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June 22, 2020

It’s hard to imagine how we’d be getting by right now without technology. While humanity has certainly had to live through plagues, pestilence and pandemics without video happy hours, on-demand food delivery or a 24/7 news cycle, the abundance of technology that powers our daily lives is allowing many of us to ride this out in ways our predecessors could never have dreamed of. 

Those of us who work in professional services and other non-frontline areas have largely been able to maintain business as usual via a number of cloud-based applications and software that keep us connected and collaborating. During our off-time, we often turn to the same apps, but use them to talk to friends and family. While social distancing was a critical tactic for containing the plague during the Black Death epidemic in the mid-1300s, as it is now, no one had Zoom, FaceTime or Houseparty. When you stayed inside, you were stuck communicating only with those who lived with you.

Thinking about the technologies we’re using to stay productive, connected and, well, sane, led us to survey the FINN worldwide community to see what we like — and what we don’t. Check out some of the results of that survey.

When we asked what work technologies our colleagues were relying on to stay productive, Zoom was the clear winner, with 98% of respondents using the platform. 

  • Other popular choices included Box.com (78%); smartphones (73%); Google Drive (60%); and Microsoft Teams (57%). 

When it comes to health and wellness technologies, Finn Partners has been staying healthy mentally and physically by using our smartphones (61%); Zoom (47%); and on-demand fitness apps and programs (41%). 

  • Fitness trackers (29%) and Instagram Live (24%) ranked highly as well.
  • We aren’t only using technology to stay fit and healthy: Old-school, analog bikes and treadmills got some love from 24% of respondents, and write-in responses included “walks around the neighborhood,” “getting outdoors,” “weights, yoga mats and bands,” and “old-fashioned workout DVDs.”  

And what about downtime/playtime technologies? Hands down, FINN’s favorite way to decompress has been with TV streaming services — 91% of respondents copped to relaxing with Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and other on-demand TV. 

  • Zoom transcends work for 62% of respondents, who also use it in their downtime — even with people previously unfamiliar with the platform. One respondent commented, “I’m surprised how easily my parents have been able to adapt to video conferencing technology.”
  • Popular write-in responses ran the gamut from Houseparty and WhatsUp, which allow us to connect with others, to ebooks, podcasts and iPad puzzle video games, which help us get some cerebral “me time.”

Some of our respondents were unexpectedly surprised and delighted by technology’s role in their pandemic lives.

  • TikTok was an especially popular option. Although it’s been around for a few years, its main audience previously skewed young (41% of users in 2019 were between 16 and 24). Following the pandemic and a subsequent desire for lighthearted fun that doesn’t take a lot of time or attention, older generations are jumping on the bandwagon. 
  • Other respondents mentioned Houseparty, which allows groups to play games and socialize within a video chat app. This app also has been around since 2019, but has seen its user base grow in recent months as we look for ways to connect and have fun virtually. 

Of course, technology isn’t always all sunshine and roses. We asked which technologies our colleagues have been finding the most stressful right now, and the two top contenders were social media and Zoom. Some respondents elaborated that the reason Zoom was stressing them out so much was not because of the technology itself:

  • “Using technology as my primary means of socializing is stressful.”
  • “It’s my favorite, but it’s easy to have lots of video calls scheduled with friends and family, and sometimes I want a break from my computer!”
  • “There’s so much pressure from so many friend/work groups to be on camera, all the time!”
  • “Because of the overall frequency of video calls, and missing in-person interactions.”

One write-in response said Facebook and Twitter were the most stressful because of the “amount of misinformation and people’s reaction to it” — a reminder for us PR pros that even though we might not be on the frontlines with healthcare workers, grocery store employees, delivery drivers and others, clear, accurate communication will never stop being essential.

 

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