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Keeping Up With the Times: The Technology Industry’s Response to COVID-19

Tech-Giants Keeping Up With the Times: The Technology Industry’s Response to COVID-19

In the whirlwind of the last few weeks, the world has turned to the digital side of things for solace. Working from home has only been possible through the use of technology such as video calls, data sharing, and the cloud. But how has the tech industry responded to help cope with COVID-19 and working from home? We’re here to tell you. Keep reading for the latest updates on how the tech industry has given back. 

Local Technology Companies 

With relatively smaller tech companies, such as ourselves, we’ve found people dedicated to giving back in this time of need. Although most small businesses across the world are taking a large hit due to this unprecedented and unexpected catastrophe, they have made it a priority to put their employees and local community above their own needs. Whether creating internal agendas donating to local COVID-19 relief groups or organizations such as the Vancouver Food Bank, smaller communities are dedicated to providing help as best they can. Here at Optimus we have been doing the same. While still working from home and putting the health and safety of the community that we live in first, we have raised money for the Food Banks of Canada, the donations of the employees matched by the company itself. So far we have been able to raise over $8500! 

Interested in making your own contribution to the city of Vancouver in this time of need? Look no further, click here to view the ways that you can give back. 

Tech Giants and their Massive Impact

The tech giants that are at the forefront of innovation right now have put a lot of their projects on hold like the rest of us to help in the times of the COVID-19 crisis. Not only monetarily, although that is a significant portion of their contributions, but also by cushioning the economy after this is all over through expanding the job space by tens of thousands. Amazon has created 10, 000 new jobs and other companies are following suit. Apple has donated 10 million masks to healthcare facilities and are still paying their hourly workers as they would have regularly. Amazon, Cisco, Google and more are all contributing as well. Google, a well known search platform as we all are aware, is creating a website specifically for COVID-19 education and awareness, and Cisco has committed $225 million towards awareness and reparation as well. 

Responding to Demands 

For those of us who have the luxury of working from home, it hasn’t been smooth sailing. Increased distractions, lack of space, and feelings of isolation are just a few of the barriers to overcome (for more information on how you can stay productive while working from home, click here). But what about the companies who are providing us with services that make our remote work possible? Our reliance on the cloud now is higher than ever. Suddenly, cloud computing resources are at the forefront of essential infrastructure, allowing the government and health organizations to spread important information, allowing coworkers to stay connected, and keeping people in touch with their loved ones. What toll is this taking on the cloud giants? COVID-19 is “stress-testing” cloud service providers, pushing infrastructure to its limits. As well as this, the crisis has exposed the flaws and areas of improvement needed in infrastructure, testing how far companies can stretch before they break. Microsoft has reported a 775% spike in cloud services demand due to COVID-19, and other providers are stating similar stories. It’s clear that some of these cloud giants will have to come up with new business strategies to keep up with what the world needs right now: connection. 

Expansion and Creation of Apps

With this pandemic as well as tensions on the rise, many people are turning to technology as a form of entertainment while they stay indoors. Because of this, we’re seeing a boom in the creation and expansion of entertaining apps whether that be video games or extensions/plug-ins for your devices that allow you to connect with people regardless of their location. A few noteworthy examples that we would include in this list are Netflix Party (a Google Chrome extension that allows multiple users to watch the same movie in real time), and House Party (an application that allows users to join and exit different conversations with friends over video in real time, almost like they’re entering and exiting rooms in a house). Aside from the entertainment sector, we’re also seeing a spike in the availability of online courses as well as programs. Many tech companies are offering free or reduced rates for their services. Microsoft is a leading example of this as they are offering Microsoft Teams, an application that allows coworkers to collaborate through audio and video calls, for free. 

This is a scary time. We’re not going to dissuade you of that fact. But in the face of uncertainty, we encourage you to look at the tech giants, and take advantage of the resources that so many companies are providing, while giving back to your own clients as well. We hope that you and your families are staying safe and healthy, not to mention connected through some of the aforementioned services. 

