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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Post-pandemic tech hacks that make life easier

Nov 29, 2022 11:24AM ● By Adam Cochran

If you are reading this column, you live in a community experiencing the following problems: Employers in every industry are struggling to find people who will show up to a job interview, let alone a shift of actual work.

Employees are struggling to find jobs that pay enough to cover gas, groceries and rent. Employers must factor increased mandatory leave, benefits and other factors into the budget for salary, which can be difficult for everyday workers.

The price of everything has increased because of a perfect storm of supply shortages, worker shortages and the fact that 80% of U.S. currency has been printed in the past two years. Too much money chasing too few products is the definition of inflation.

All of that paints a grim picture, but hardship and opportunity share the same foundation. While many in Generation Y and Z are using new tools to avoid the rigors and pains of living structured and scheduled lives, Boomers and Generation Xers can use the same resources to help shelter themselves from the impending financial, employment and cultural storms that linger on the horizon.

Here are a few tools and resources that have been developed or improved during the pandemic lockdown that can also be used to help you stay healthy, safe and productive should the recovery from the new normal last longer than the pandemic lockdown itself.

Bank from your phone 

Stop avoiding online transactions, but especially banking. You feel safe riding in vehicles that run on fire, explosive gasses and lethal chemical compounds. If you can trust an engineer to harness the physical and unalterable laws of physics, you can trust banks and commerce to rely on the equally unalterable laws of mathematics.

Financial transactions are encrypted so strongly they can’t be broken by anyone. If someone steals your identity or accesses your bank account, it will happen because you gave the bad guy the information to do so. It won’t be because hackers used Hollywood technology to break into your account. Paying a bill through your online bank is safer and more accurate than any process that involves humans or paper.

Your smartphone likely has the ability to act as your debit card and wirelessly pay for transactions at checkout. This is by far the safest way to pay for anything because it creates a direct encrypted payment from your bank to the business with no chance of anyone accessing your debit card, cash or personal information.

Remote work is a viable option 

Working remotely is exactly what it sounds like. There are many companies that prefer to avoid the costs of real estate and maintenance by hiring people to work from wherever they are. If you are skilled in a type of work that doesn’t require you to physically work on-site, there are probably remote worker openings listed on or other job sites.

I have been a remote worker for my employer for six years. The pay, benefits and working conditions are the best I have ever had. If you are looking to improve your lifestyle and income, and have more quality time with your pets and family, use this era of staffing shortage to make some changes.

Here’s a tip: It’s important to use the keyword “remote work,” when searching for these types of jobs.

Use apps to make shopping easier 

Ninety percent of my shopping time is spent on my phone. 

For example, shopping for a $25 toaster used to involve reading tons of online reviews and then running to every possible retailer in town to check prices and availability. 

Now every major retailer has an app that provides prices, sales and availability information for the specific store that I will be purchasing from. That means I know whether Target or Best Buy have the toaster in stock, how much it costs and whether I have enough loyalty points banked to use toward the purchase.

Further, when I see something on sale while shopping in the aisles of a store, I frequently check the apps of other local retailers to see if I can get a better deal elsewhere.

Apps will make your life so much easier and you will use much less gas by not running around.

Many people are afraid to use technology because they feel that it somehow increases their online presence. But the truth is, the apps only work because your presence is online. Rather than fear the digital tools that others use, I suggest you implement them to augment or even automate your life so you can streamline the day to day.