After the COVID-19 pandemic brought the global economy to a grinding halt, technology allowed it to start crawling forward again. This was by way of delivery apps for things like food and household goods as well as remote work, which has kept the economy moving, albeit more slowly than we would like. Without this technology our economy would already be destroyed, and it’s precisely this type of technology that is going to lead the way to the economic recovery.
In some states as many as one in four people are out of work. These are mostly people whose jobs require in-person attendance in situations that local governments have deemed too unsafe. The restaurant industry has been hit especially hard as have bars and small retail shops as people choose larger big-box stores for their safe once weekly runs for necessary items.
Fortunately, two in three Americans are still able to work remotely during the pandemic. For the most part, office jobs have migrated online anyway, and offices are full of people who are all sitting at computers all day. Almost all of this can be done remotely.
The move to remote work is likely to be permanent, too. Three in five of the people who are currently working remotely wish to continue doing so after the pandemic passes, and before the pandemic just 29% of college graduates were working from home at least part of the time.
Workers have been clamoring for remote work opportunities for years, though. Disability advocates say it gives disabled people the reasonable accommodations guaranteed them by the Americans with Disabilities Act in that they already have accessibility in their own homes that many offices do not offer. Remote work opportunities will also give more parents access to jobs that have flexibility when it comes to being around for the bus stop, eliminating the need for before and after school care.
With more people gaining access to work opportunities that fit their lifestyles, the economy will make a better recovery. This is all fueled by technology and the internet, and the first thing to look at to spur this revolution is universal broadband access.
Universal broadband has been on the radar for years already, but the pandemic has made it apparent how crucial this is to the basic functioning of our modern society. Currently around 21 million students in the United States lack access to high speed internet in their homes, and those students live in communities where businesses are also lacking the access needed to conduct normal business.
Working toward universal broadband access could be this generation’s WPA, which could spur economic growth for decades to come.
This economic downturn is an opportunity to build things stronger and better not only to withstand the next major economic crisis, but also to provide opportunity for the economy to grow and prosper. With advances in broadband access and work-from-home opportunities, the economy will be poised to make a recovery and go on to reach new heights.
Learn more about the role tech will play in the economic recovery from the infographic below.