How coronavirus is affecting the future of work?
The world feels upside down, right? Mankind is not meant to stay locked inside. We need wide spaces, open-air, opportunities and horizons. As the world stopped and placed us in a timeless lethargy we find it hard to remain optimistic. The same question goes round and round in our heads as we stare at the azure of the sky through the window: How is Coronavirus affecting the future of work?
Is the evolution of life going to change direction? What will be the new 'normal'? How is coronavirus affecting the future of work? We worry as we hear whispers. More hours to compensate for the loss. Fewer rights and protection etc.
But I assure you, the future will be bright. Changes we have all been waiting for will happen quicker, and here is where:
1. How companies treat employees and contractors
- Mental health and work-life balance will be embraced on a larger scale
If you are a freelancer, an entrepreneur or a remote worker, you already know this: isolation and loneliness can cause depression, anxiety, and all sorts of mental health issues. Previously, mental-health was not necessarily perceived as a key area of focus for most companies. But now, as all employees are facing a certain degree of isolation, companies are more and more looking at employees’ benefits & programmes to help.
- Leaders will become better
A crisis is always an awakening kick. It is during the toughest time that the best leaders come out of the wood. Those who communicate clearly, stay calm, who can make strong decisions and most importantly, lead by example. The managers who didn’t stand by their team, facing the risk of infection with them will lose hearts. During normal times, managers were able to get away with ineffective management, but not anymore. So now, only the great leaders can succeed. There is no more hiding, no more pretending.
- Companies’ cultures will be reinforced… again
This works just like leadership. Because during such a crisis, you cannot get away with poor company culture. Only employees who feel they belong will have the heart to support an organisation through tough times such as these ones, and make sacrifices. So through the crisis, as organisations realise this, they will put culture back at the center of focus.
2. Working with others
- More collaboration
If we didn’t fully appreciate the importance of collaboration before, now we certainly do. As coronavirus forces us to stay home, we realise how much we miss working with others. Therefore, we found new ways to connect and share, and they will perdure after the crisis. For example, we saw the online meeting application, Zoom, soaring to incredible heights. Above all, online collaboration apps are becoming even more popular. You can connect with your team with Ugenie, cowork online with WeCoffee, attend online business & networking events etc. In other words, not only coronavirus did not kill collaboration, it boosted it like nothing before.
- More empathy
After having been home so much, especially with no access to services such as childcare and cleaning services, managers, colleagues and clients will show a new respect for life’s demands and a much greater appreciation for any family-related matter. They will understand much more what it truly takes to orchestrate personal life, from cleaning to supporting kids with their homework. Furthermore, they will be brutally reminded of how family and friends are essential to well-being and happiness.
3. Where you work & how you work
- Work will (finally) be more flexible
Many companies have been reluctant to let their employees work remotely, mainly arguing bad productivity. However, this unexpected work-from-home experiment is forcing them to consider it a viable option. Companies have now put more reliable technology systems in place to facilitate mobile working. Teams are now figuring out how to collaborate from distance and managers are finally realising they can manage & assess performance based on outcomes rather than presence. Companies will facilitate remote work, and they will provide more choice and flexibility to employees to work wherever they can get their best work done, including away from the office.
- You will finally embrace change
If you have been working in or for a large organisation, you know. It’s hard to adopt new systems or processes. But you have succeeded! And in record time! In the future, you will have more confidence in your capacity to leverage new technology. Here is what you will think: I have been there before. And it was worse. Way worse. I can do this again. Change will not scare you anymore. Or at least, much less.
At the moment, it’s hard to see the light. But the crisis will eventually pass and will leave us with a rich experience to capitalise on. There are plenty of reasons to believe in the future, the above are just examples.