We are at quite a crossroads of change right now in the world. With the worldwide impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic lockdown, many workplaces, businesses and services were pushed online as a response. From an increase in e-commerce and virtual experiences, to work-from-home mandates, businesses were quick to adapt wherever possible. But will things go back to “normal” any time soon?
While the current situation may have accelerated these changes, the shift to virtual business was already well underway before hand. For example, with the increased use of laptops and online meetings via platforms like Zoom, Google Hangouts and Skype, remote work and freelance opportunities have been on the rise for years offering people freedom from the 9-5 office grind. Flexible hours and work-from-home policies had also become standard for many employers prior to the pandemic. And for service industries like food and drink, this current shift has many realizing the benefits of E-commerce — convenient options like food curb-side pickup and online shopping for alcohol aren’t likely to go anywhere as we advance into the new normal.
Many Canadians are embracing this shift now, and it’s time. The Toronto Star reports that “history, small and medium-sized Canadian businesses have been particularly slow in getting online. A report last summer from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) found that only four in 10 had an online presence where they could receive and fulfil orders.” Now, it seems we’re more prepared as a country to embrace the benefits of modern workplaces and virtual business.
For example, in May Ottawa-based e-commerce star Shopify announced its plans to become “digital by default.” CEO Tobi Lütke tweeted that Shopify’s offices will be closed until next year, but that even so, many of their 5,000 employees will permanently work remotely. And outside of Canada, companies like Square and Twitter have announced they’re working from home forever too.
Events are also shifting to an online model. Our 20-year-old company, The Chef Group, with two decades of experience in cooking classes, went virtual with the birth of ChefTorial in March. Companies like Trellis are creating new fundraising solutions in a virtual format. All over the world, conferences, social gatherings and more have adapted.
While we’re all still getting used to being in our homes more, there are some definite benefits to these changes. Here are some benefits of the switch to virtual that we love:
Connecting Worldwide: One of the most obvious advantages of online platforms for both business and events is the ability to connect with people from around the world. Virtual meetings make it possible to work from wherever you want. Online events, conferences, fundraisers, etc. make it easy to invite folks from all over, instead of just people in your area. Your community gets much bigger when things move online.
Saving Money and Time, Gaining Freedom: With the commute to work eliminated, you’ll save both money and time. And even if you want to get out of the house, as things begin to open up you may choose to work from a coffee shop or coworking space to mix up your day. Virtual events are also cheaper than attending workshops, conferences, etc. (thanks to the cost cuts), making it more accessible than ever to network, learn new skills and enjoy yourself on a budget.
What do you think about the shift to virtual? Have you enjoyed the benefits of working from home or attending virtual events? It’s quite a change to the way things are done, but at ChefTorial we are embracing the shift with open arms. Will you join us?