Because of the COVID-19 crisis, it’s a pretty sure bet that your family will have been using tech more than usual. Whether it’s video meetings from home, online shopping, calls with friends or family. Or for educating and entertaining the kids, you’ll have been glad that the tech has been here to make your quarantine family life easier to manage.
The lockdown has probably been quite a contrast to normal life. Which would usually be full of days in the office, school runs, sports, medical appointments, and weekend gatherings with family and friends. Most young households usually live life at a fast pace, with precious few hours to spare. However, now you can’t do all these activities or even if you do, you can’t do without ordered SOPs.
Now that stay-at-home orders are easing in many parts of the world and life slowly returns to “normal”. Question is are there any online habits that are here to stay?
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Tech That Save Families Time and Energy
Have we picked up any tech time-savers over lockdown that we won’t give up? We look at 5 key ways that families can use tech to save valuable time and energy.
1. Online Grocery Apps
Anyone who’s ever taken small children into a grocery store will know that it’s virtually impossible to get done quickly or leave without spending more than you came for. The pleasure of perusing ingredients for the fresh-cooked meal you’re planning usually vanishes with the arrival of children in your life.
While it’s true that some of us will always prefer to shop in person. However, there are many of us that would happily ditch the weekly grocery shop or even the midweek top-up errands.
Thankfully, grocery apps have made that possible. We can now buy anything from fresh oranges to diapers, to canned goods or gourmet ingredients. And have these delivered right to our doorstep in one consignment. Some grocery apps are store-based and work by offering any of the products from that one store for delivery.
The ability to order groceries online means that it’s possible to shop around for your favourite products or the best value within one order. No more crossing town from one store to another, no more heading back out when you forgot something. No worries when your child is sick and you desperately need milk. For busy parents, these services are worth their weight in gold.
2. Video Conference Calling
Home-working was something that few of us had really considered or been able to access until the COVID-19 crisis. But after months of working from our dining table, facilitated by various technologies including videoconferencing, it’s something that many of us intend to continue fairly regularly.
According to research published by the World Economic Forum, only around 7 percent of US workers had access to flexible home-working before 2020. This is now set to change, with many businesses open to the idea of more permanent or regular home-working. Twitter, amongst others, has announced that they are happy for colleagues to stay home for work indefinitely.
There are some distinct advantages to home-working: no commute, more concise meetings, and no colleague distractions. And being able to work condenses our working day and allows us to work hours that better suit our family. This maximizes the quality time we can spend with our partner and children — and that’s a win for everybody.
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3. Mobile Banking
Mobile banking apps have virtually erased the need to go to the bank in person for many of us. We can now deposit checks, pay bills, move funds between accounts, and manage our outgoings from the comfort of our sofa. A whole hour’s worth of banking errands can be done in five minutes from home. No drive, no looking for a parking spot, no queues and no bored children in tow.
This probably gives parents a couple of days’ worth of quality time with their children over a year.
4. Social Media
Our relationships with social media vary enormously. Some of us love it, a few of us choose to avoid it, mostly. Some of us like to share far and wide, some of us like to keep our online social network small and intimate.
However much you choose to access social media, you’ve probably turned to one of the many platforms, at some point, for parenting help. Whether that was in a public parenting group on Facebook or a way of chatting with your most trusted friends on WhatsApp, social media is a quick and easy way of getting help. It’s said that it takes a whole village to raise a child. Social media gives you access to more than a village’s worth of advice and info in almost an instant should you ever need it.
Perhaps you need last-minute homework help from your kid’s classmate’s parents; perhaps you need advice on the best local gym class, or perhaps you just need to know you’re not alone in facing the umpteenth sleepless night with your infant, social media gives you just that: 24/7 help for parents.
5. Voice-Activated Help and Search
Nobody needs to multitask more than the parents of young children. Voice search gives parents a powerful tool to do just that.
Need to know how traffic is looking for the school run or the weather so you know how to dress your kid in the morning? Need to convert units for a dinner recipe or set a timer? Hands-free voice search can give you the info you need in moments, so you need not take your eyes off your toddler or the cooking on the stove. Over the course of a day, voice-activated help can save you valuable minutes, too.
These are five of the most significant ways that tech seems to be saving families time and effort.
There are countless others, from list apps to Pinterest for craft ideas, audiobook apps, and learning games. Aside from picking out the best apps, choosing the right tech is important, too. Up-to-date, a high-quality tech will give you the best access to services that keep you organized, informed and connected.