We have found ourselves in an unprecedented and unfathomable 20th century global health crisis, which has devastated the lives of millions of people all around the world. As death tolls continue rise, social distancing remains at the forefront of the battle against Covid-19, which means ‘people who never expected – nor ever wanted – to use digital technology to communicate or work now must’. For each unique business in Australia, whether you are a small business owner, insurer, property manager or huge retailer, we must continue to improve, develop and adapt our digital literacy skills in order to endure the consequences of this crisis, and eventually return to running profitable businesses. But developing these skills is often easier said than done.
Think way back to when you bought your first ever computer. Remember how you tried tirelessly to work out how to use the bloody thing? Those who remember when the internet came to fruition the early 90’s will also remember the difficulties faced whilst attempting to use it. The longwinded processing times, the windows errors, the viruses, that dial up tone! Many of us now, likely including some of your employees feel like we did back then, unskilled and unprepared with all of the difficulties associated with change. We are seeing, for the first time, whole companies having to work from home. This is why it is crucial to ensure that each and every employee has sound digital literacy skills.
Providing orientation and technical training to your employees when they first is important, but ensuring they are prepared to work from home during a pandemic is another thing entirely. For example, your employee who has been able to print out and fill out forms for the last 25 years now needs to learn how to edit PDF documents including how to redact, digitally sign and copy them, all on their own computer. Your employee who has never used video chat is now having to conduct entire client meetings using Zoom, sharing their screen and creating work groups, all whilst trying to give a presentation.
Proclaim have approached this task in a few different ways. In the lead up to the lockdown we took a very pr
oactive approach and firstly ensured that each and every employee had access to the technologies they needed to work from home such as an internet connection and a computer. We then tested every employee set up and ensured it worked and assisted those employees who lacked access/ needed further assistance. Proclaim also ensured that each employee has direct access to the IT team who were there to support each employee at any time.
Different teams at Proclaim approached training differently based on the digital literacy needs of the particular team. Personally being from the Corporate team, we have quite a high rate of digital literacy, but we still test ran Zoom a few times to ensure we all could access it effectively and then set up daily Zoom meetings to keep up to date with each other and air any concerns we may have. The corporate team also has a wide range of clients of which all have different platforms to conduct meetings. For each client with a different platform we had training sessions to ensure that we were all capable and equipped to ensure that each meeting runs as smoothly as possible.
Don’t let your employees, and consequentially your business fall behind because of a lack of digital literacy.
Reach out to your employees, provide the necessary training and ensure that everyone is as digitally enabled as possible to be able to thrive at home and meet those targets and deadlines. We can all get through this difficult period by supporting, empowering and helping one another, and in doing so, we can come out the other end even more digitally skilled than ever before.
By Holly Walker, Corporate Account Manager
 Katie Bishop, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/apr/24/remote-learning-classroom-technology-coronavirus.