The future of work during and after a pandemic

Updated: Jun 24, 2021

Did you know that the COVID-19 pandemic is classified as the world’s largest economic shock? And, did you also that the world is anticipating a financial crisis sometime soon due to the recurring and negatively spiralling consequences?

COVID-19 is an ongoing disastrous pandemic that is impacting the world in innumerable negative ways leading to a spike in the mortality rates and a plunge down the overall growth of economies. This public health crisis has severely affected the financial markets and transmitted various disruptions in global economies. The threat posed by COVID-19 is the worst challenge ever faced by humanity These includes;

  • Significant reductions in Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

  • Rise in Unemployment

  • Massive Fall in National Income

  • Disruptions in the transportation, service, and manufacturing industries

  • Increase in Distress levels

  • Lower purchasing power

  • Productivity rates have fallen drastically.

  • Economic Prosperity levels have reduced substantially.

According to World Bank, advanced economies are extrapolated to fall back by 7 per cent, while developing economies are projected to shrink by 2.5 per cent as they already face several domestic hindrances.

According to International Labour Organization, it is estimated that 40-70 per cent of the world’s population will be contracted with the virus if the right strategies and adaptions are not included in the Labour markets effectively. This COVID-19 Public crisis has already resulted in an economic and Labour market shock, leading to impact both demand and supply forces across the globe. As a result, the quantity and quality of employment are deteriorating substantially. Moreover, it is estimated that unemployment levels will skyrocket high up.

The global employment market is facing several shifts in the employment trends and structures leading to new categorizations of “essential” workers and large-scale move to remote work. Businesses are struggling to find appropriate pathways to move forward to boost productivity and efficiency.

The largest disruptions to work were new technologies and growing inter-connectivity trade links, however, for the first time in the corporate sector, the dimension of physical work and human proximity became significant to contain employees from infectious disease.

There are three ways in which the coronavirus pandemic has changed the landscape of work that will be a forever dominant change in future. The dynamic changes will be described below;

Working from Home will become the new normal

Working from home was a temporary routine for millions of individuals before the novel coronavirus. However, in the current economic context work-from-home became a mandatory restriction imposed to contain the highly contagious disease.

An organization could implement this work structure effectively due to the ever-evolving technologies like Zoom, Facetime, Google hangouts, and cloud computing. Therefore, with these technologies evolving employees don’t need to be in an office full-time to be efficient member of a team.

This has both positive and negative effects, however, it depends upon how the company has shaped the workforce with the right strategies, organizational culture, and the relationship they foster to drive the organizational performance forward.

Mandatory on-the-job Medical Screening will become a new norm

World Health Organization (WHO) have imposed stringent laws and regulations pertaining physical workplaces and office building.

Health and legal experts speculate that on-the-job medical screening must be conducted in the physical workplace to ensure the employees and individuals are safe and protected.

These temperature checks and antibody test must be done authentically with the right system and procedure in place.

Multinational and global organizations such as Amazon, Walmart, and Starbucks have initiated effective processes to take temperature tests before employees are allowed to work. However, it is vital for the employer to not pose any discrimination act to decide who needs to undertake the test, they cannot pick and choose.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force DR ANTHONY FAUCI have mentioned that an “immunity certificate” program must be generated for each individual to check their medical conditions and determine if they are fit to start physical work.

Standard office hours will become outdated

The standard 9-5 office hours will become a thing of the past. With the current pace of work and the existing lockdown restriction frequently across the work, individuals will find it hard to manage work and home life simultaneously as their productivity will be questionable with the external chaos and the strong forces of personal life. Therefore, it is close to impossible to maintain the standard office hours at home due to several disruptions.

To combat these inevitable issues, it is vital to set targets and expectations for each employee with clear and articulated tasks and deadlines.

According to International Labour Organization, there are key strategies employers across the world must implement to protect employees and to sustain the organization in the future. These strategies are formulated by abiding by the International Labour regulations. Therefore, it is vital to protect employees during these vulnerable and challenging times.

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