The ongoing development of present-day organizations is complicated by the spread of coronavirus infection. This factor has not only significantly damaged their financial indicators but also led to the need to establish the practice of telecommuting. For many companies, it became a challenge due to the previous lack of similar work modes. These measures implied the adoption of new technology and the acquisition of corresponding skills by employees. However, despite the fact that this trend is not new and was already discussed by scholars as digital transformation, its organizational impacts are still unclear. Therefore, this paper aims to examine the influence of COVID-19 on the adoption of technology in companies as well as assess its overall effectiveness. This objective will be addressed through a series of interviews conducted among the businesses which recently adopted this work mode with corresponding technological solutions and their workers.
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Keywords: COVID-19, coronavirus, telecommuting, technology, technological solutions.
The spread of coronavirus infection around the world has significantly influenced all areas of human life. It can be explicitly seen in present-day businesses, which emphasize the need to transform their daily operations in all aspects accordingly. One of such necessities is the establishment of the practice of telecommuting since people cannot leave their homes to go to the office. The challenge here is related to the fact that most companies did not have any similar options for their employees before COVID-19, and now the general success of their intentions in this direction is ambiguous (Dwivedi et al. 2020). Considering the necessity to readjust the efforts of businesses and take into account the unclear willingness of employees to cooperate with organizations, it is critical to propose an approach to adequately address the occurring challenges. The aim of the study is to assess the efficiency of the introduction of new telecommuting technological solutions to the workers in the context of the current crisis and its impact on the overall performance. It is complemented by the intention to suggest an optimal way of adopting new software for the companies.
In this case, the research objectives facilitating the achievement of the specified aim are:
- Analyzing the most popular software solution (Zoom) for telecommuting proposed by organizations;
- Identifying factors affecting the acceptance or non-acceptance of this solution by employees;
- Analyzing the impact of the used software on employee performance;
- Providing recommendations to companies developing and adopting telecommuting programs to increase the effectiveness of the new work mode with the use of Zoom.
Therefore, this paper aims to review the latest studies regarding the software used for telecommuting and analyze its impact on employees’ perceptions and the overall productivity of the present-day businesses adopting technological solutions.
The emergence of such an essential contextual factor as COVID-19 significantly influences the standard business practices and cannot be neglected by scholars studying this field. Their interest in the area is connected to the fact that organizations need to use technology more than ever, and some of them are not accustomed to it (Dwivedi et al. 2020). From this perspective, setting up the home environment for their employees is a priority (Dwivedi et al. 2020). According to the researchers, successful organizational transformation positively correlates with the adoption of an optimal technological solution by managers and workers at all levels (Dwivedi et al. 2020). In this way, the capability of the present-day companies to survive is directly connected to technology and, therefore, should be approached with caution.
This task is complicated by the presence of a variety of options as well as the lack of evidence regarding their suitability to different types of organizations and their goals. Hence, for the precision of the study outcome, it is reasonable to focus on a single solution adopted by all fields. It is clear that such digital platforms as Google are the common digital means of communication for employees (Dwivedi et al., 2020). However, they are not applicable to all businesses and do not contain the required features (Dwivedi et al., 2020). Meanwhile, the digital work tools providing for video communication combined with cloud platforms for the storage of data are more beneficial. One of the most popular solutions is Zoom, and its wide use by businesses is conditional upon its simplicity and the quality of interactions (Dwivedi et al., 2020). Thus, the current study will specifically focus on this program in order to analyze the process of technology adoption and corresponding challenges.
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The success of telecommuting in organizations that recently started to use Zoom for video conferences and data transfer depends on their capability to eliminate risks related to a human factor. In other words, they should ensure that their employees are willing to adopt the proposed solution and actively participate in online discussions. The outcome of this initiative implies the need to address specific factors, which might lead to failure due to the non-acceptance of software by participants. Thus, the first factor is the psychological detachment from work while being at home, and it is harmful to the work and life balance of people (Toniolo-Barrios and Pitt 2020). The second factor is attention to work tasks, which subsequently affects the organizations’ performance (Toniolo-Barrios and Pitt 2020). The third factor is the so-called Zoom fatigue, similar to screen fatigue when people feel drained due to continuous video conferences (Toniolo-Barrios and Pitt 2020). Therefore, they should be assessed in the first place when evaluating the impact of Zoom on telecommuting.
The expected long-lasting effects of COVID-19 also condition the emergence of new requirements for the workforce. They are related to the need to educate employees regarding the use of new technology since most of them are unfamiliar with it (Kaushik and Guleria 2020). As a result, they might be unwilling to adopt the proposed software. The training process for them should be well-thought and continuously guided by the managers in order to avoid such complications as improper decisions adversely affecting a company’s image or profits (Dwivedi et al. 2020). This initiative requires effective time management, the creation of new schedules, and the promotion of employees’ skills (Kaushik and Guleria 2020). It is clear that this work mode implies specific benefits, mostly connected to the opportunity for companies to save money through lower overhead (Kaushik and Guleria 2020). However, the efficiency of their actions from the perspective of employee involvement seems to be dubious due to the lack of previous research on this topic.
The orientation of companies, which recently adopted telecommuting technology, on the feedback from their employees and its importance for the overall success of the initiatives has theoretical underpinning. According to the researchers, there is no theory combining all the elements required for online training of adults (Arghode, Brieger, and McLean 2017). Nevertheless, specific components of various frameworks can be useful for the purpose of implementing new software for telecommuting. Thus, for example, behaviorism, which describes the impact of external stimuli on the formation of expected behavior, can be beneficial for receiving immediate feedback and assessing online activities by managers (Arghode et al. 2017). It can be complemented by cognitivism, which implies a better perception of presented information if it is logical and well-structured (Arghode et al. 2017). These two approaches are essential for the establishment of productive cooperation between all participants and, consequently, for the adoption of software.
