Since March of 2020, our entire world has seen a seemingly unending barrage of drastic changes in almost every aspect of our lives, from how we socialize to the way we work and the way we play. Even religious services are being held online. It’s easy to see that nothing has been unaffected by this modern pandemic, and virtually nothing is left untouched by the virtual world.
Whether it is socializing, work, or play that occupies our time at any given moment, one thing is for sure; it’s a safe bet that you and nearly everyone you know has become much more intimately acquainted with video chat and instant messaging platforms like Zoom, Spatial, Slack, and even Facebook Messenger. Usage of these platforms has increased exponentially in this past year. Zoom, for example, reported a 30x increase in usage in April of 2020 and more than 300 million meeting participants per day during the height of the pandemic. Spatial, a virtual or augmented reality meeting platform, showed a 50% increase in participants and a 400% increase in licensing requests.
These days, businesses are running a huge percentage of their operations on apps like Zoom and Spatial, and companies and employees alike are finding new freedoms in the way they get the job done. Many companies are downsizing their office space as remote work increases, and many employees are finding they no longer need to live close to their business headquarters. This is freeing up businesses and employees to relocate to areas where the cost of doing business and the cost of living is lower than their former locations. It seems like a win-win, all enabled by apps that allow businesses to function online fully.
Nevertheless, one aspect of this transition to virtual may have an unintended effect in areas that are receiving an influx of migrating employees. This effect is the modern wage gap. Many employees who originated from areas with a high cost of living, and therefore higher salary, are migrating to areas with a lower cost of living yet still maintaining their current pay rate. The fact is that an employee making 50k per year in Cleveland, OH has the same purchasing power as an employee making $123,243 per year in Manhattan. With this kind of discrepancy, it’s easy to see how this new wage gap could have some serious benefits to the employee who chooses to relocate. However, this wage gap may be short-lived, as many companies are already making changes to salaries based on the new locations of its employees.
What the future holds remains to the seen, but one thing seems certain; these apps, which have gained such a sudden and vital space in our lives, are here to stay as the future of doing business and maybe the future of doing life in general.
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