Business News Thoughts

Turning to technology in a time of national crisis

Like many countries around the world, South Africa has entered a total shutdown for at least the next several weeks to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact on business, irrespective of industry or company size, will be far-reaching. But what would have been devastating a few years ago is mitigated through technology such as the Hey Jude service, which better equips organisations to look after the wellbeing of their employees.

Adrian Zanetti, director at Hey Jude, says: “Companies are understandably concerned about the long-term consequences of COVID-19 on operations. This extends beyond the financial, to include the human component as well. Our current situation is something nobody could have prepared for and managing the morale of employees will be critical in these uncertain times.” 

With remote working becoming a reality for many over the short-term, decision-makers must evaluate how to leverage technology to maintain a semblance of normality during work hours. Keeping staff motivated and functioning during this crisis will be vital to ensure the business minimises the financial strain the shutdown will have.

“Fortunately, South Africa is a mobile-centric country with smartphones and tablets virtually ubiquitous. This means companies can use innovative technology to optimise efficiencies and minimise any potential downtime. If COVID-19 has shown us anything, it’s that there must be more of a balance between our work and personal lives. Having people work remotely will put this even more in the spotlight, hence the need to find services to help manage our time more effectively,” says Zanetti.

One such service is Hey Jude. Featuring a user-friendly interface, Hey Jude is the world’s first human-powered digital assistant. The service is manned by a team of human “Judes” who use technology, customer-rated suppliers, and a global database to get things done for members.

“By giving employees access to such a powerful solution that offers them anything they need, companies can more pro-actively manage this current crisis and help eliminate some of the stress of everyday living. For example, Hey Jude facilitates grocery deliveries, provides remote learning options for staff, and even offers travel advice. Essentially, it integrates everything we do in our work and personal lives in a centralised location,” says Zanetti.

Having access to this experience will show employees that the companies they work for view them as more than just resources to tick boxes. It is about enhancing current corporate wellness benefits with a digital approach that reflects the immediate needs people have during this shutdown.

“When this crisis is over, employees will take time to reflect on how their organisations managed the issues at hand. Those companies that treated their staff poorly or did not provide them with peace of mind, might suffer even longer-term losses as they may very well have to deal with high employee churn,” concludes Zanetti.

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