 

Support For Our Community

COVID-19-Support-300x200 Support For Our Community

Small businesses and individuals around the world are feeling the negative effect COVID-19 has had on the economy. Here at Optimus, the health and safety of our employees and community remain our priority. We have encouraged our employees to stay positive and give back to the community where they can. We started a donation program where every dollar donated by an Optimus employee will be matched by the company itself. Our employees actively participated in this donation program and we raised over $8500 collectively from our Vancouver and Noida offices. We then donated the amount to Food Banks of Canada and other local organizations and are continuing with this initiative.

 

Want to contribute? Here are some organizations you can donate to:

Food Bank

Canada Helps

WHO

Vancouver Foundation

Playing Pretend: How to Keep Productivity Levels Up While Working From Home

tea-cup-laptop-apple-7360-scaled-e1585866114401-300x177 Playing Pretend: How to Keep Productivity Levels Up While Working From Home

When you are used to working from the office, staying home and trying to meet deadlines can prove to be a challenge sometimes. Various industries have been affected by COVID-19 in different ways, some more detrimental than others. We at Optimus are lucky to have the luxury of mobility; we can work from home. But when sitting alone on the couch, with no coworkers in sight, how can we stay focussed? We have a simple, yet absurd solution. Play pretend. 

Dress to Impress

Stay with us, we know how strange it may sound. But just as important as brushing your teeth and washing your face before working from home, we encourage you to get dressed up as if you were going into the office. Not only does it hit “refresh” in your mind for a new day, it puts you in the headspace of work, rather than lounging around. Dress as if you could be “Skyped by a potential client at any moment” says an article from The Guardian. It’s not just about having other people there to view you in professional attire, it is about taking the same time to respect yourself and get into the right frame of mind as you would on a regular workday. Keeping up your routine is key. 

Working From Home ≠ Working In Bed

“Why does that cause an issue? I should be fine working from bed! Shouldn’t I be comfortable while working?” Firstly, agreed. Don’t set yourself up in a sharp nook of your home and expect your finest work. But do remember: you’re not at the office. That itself creates chaos in what would otherwise be a smooth sailing ship. It’s hard to feel like working when you are sprawled out in bed, or laying out on the sofa. Just a suggestion, but we’ve found it helps to sit up straight and reside at a desk during work hours to encourage the same routine you would have had at the office. And speaking of routine, it leads us to our next tip: keeping a scheduled day including breaks and team calls (to keep your sanity and stay connected). 

Schedule Your Day

Not being in the office means a lack of people to bounce ideas off of, or grab a quick lunch with between meetings. But it doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice some of these privileges completely. Why not schedule your day around outcomes, coming up with a daily goal to hit? And by laying your day out, and scheduling in some breaks for yourself, shoot your coworkers a calendar invite for a 15-minute brainstorm session, or maybe even a working lunch. Just because you are at home, doesn’t mean you have to isolate yourself from the office community; stay connected! But while staying connected, remember to keep boundaries between your work and personal life. Getting stuck working all the time because you can’t “turn off” or not working at all because you are watching TV, is not productive either. 

Be Careful of Isolation

When staying home, especially if you live by yourself, it can get lonely sometimes. Just as it’s important to stay connected and integrated with your office community, staying in touch with family and friends is a surefire way to keep yourself from feeling isolated. Text, video call, and email those who are1 near to your heart, or maybe reach out to some old friends. 

Distractions 

Finally, when working from home, it’s easier than ever to get distracted. Along with following the tips above, we encourage you not to get too caught up with the news. Staying informed is always important, don’t get us wrong. Listening to trusted resources and turning your TV on is good, but we would suggest not having the news channel on 24/7. Not only does it take away from your mindshare, it also may create a worrying atmosphere considering the state of the globe today: not conducive to a working environment. 

This pandemic has affected everyone, and we hope that you are staying home and healthy. But while staying home, we hope that these tips will help keep your productivity levels on the rise, without compromising your working environment.