Learning to live in a virtual world

The concept of the world as a global village has been around for a couple of decades now. It started when internet connectivity and telecommunications became the digital backbone of business and economy, driving growth worldwide. Companies and organisations used the power of the internet to unlock value and create virtual links between customers, companies, employees and all other stakeholders. The ecommerce revolution too happened as millions of customers came to know about the comforts and conveniences of anytime, anywhere shopping. The new era of entrepreneurs capitalising on this trend created companies like Amazon and Ebay. Social media too happened. The growth in these categories was exponential as users got addicted in large numbers. 

It was sometime around this that the European Union was formed. This was in a sense, a reflection of the part of the larger global movement of digital integration that was happening across the globe. Like the internet connectivity and telecom revolution, the EU too was creating a large interconnected network allowing people to interact, travel and work with considerable freedom. 

Additionally, countries across the world were becoming more open economies. China and India are prime examples. Therefore, cultural, economic, business and personal interactions were happening all over the world in a way that had never happened before. The world truly had become a global village. 

However, this ‘global village’ theory seemed to be on the verge of collapsing. There were many factors for the same. Geopolitical pressures across regions let to the erosion of the idea of the global village. Visible fractures of the global village idea showed in several situations – regional conflicts, Arab spring, and Britain exit from EU among others. 

And the COVID 19 pandemic seemed to shatter this notion completely. It has created a lockdown of epic proportions, across countries and continents. Travel has been stopped, trade has halted and millions of businesses worldwide have come to grinding halt. Besides businesses, schools, government organisations and NGO’s too have either curtailed services or shut down. But they have shut down only their physical presence. However, a huge number of organisations are showing a surprising resilience. Using technology and virtual tools, they are carrying out work, overcoming the challenge of the lockdown. Some are doing it better than before.  Technology has come to the rescue allowing organisations to use new collaborative working processes and virtual team working.  

Millions of people have now shifted their entire activity online – virtual story telling classes, virtual dancing sessions, virtual business meetings and virtual play. Schools have started teaching students with virtual classes and a peek into any home can show an amusing sight. The father, a business man busy on his laptop conferencing with customers, the mother a teacher, creating and sharing videos to her students via mobile phone and tiny tot children logging into the schools website to study from their teacher. And the entire family would also be communicating with family members across the country with WatsApp messages and video calls. Video and audio conferencing platforms, digital collaboration work platforms and digital learning platforms are being used to not only maximise remote work productivity, but also to connect to family members, and even order essential supplies for the household. Virtual games, virtual work, virtual socialising, virtual order of supplies, virtual aids for prayer, all of these and more are being done across cities, countries and time zones. People have come together as never before, using virtual communication tools, interacting with each other at the click of a button. The global village it seems, has become much smaller. 

Due to the lockdown, social distancing and working from home have become imperative in this situation. As a progressive organisation, we took a bold step on 18 March 2020 towards supporting our community safety by testing remote working options and we set in motion multiple protocols for those who needed to opt for work from home. Our technology and infrastructure ensured that we are able to effectively serve clients through work-by-wire. We have been able to transition to the virtual working environment successfully and have kept all our stakeholders engaged and been able to provide all deliverables to our clients on time. 

In the last 10 days, I am learning to reset the button and work around the clock in a virtual world, and ensure that our team is connected with our clients and is able to deliver desirable results. 

I have always followed the credo of work hard and play hard, and I and my fellow Cosocians continue to do so – virtually. After all, all of us are learning to live in the new virtual world.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Deepak Jolly
Deepak Jolly, Founder, Consocia Advisory is a leading Corporate Affairs & Communications, Sales & Marketing professional with a career spanning over 34 years across top Multinational companies. He is widely recognized as an industry leader in Policy Advocacy, Crisis Management, Reputation Management, Stakeholder Engagement as well as Sustainability and Marketing programs.

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