The initiative related to technological innovation implemented by organizations can be considered successful not only if it was willingly accepted by employees but also if it positively affected their performance. This indicator can be examined with the help of the task-technology fit theory, which defines the correspondence of the selected software, Zoom, to the tasks of the companies (Isaac et al. 2017). Moreover, the study should be focused not only on the operations of businesses but also on the needs of employees, which should be satisfied as well (Isaac et al. 2017). From this perspective, individual and organizational performance affected by the introduction of the technological solution will correlate with the change in profits and can be viewed through the lens of employees’ perceptions.
However, the mentioned trends, the adoption of technology and its dependence on employee training, are not the processes that started with the beginning of the pandemic. They have been known long before the spread of COVID-19 as digital transformation, and this factor only accelerated its progress (Savic 2020). The change was inevitable regardless of the virus, but such a pace of development of this field implies the absence of information on the efficiency of adopted measures. This business model, based on the maximization of the use of information technology, is relatively new. Therefore, the theoretical approach demonstrated by researchers of this phenomenon does not provide a clear picture of its progress. This fact allows concluding on the necessity to reveal the organizational impacts of the increasing trend of telecommuting from the technological perspective and assess its overall effectiveness.
Continued Research Plan
The study of telecommuting at the time of COVID-19 implies the consideration of both companies and their employers since the success of the introduction of new technology is conditional upon their productive cooperation. From this point of view, the general aim of the research is to analyze the situation from both perspectives in order to reveal the impact of Zoom on individual and organizational performance as a whole. This task indicates the need to establish goals for it, and they should cover the vital aspects of the new work mode. Therefore, it is necessary to identify factors affecting the acceptance or non-acceptance of Zoom by employees and managers, analyze its correspondence to the companies’ needs, and demonstrate the impact of this program on organizational performance. As a result, it will be possible to make recommendations on how to facilitate the adoption of Zoom by companies, which never used it before. The combination of the specified factors will allow answer the research questions, which are: What are the organizational impacts of the increased use of Zoom by the present-day companies during the pandemic? How can they improve the procedure of its adoption?
The research questions of the study imply the use of a mixed-method design since the answers require quantitative and qualitative data. The former will be presented by the indicators of companies demonstrating the change in performance, whereas the latter will help define the effectiveness of cooperation of managers and employees and willingness to adopt changes. In this way, the data will be collected from primary sources through interaction with companies and their employees.
In the current study, the proposed research method is conducting a series of interviews among the companies, which adopted Zoom only at the beginning of the pandemic, and their employees. The former will provide extensive information regarding the change in financial indicators reflecting the shift in overall performance. The latter, in turn, will answer the questions about the challenges they faced in the process, the way they affected their willingness to accept the new software, and the support they received from the managers.
Method of Data Collection and Analysis
The plan for data collection and processing will be divided into several stages. First, the necessary information will be received with the help of interviews with organizations and their employees. This method of conducting research implies the use of Skype for conversations with interviewees. Second, it will be compared on the basis of specific categories. They include the attitudes of both types of participants, business owners and their workers, to the introduction of Zoom and the alleged success or failure of new practices with consideration of the factors mentioned above. In this way, the analysis of gathered data will be the evidence of either positive or negative organizational impacts of the selected program in the conditions of the spread of coronavirus infection.
To summarize, the proposed study addresses all of the essential aspects of the initiative on the adoption of Zoom by companies, which never used it before. This necessity is defined by the fact that, despite the emergence of the trend before the pandemic, its efficiency in the current conditions is not revealed yet. Therefore, the perspectives of both organizations and their employees will help demonstrate the progress of the adoption of Zoom contributing to the establishment of productive telecommuting and problems which should be eliminated in the future. Thus, the study will allow the development of the specified work mode for the benefit of businesses on the basis of this program. From my point of view, this initiative is vital not only for companies but also for their workers since they face specific psychological difficulties resulting from working at home.
Arghode, V., Brieger, E.W. and McLean, G.N. 2017. “Adult Learning Theories: Implications for Online Instruction,” European Journal of Training and Development (41:7), pp. 593-609. Web.
Dwivedi, Y., Hughes, D., Coombs, C., Constantiou, I., Duan, Y., Edwards, J., Gupta, B., Lal, B., Misra, S., Prashant, P., Raman, R., Rana, N., Sharma, S., and Upadhyay, N. 2020. “Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Information Management Research and Practice: Transforming Education, Work and Life,” International Journal of Information Management (55). Web.
Isaac, O., Abdullah, Z., Ramayah, T. and Mutahar, A.M. 2017. “Internet Usage, User Satisfaction, Task-Technology Fit, and Performance Impact Among Public Sector Employees in Yemen,” International Journal of Information and Learning Technology (34:3), pp. 210-241. Web.
Kaushik, M., and Guleria, N. 2020. “The Impact of Pandemic COVID-19 in Workplace,” European Journal of Business and Management (12:15), pp.9-18. Web.
Savic, D. 2020. “Impact of Covid-19 on Digital Transformation of the Workforce,” The Impacts of Digital Transformation, pp. 27-34.
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Toniolo-Barrios, M., and Pitt, L. 2020. “Mindfulness and the Challenges of Working from Home in Times of Crisis,” Business Horizons. Web.