Bye Bye Monday Blues: Future of Work post COVID-19 Pandemic
What does the new normal look like? Is Covid-19 bringing the future of work closer - or will things return to how they were?
There's no doubt the coronavirus pandemic will alter our lives in ways never imagined. In just four months, our interactions and how we conduct business have undergone major changes. From worrying about clocking in late to not having to commute, work life's up for an overhaul.
Changes are already visible depending on the sector one's employed in. In food & hospitality, tourism and live events, the road ahead is difficult.
In other fields, such as media, and marketing & advertising, the future depends on the growth of technology and penetration of the internet.
Already marketing agencies are reporting that brands are redirecting advertising and marketing budgets to online campaigns. Digital platforms-like mobile applications, TV & music streaming & online gaming-will attract a large chunk of the ad revenue with the dramatic increase in its consumption.
So, what will the future of work be post-pandemic? Are we heading towards a work evolution? Or will things return to how they were?
- Work from Home & the Rise of 'gig economy'
Whether or not it came as a surprise to employers, but the newfound lesson that work can be completed accurately and diligently without having to visit the office is incredibly valuable.
Employees complaining of not being able to strike a proper work-home balance will gain from the new trend of remote working. Working from home will provide more time for employees to spend on activities other than their job. Post the pandemic, according to a survey by Gartner , companies will shift at least 5 percent of their total workforce to permanent remote positions.
Furthermore, the 'gig economy' will witness a massive rise post pandemic generating 4 to 5 million jobs in the next 3 to 4 years, according to a report by liveMint . The share of gig jobs in the service sector will increase to 20 percent of its total current employee base. Content specialists, graphic designers, social media experts, among other similar professions, will continue advancing the Indian gig economy which is expected to reach $455 billion by 2023, according to a report by ASSOCHAM .
Another positive change work from home will cause is ascent in the number of people pursuing artistic endeavours. Not everyone interested in music, dancing, writing, painting or photography is a professional. More time and a boost in web & live casting will bring widespread opportunities for hesitant creators to find new sources of income.
- Massive Leaps in Technology
Post the pandemic, the 'new-age economy' will be in full-swing. Industries will rely even more on latest technologies making certain sectors, like data, increasingly important. Data literacy and analytics, for instance, will witness a surge in availability of new jobs. Similarly, new-age technologies that've been in the backseat-like cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI) & blockchain-will experience crucial push.
Automation of manufacturing will also rise as the pandemic settles. Businesses will not only try to limit workers' exposure to the virus, but, with social distancing norms in place, development of AI, Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain will be incorporated into the manufacturing process. The pandemic, according to a NASSCOM report, has sped up the rate of advancement of technology in the manufacturing sector with the aim to integrate it with the supply chain, sales and marketing.
Jobs that exist as a result of the internet-influencers, content creators, professional streamers, podcasts-will continue to thrive in a post COVID-19 world. India's agricultural sector, too, will witness a technological renaissance with the increased use of machines.
- Mental Health in Focus
According to a survey conducted by the Indian Psychiatry Society, the number of reported cases of mental illness rose by 20 percent within a week of the lockdown. The pandemic brought with it severe job losses, according to a recent survey conducted by the Indian Society of Labour Economics (ISLE). Many of those who've kept their jobs have endured salary cuts and slash in benefits. Naturally, amidst such grim situations, mental health of workers has come under the spotlight. Working from the isolation of home with limited opportunity to step outside has made employers aware of the importance of mental health. As a result, over 47 percent companies in India are willing to implement mental health support measures for employees when they return, according to a survey by International SOS .
- Tougher on Women?
According to a survey by the UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific , the COVID-19 pandemic is proving to be particularly hard on women; especially those in the informal, unorganised sector & MSMEs. The survey shows that women are more likely to lose jobs and receive reduced work hours. These issues magnify as we move down the socio-economic sections of our society.
The flip side here is the potential to boost women's employment opportunities in tier two & three cities by increasing the presence and literacy of technology, and promoting work from home. Remote working will help solve the problem about being present at home while providing flexible working hours.
- Leap in Innovation
With the global work landscape undergoing a drastic shift, it's natural for entrepreneurs and existing businesses to innovate ways of engaging customers. Just like restaurants & cafes jumped to delivering food online, the service sector will adjust to the demands of the post pandemic world. We'll see a steep rise in doorstep services; be it chefs, make-up artists, hair stylists or masseuse, this change in the service industry, under the given circumstances, is inevitable.
The education sector will adapt with e-learning becoming the primary source of learning & schooling for children across the country. Similarly, many such industries will adjust to the new world making sure they survive. The entertainment industry, for example, will rely on over-the-top media services while moving away from traditional methods of consumption.
Already marketing agencies are reporting that brands are redirecting advertising and PR budgets to digital marketing campaigns. Digital platforms-like mobile applications, TV & music streaming & online gaming-will attract a large chunk of the ad revenue with the dramatic increase in its consumption.
In conclusion, the future of work will be more connected despite being remote, and more innovative and technologically advanced than before. An individual's soft skills & emotional intelligence will play a vital role as steady modernisation transforms professional life; at least for the foreseeable future.
The author is Co-Founder & CEO, ContentNinja
Views are personal and do not necessarily represent Qrius editorial policy.