For many of us, virtualizing or “Zooming” through our daily work has become the new normal. The very nature of what we do—from the C-suite to the classroom and medical visits—requires person-to-person contact, even if it’s via webcam. Right now at least, only 30% of us get to work from home, which is a devastating blow to our society. Just witness the growing unemployment numbers.
There are ways more businesses and organizations can adapt and virtualize. We have no choice. The coronavirus has caused a seismic shift in industries across the board. So, we must take a wider, holistic approach to understand how we can use online tools and our own innovative capabilities to stay connected, productive, and hopefully recover our businesses.
Because so many people have smartphones, computers, and tablets, the infrastructure is already there in many ways. Reaching out to people, wherever they are, has never been easier. And there’s a silver lining in all this: Physically connecting with someone actually takes a lot of time, emissions, and energy when most of what is accomplished in a meeting can happen over Slack or a Zoom call. The time you save and how much more you can get done in a day may surprise you.
Here are seven industries that already are, or should be, Zoomifying:
- Exercise Businesses: Many yoga studios, gyms, and HIIT classes are offering online classes via videoconferencing. Expect great growth here. Create Facebook Events and calendar reminders, including easy ways to get paid for your great service.
- Food Establishments: Some of my favorite Seattle restaurants are now offering deals and speedy pickup orders via Swift, Yelp, or Google call. Highly innovative chefs are even offering online cooking classes and at-home menus. It’s not the same, but it’s something.
- Event Venues: Industry conventions can virtualize by giving TED Talk-like broadcasts and rich digital connections. Amazon, for instance, announced a 10- day event in which it will stream the movies entered in the virus-canceled SXSW film festival.
- Community Engagement: Everyone can find the community that matters to them online and engage with a concentrated, homebound group of people via Facebook, GitHub, Hackster (my thing), Dribbble, Reddit, and many other places.
- Education: Developing a stronger e-learning curriculum and keeping children engaged in a virtual hangout learning environment will become essential so that parents can work and maintain the home’s fiscal stability. Now is an opportunity for educators to develop more online coursework and even physical or artistic classes to keep kids engaged while parents are working.
- Physical Retail: Who has time to go to a mall anymore, anyway? Now retailers can offer 1-1 video chat using stylists in online stores and make the experience of shopping for just about anything very personable and fun. Forget annoying chatbots, and change the game with a smiling face that can help you pick the latest home gym equipment, kitchen appliance, lipstick, running shoes, etc.
- Manufacturing and Construction: These industries are hard-hit, no doubt. But there’s still an opportunity for remote group collaboration and data-driven productivity by using this time to work on 3D materials reviews, product sample reviews, and vendor quotes.
Being online provides an opportunity to scale that a lot of industries have not capitalized on, nor understood. Unless you work as an airline pilot, or for a construction company, etc., there is a lot that you can do to move your business offering online. And a push to digitize your content can even help you showcase your work via webcasts, recordings, podcasts, blogs, and more.
We have no choice but to adapt, and we’re all going to have to learn how to do life in a new way. The opportunity is we can master remote working, conferencing, and digital and media tools like never before and get really good at it. These new skills are going to come in handy well after this crisis has passed and usher in a new era of effective workplace practices for the future.
A virtual connection will become the lifeblood of companies and the faster an enterprise accepts and adjusts to this fact, the more opportunity there is to get in front of the changes that are here to stay.