Global pandemic accelerating the transition into the 4th Industrial Revolution

By Ntombifuthi Sangweni

In recent years so much has been said about the 4th Industrial Revolution, but no one would have guessed its use or relevance will be motivated by a disruptive virus.

February was supposed to be my last, but exciting moment, at the Academy as I was about to embark on a new journey of the world of work in a reputable company. Few weeks into the job, COVID-19 cases increased in South Africa and later a lockdown was imposed. With all the chaos going on, I was forced to work remotely with no direct supervision or guidance as a learner. One would ask whether this is doable, yes it is- and I believe that as much as this virus has caused disruptions, it has given way to a whole new world that is more tech orientated and we should all be ready for it.

I remember one morning, I came in the office and half of the staff members were not there. I was anxious and felt like my future was about to get robbed by this virus. No one knew what was going to happen next, or how long the virus was going to continue spreading. I was instantly advised to go home as the managers were coming up with ways to curb the panic and still continue to have productivity within the company.

I stayed at home for about a week, stressed and uncertain about what was going to happen next. Fortunately, on a Friday afternoon, I was called into the office to pick up my laptop, download the required software and organise an internet connection so that I would be able to work from home. I was excited and thrilled because I thought that I had lost my job. I was also nervous because I had never worked remotely before.

The transition has been smooth, all the devices that I am using are working well. I’ve been using multiple devices such as laptops and cellphones. I’ve also made use of social media platforms to keep in contact with colleagues. The only challenge I am experiencing is discipline. Making sure that I wake up on time for my morning meetings, as well as finding a space in my home where I can work without being disrupted by family members. Because of the lockdown, everyone is home.

Corporate learning- in times of global crisis- has been made easier by the role of technology in ensuring that we can stay connected and are able to keep chasing our dreams. I believe that this approach of remote working- as being implemented by a lot of companies around the world- will redefine the workspace. It will offer a lot of people the flexibility to work from the comfort of their own homes and anywhere in the world, without being physically present. There will be enormous benefits, such as less traffic on the roads, inturn reducing air pollution. It is therefore, up to young people to influence change and encourage others to pursue careers of the future. The world is rapidly changing and- with no doubt, the future is tech.



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