How COVID-19 Will Change The Way We Work

By Mel Sim

What will be the new normal for the office?

It won’t be an understatement to say that the coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed life as we know it. Social distancing, restricted movement orders, remote working… these are just the tip of the new normal.

The work scene especially has experienced the most changes because of the pandemic. In just a matter of weeks, millions of people around the world are now working from home for the very first time. Many (especially those from generations before the millennials) have had to be schooled ASAP on how to incorporate digital tools into their #WFH routine. Marketers and sales departments scrambled to create new ways of selling and reaching out to customers. Those in the service line have had to think out of the box to connect with their clients virtually with MCO in place.

Some jobs were lost; some new ones were created. All lives will be changed forever.

And these changes will most certainly continue even after we’ve overcome the initial fear and panic that surround coronavirus. Here are some of the ways we think COVID-19 will change in the world of work.

#1 More companies will encourage remote working
Remote working was something that many yearned for before but only a few companies actually took up on the trend. Now with almost everyone (except those in essential services) working from home, the idea may in fact be more acceptable as we find out just how essential face-to-face meetings are and whether working from home means less productivity.

The answers to both? No. What #WFH has made many realised is that there’s really no need to schedule in physical meetings to get things done. Better technology now allows for us to do away with these face-to-face meetings, which will result in more efficiency with less travel time, less physical scheduling.

If before companies are reluctant to let employees work from home because they’d be Netflix-ing instead of working, COVID-19 proves otherwise. It turns out that you can do your job just as efficiently from home (though a bit more unconventional and for some, a change in scheduling to accommodate other parts of their lives like children). In fact, a Lenova research completed in March 2020 stated that nearly half of the respondents say that their #WFH productivity is on par with the office with 15% from that group saying it even increased. Maybe it’s time to get the boss onboard with remote working?

#2 More digital, less traditional
Call it the Zoom Boom – the pandemic has further cemented the fact that technology will play a huge role in the landscape of work. Its adoption has accelerated in the past month with more companies adopting digital tools like cloud, work applications, video conferencing technology and the likes that prior to these were just a novelty but now a necessity. We even have companies scheduling virtual teabreaks and townhalls where everyone signs on to messaging services at the same time to recreate the physical versions.

This scenario is most likely to continue after the pandemic as companies come to realise that you can’t run very far from adopting technology and its usage in daily operations. And with 5G and all that it promises in terms of significant processing power, working from home or using digital tools in the office to replace your traditional systems will be easy to adapt seamlessly into our everyday.

#3 The importance of upskilling
With COVID-19 and how it’s changed the way we work, companies are realising that many of their staff may not have the necessary skills to take on the work environment of the future that’s our reality. And companies will have to quickly implement and adopt technology if they want to succeed, and at the same time ensure that their staff are able to work efficiently with these new tools as they simply have no other choice. So you can bet on companies focusing on upskilling and development programmes to ensure everyone’s equipped for the future of work.

#4 New roles may be introduced… and some old ones made redundant
Some staff have become crisis managers, sanitation managers, #WFH coordinators, you name it. Who knows, maybe these roles will find themselves on the organisational chart as a result of COVID-19 and how it’s proven that we’re not ready for a pandemic as such.

Unfortunately, some job functions or industries may be the hardest hit by COVID-19 like hospitality, events and the service line. Those already in these lines may find their future at stake or asked to take on other responsibilities as a cost-cutting measure.

#5 More focus on security
Cybersecurity will be even more necessary to safeguard a company. This may be a good time to consider it as a career or skill to invest in.

What do you think will change in the way we work post-COVID-19? Tweet us at @graduan and tell us your thoughts!

*Photo by Brian McGowan and Gabriel Benois on Unsplash

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