Celebrating the New Year, little did we know we’re now stepping into a time that will leave a mark in the history of humankind? Little did we know that the news about that bat-eating man and some strange virus spreading was not only China’s concern? It was about to be the world’s concern. And even worse, little did we know that this deadly virus had unimaginable, newer plans to bend, mold, and even devastate millions of lives.
Following that, whatever happened in the past few months remains a surprise and haze to many, even today. Nobody seems to get the hang of it fully and sanely: when did we become caged creatures? How can a microscopic organism dictate our mode of life?
Well, while science is on its way to figure the answers to those, it falls upon us to resume our life in whatever ways possible. We need to survive, after all. Don’t we?
So, until science comes to our rescue, we shall obey the new dictator, i.e., COVID-19. We shall learn to adjust to the new normal and accept the bitter reality of today. Even more, we shall use this situation to our benefit and learn newer things and ways of life. We’re survivors, after all.
With that said, let’s have a look at the future of work. Let’s shed some light on the need to adjusting to the new normal and motivate one another. So, here we go!
Economic Crisis & Shifts
After pandemic imposition, the world has experienced lockdown globally. All economic, social, and political activities got paused until the numbers of infected dropped.
As the most affected country, China stopped trading internationally to deal with the coronavirus. Following China’s example, several others have stopped trade to limit the spread.
With trade halted, the businesses and companies paused their workflow too. Hence, leading to a shortage of financial resources and goods. Consequently, poverty and unemployment levels have risen significantly.
People claimed the lockdown to be temporary, though the lockdown lasted for months. In a few countries, such as Italy and Germany, the second lockdown persists in attempts to bring down the intensity.
This unfortunate situation has led to a 5-percent contraction in GDP worldwide. It is perhaps the deepest recession witnessed by mankind since the terrible times of the 1870s.
Governments and authorities are trying to cope up with the economic crisis by increasing preventative measures and strengthening the medical department. Despite the government’s financial aids to compensate for the lockdown, the costs of everyday items are on the rise, and employment rates are reducing drastically.
The prevailing scenario has left people over the world with no solution other than change. And this change in working methods is what has become the new normal.
Social Distancing through Digital Transformation
The crisis came into view as soon as the SOPs became mandatory. And so, needless to say, streets, roads, offices, schools, restaurants, and malls, everything became vacant as people started practicing social distancing. With this, the once-upon-a-time hustling and bustling workplaces and commute vehicles became inhabitable. Inevitably, the work shifted to home.
Now, working from home was a new concept for many. Although surveys report that several Americans wished to work remotely before the COVID-crisis, only a few had the opportunity to shift to this mode of work. Consequently, despite being willing to, many people lack the experience and skillset to adapt to remote working.
For this very reason, when the manual and physical work took a virtual form, the digital transformation wasn’t easy for many. People now had to stay connected to their team and audience virtually through team-collaboration apps, social media, and even stay connected to the internet for most of their day, which was quite demanding for an average person.
Some people even had to purchase newer, upgraded equipment, while several had to learn the operation of certain software and devices. All of these processes reduced the efficiency of work, and so leaders had to double the input from their end.
Conclusively, digital transformation is demanding and challenging. But not impossible to conquer. And since it is here to stay we should embrace it with open arms.
With that said, let’s have a more detailed look at the degree of digitalization in the life of employers, employees, and teams.
Perhaps, the biggest challenge for employers during the pandemic was to bear the financial loss due to worldwide trade closure. However, the reopening of businesses with digitalized methods has proven to be less of a difficulty.
Previously, the workforce worked using cheaper and traditional methods. But, with virtual means, employers have to equip the workspaces with expensive gadgets and technology. Hence, draining the already meager funds.
Moreover, the imposition of SOPs means a limited number of employees can work at a certain time. Thus, halting the workflow and progress. Consequently, employers will have to adjust to the recession in sales and profits. Being unable to meet market demand, businesses are losing their well-established image. In some cases, companies have hired reputation protectors to keep their status in the market stable.
Also, the workforce has to get trained before being able to work efficiently in a digitalized workspace. Hence, further slowing down the pace. But, the pandemic also brought challenges for employees.
Employees encountered the greatest hardships during the digital transformation. And it is for them that the future of work changed drastically.
The very first challenge that telecommutes brought their way was learning newer methods of executing their daily job. For some of them, it even included spending hefty amounts on technological equipment.
Next, the biggest challenge that employees encountered was to establish a balance between work life and home life. With both of these integrated, acquiring mental peace and stability was becoming rather difficult for many, leading to the development of depression, anxiety, and other mental dysfunctionalities.
However, with time, employees are paving their way through, establishing a routine for themselves. They are doing so by setting clear boundaries between home life and work life. And for that, they are taking measures as extreme as setting up separate home offices. It is probably because deep down, they know it too, it’s going to be a long, long while before they can completely eradicate all work-associated belongings from the premises of their residence.
Similarly, they are working on their communication skills and tech skills instead of letting the current hurdles pass by. And that’s again because they know the new normal is permanent for a while. So, summing up, employees are embracing the future by changing their work settings, upgrading skillset, adapting to changes in personality, and whatnot.
What resuming offices physically look like?
Offices are not resuming in their full-swing anytime soon. However, they are now, at least, opening up on occasional days, allowing a few employees to do the work that they otherwise cannot. Of course, all SOPs are a matter of routine. But the fact is that: abiding by protective measures is easy with limited employees visiting your office occasionally. It will get tougher once all the employees step in.
For this very reason, the future of work will be particularly different at the actual worksites. There will probably no pats on the back or emotional hugging. In actuality, the environment’s going to be tense, cautious, and demanding in terms of protective measures.
Companies and offices may need to get air ventilation systems installed. Plus, they must also allocate a separate space for washing hands and sanitization. To keep the workplace from getting crowded, companies may need to set up barriers and partitions in the office.
Moreover, it is the responsibility of offices and companies to encourage healthy hygiene practices and encourage their workforce to make maximum use of protective gear, including facemasks. They should also maintain an environmental cleaning and disinfecting routine to ensure the safety of all. It surely means an increased expense, but that’s how it’s going to proceed now.
Also, companies should start taking their measures and begin preparing workplaces for employees because anytime now that the lockdown will lift off. Companies should also reconstruct the line of action of the plan, and employees should prepare themselves for a new set of rules.
Shawn Mack is a content writer who offers ghostwriting, copy-writing, and blogging services.His educational background in business and technical field has given him a broad base from which to approach many topics. He is also fond of writing interesting blogs on technology & digital marketing related topics.