase wellness and build a sense of community. And, to keep them informed of the latest Covid-19 workplace guidelines.

The question now is, will work ever be the same?

In an article by Buzzfeed, Jennifer Christie, Twitter’s head of human resources said: “People who were reticent to work remotely will find that they really thrive that way. Managers who didn’t think they could manage teams that were remote will have a different perspective. I do think we won’t go back.”

We may see a trend in more companies adopting their own app to engage employees, even after Covid-19 is over, due to the shifting attitudes to the way we work. Landlords will also need to consider a workplace experience app, to keep occupants informed and engaged and to implement safety features such as health checks on entry.

Exercising

With gyms and fitness centres closed many people are unable to maintain their usual fitness routines. This has triggered a rise of at-home workouts, with people turning to online classes to keep fit.

Peloton, offering live stream and on-demand workouts saw stocks rise by more than a fifth in just a couple of days, and are offering a 90 day free trial on their app.

Some fitness chains have sprung into action to offer lockdown-friendly online classes. PureGym announced the release of PureGym Home, a section of on-demand classes and at-home workouts available through the PureGym app for members.

Fly Ldn is offering free 45-minute yoga and Barre classes and Barry’s is offering free 30-minute full-body workouts both live via their Instagram feeds.

Celebrity nutrition coach Joe Wicks has been hosting free P.E. classes for kids on his YouTube channel, live at 9 am Mondays to Fridays. On his website, Joe said: “With the schools closed and with us all spending more time at home, it’s more important than ever that we keep moving and stay healthy and positive.” His first class has had almost 5 million views on Youtube.

Wellness

Wellness and looking after our mental health particularly at this time is paramount. With all of us spending a lot more time at home, people have been adopting technology to help aid them wellness and self-care routines.
Meditation and mindfulness apps have had a surge in downloads since the outbreak of coronavirus.

Calm is ranked seventh on the Apple App store’s list of free health and fitness apps, and offers guided meditation and help with sleep.

Guided meditation app Headspace is offering healthcare professionals free use of their premium content until the end of April.Woman meditating in bedroom

Many people have also been turning to online resources for mental health. The NHS has compiled a great list of their top tips for looking after your wellbeing while staying at home.

To look after your wellbeing and mental health, it’s best to source trustworthy information. The gov.uk website has a lot of useful information and the latest updates on coronavirus. Full Fact is a UK based charity that fact-checks news and media information. It’s a great place to go to check information and to ensure you don’t get sucked in by clickbait, which can cause unnecessary worry.

Socialising

With in-person social interactions out of the window, for now, people have been utilising technology to socialise with their peers.

Topping the charts on the App Store in 17 countries including the UK is Houseparty, a group video chat platform that connects users with their friends. Houseparty allows for spontaneous gatherings, by sending friends a notification when you’re on the app. Last week Houseparty was downloaded 2 million times. The app also offers in-app games and screen-sharing functionalities.

Quirky online social interactions are being adopted, such as virtual pub quizzes and club nights.
The Living Room Pub Quiz by Big Drop Brewing company had over 4000 teams watching the live stream.
Shopping

Supermarkets have had to deal with a surge of people stock-piling products amid the panic of the pandemic. Toilet paper, pasta and cleaning products were among the most popular items to go first.

With many supermarket shelves bare, non-essential shops closed and many people self-isolating, online shopping has completely blown up.

Amazon will be hiring 100,000 additional staff to deal with the increase in demand.

As well as our essentials, board games, yeast and books are among some of the most popular items people are purchasing. Waterstones saw a 400% increase in online sales and Hasbro shares have soared since the outbreak.

Consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow reportedly said: “People are currently purchasing items based on three needs: to protect, to entertain and to connect.”

Technology as an enabler

Older man on video call on iPhoneTechnology has been fundamental in allowing people to do the things they love remotely; from online fitness classes to socialising with friends. But, technology isn’t always enough. At District, we strongly believe that technology is an enabler, a layer to remove friction from our everyday lives.

Whether you’re using Uber, CityMapper or Google Maps, technology makes it seamless to travel to meet friends or get home after a night out. Technology reminds you of those important anniversaries and birthdays at the ping of a push notification. Technology allows you to organise your next big meet-up with family through group chats.

 

District Tech is a leading provider of workplace experience software, offering both plug & play and completely white-labelled apps. Our brand new Covid-Secure Workplace features can help to optimise the workplace and helps ease employees’ and tenants’ concerns about returning to their offices and shared spaces post-Covid 19.

Get in touch to start your journey with District, optimising your tenant and employee experiences.

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