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The Paradigm Shift from F2F to remote communication during COVID-19

The Paradigm Shift from F2F to remote communication during COVID-19

Circa: Jurassic age

Picture a large meadow/forest/grassland. The Big Lizards, who ruled this planet, abound it. You see all sorts of them. Some of them are carnivores, sitting pretty at the top of the food chain. Many of them are herbivores adapting themselves to escape the jaws of the predators. Some of them, I kid you not, is flying. Life is thriving, all is well.

There comes a great ball of fire from the sky, a meteor strike, and the once invincible Big Lizards suddenly become extinct.

Conventional Modes of Communication = Dinosaurs

COVID-19 was the meteor

This Chinese Virus has completely changed the way we used to communicate with our colleagues, counterparts, and clients. While organizations were fiddling with remote working but this disruption forced us to adapt or perish.

There was always a push to use technology to meet people overseas. Expensive modes like WebEx, which were available to a select few in an organization, were being replaced with tools like Skype and Teams. Local communication was mostly Face to Face, and that is how we liked it. Couldn’t happen any other way. Or so we thought.

In countries like India, where internet penetration has been spectacular in the last five years, thanks to the cheap availability of data, this virus strike was the catalyst to let lose an idea whose time has arrived.
Almost all the companies were more than happy to compensate for the internet charges that the employee was bearing. On top of it, many companies also extended benefits like covering charges for home office set up to ensure work is not impacted by the change in environment.

Many companies also rolled out online courses to employees for effective digital communication.

With all this, our communication with our colleagues in the local office went through a sea change. We are now talking on Skype or Teams, discussing projects, procedures, work, and everything that we discussed during our office hours. On days, when we thought we looked good, we even had a video call. It took no time for people to warm up to this disruption.

People are now evolving digital sensitivities. Pre-COVID, most office communication was impromptu, where one colleague walks up to another and the discussion ensues. Now we are more sensitive to the digital availability of our colleagues. This has made the process more taut and efficient.

You must be thinking, good riddance to office chatter and gossip. Think again. It is going nowhere.
Thanks to technology, even the gossip is now safe and efficient 😊, but I will, at any day love to pick up a coffee mug and gossip with my office colleague near the water dispenser.

Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belongs solely to the author, and not necessarily reflect the author's employer, organization, committee, or other group or individual.

Abhishek-joshi photo

Name: Dr Abhishek Joshi
Designation: Senior Tech Lead, CDM
Company Name: Cytel Statistical Software and Services Pvt Ltd.