The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) infection is an ongoing public health emergency of international significance. What started as the viral outbreak in China has spread across all continents, affecting the lives and routines of people all over the world. COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has taken over the world such that the outbreak is declared as a global pandemic by the WHO. The virus COVID-19 is an unfortunate reality and has now been spread in more than 100 countries and territories. The majority of countries are grappling with this pandemic at the moment.
As the unexpected coronavirus outbreak continues to wreak havoc on markets and industries across the globe, businesses are now facing significant and unique challenges. In many parts of the world, borders are closed; hotels, airports, malls, schools and other businesses are shut due to this ongoing pandemic. More than one-quarter of the world’s 7.8 billion people are now largely restricted to their homes, as governments imposed a lockdown for social distancing to break the chain of the virus. The lockdown situation is driving companies to reconsider the way they are doing business and to rework on the policies for business continuity and security.
Much remains uncertain, but it seems like the pandemic and the measures that people are taking to save themselves could permanently change how they live, work and play in the future. Anticipating the post-pandemic world is key in ensuring we change for the better, not the worse.
So what does the future look like?
The physical analog world is being pulled down and the digital world is thriving. Today, it is the technology that is helping us survive through this pandemic. Everyone is sitting at home but still able to collaborate and drive business owing to technology. Collaboration has relied more on video, the companies are delivering their talks through video conferencing due to travel bans. The pandemic COVID-19 has acted as a reset button for organizations across the globe. This situation is showing professionals that we can simply work from home, which will completely change the future of work in several ways.
- Permanently flexible future- The remote working will be considered with new importance altogether post COVID-19. There will be a consequential, permanent transition to more remote working even after COVID-19. However, not all companies will remain in a totally remote state but most of them will be more flexible. The rigidness of an analog office-based environment won’t fly anymore. We will definitely see some changes in approaches and a workplace culture that will eventually result in companies being more flexible and accepting of different work styles.
- Prioritization of work-life balance- As most of the people spend hours commuting to and fro their offices and have the guilt for not being able to spend enough time with their kids and family. With the advanced technology, tools and remote working becoming a new work culture, it will not only help the physical toll of commuting to the office but also help millennial to keep a work-life balance.
- The movement towards agile work- As teams become more independent with remote work; many will start collaborating with other employees through online collaboration tools. We will see another trend in the world of agile work that will grow beyond software development into marketing, finance, and operations, etc. with the concept of self-organizing teams. The traditional structure around being a part of the product team or the sales team will shift. More people from different domains across a company will gather together to solve problems.
- Increased expectations of new generations- The younger generations will learn from the current generation and will choose their future employment accordingly in terms of work culture, flexibility and commitment to work-life balance.
- The trend towards sustainability- Apart from taking mental and physical stress out of going into an office, remote work has an immense impact on the environment that people will begin to take note of. Reduction in commuting by just one day can lower the carbon footprint by 16%. Energy consumption would also be reduced by reducing the in-office work and that will result in breathing fresher and less polluted air.
Along with the public health crisis and epidemic of illness, the virus may well prompt a new spike of automation and lasting changes to the way we work. And if the companies realize they can sail across this crisis while their people are at home, business, as usual, would be a walk in the park or maybe a lap in the living room.