The novel Coronavirus pandemic has unleashed a series of unexpected events that have altered our lives and how society is conducted completely. Even though many organizations prepare for crises, most if not all organizations certainly failed to prepare for this challenging pandemic period. The loss of lives, property and livelihood has taken a heavy toll on political economies, organizations and individuals. As many organizations have gone out of operation completely, others struggle to keep their operations running. According to the US Chamber of Commerce 24% of small businesses have completely shut down in America alone and this is a major setback for the business sector. The biggest question to answer is, what is the future of work? Between the total and partial lockdown periods, many organizational leaders have navigated their organizations through the pandemic. A series of patterns studied shows that, many reputable organizations like Deloitte, Nike, Coco-Cola and other renowned organizations have adopted 3 phases to help withstand the pandemic. These are the most impressive crisis management techniques ever seen.
The first phase they adopted is to respond. Many businesses and institutions responded to the pandemic situation by making key decisions on health, safety, and the virtualization of work. This kind of response is the reason why some organizations are still operating. Most organizations quickly adopted safety measures like the provision of protective materials like nose masks to workers to keep them safe during the beginning of the pandemic. As the coronavirus escalated, companies closed and initiated the virtualization of work where social media platforms like zoom were greatly utilized for organizational meetings. This course of action helped organizations to manage the situation to ensure the continuity of their operations.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “our greatest glory is not in never failing, by it rising every time we fail”.The recovery process was adopted by organizations to emerge stronger than they were before the pandemic hit the world like a bolt of lightning. Organizations reflected on the situations, they recommitted themselves to their missions, reengaged their stakeholders, thought their decisions and rebooted their operations. Even though no recovery process is easy, these steps helped organizations to reestablish themselves in this pandemic period.
Since the coronavirus pandemic hit the world, there has been a great change in all activities. It is impressive how some organizations have prepared for and shaped the “new normal” to help them achieve their organizational goals. They have embraced new insights and capabilities with regards to social media and technology especially. Organizations that are thriving and plan to thrive in the future have adapted to new experiences, adjusted their goals, set new priorities and created new means of managing their operations through resilience.
What is The Future of Work?
The future of work after the coronavirus pandemic lies between three interconnected dimensions. These dimensions are the “work” which constitutes what an organization does, the “workforce” which encompasses who does the work and the “workplace” which is where the work is done. Analyzing these three dimensions answers the biggest question of what the future of work is.
The Work – What Can Be Automated?
Every organisation specializes in a particular area of service and the future of work demands that organisations quickly recognize the increasing automation of workplace activities. According to research, within the next 10 to 15 years, 80% of workplace activities will be completely automated and organisations must begin to identify which parts of their work can be automated for their benefit in the future.
The Workforce – Who Can Do The Work?
There are lots of technological advancements that companies must prepare for in the future and these advancements introduce new models for interaction between organisations, employees and their customers. For this reason, organisations must focus on recruiting employees who will be resourceful. Persons with extraordinary potential must be engaged to help fast track the achievement of organizational goals.
The Workplace – Where Can Work Be Done?
The future of work involves the combination of talent, workplace and technology. If there are any unintended results we have seen, it is the fact that the pandemic period has increased productivity immensely as we see the human potential at it’s best. Employees working remotely from home has forced the extension of working hours which has optimized productivity. Organizations must record these patterns to decide where work can be done best for their benefit in the future.
The reality is that the coronavirus pandemic has escalated the future of work. However, the vision of all organizations should be directed towards the humanization of the future of work. Obviously, the vision of the future of work we have created is very different from the reality of the future of work where automation is highly engaged. A human approach to the future of work must be adopted. This means creating a human essential workplace in the future rather than focusing completely on technology and its impact. Organizations must direct resources in enhancing the capabilities of the workforce to suit the future of work.
What Can Be Done To Shape The Future of Work?
Organizations can start shaping the future of work by adopting a new mindset. Humanizing the future of work must be prioritized. This can be done by humanizing technology itself to unleash the potential in the workforce. Instead of isolating the workforce from technology, building capability access strategies that will foster the collaboration of both human and technology will help achieve results we have never seen. Organizations can evolve with dynamic stability to thrive in the future of work only if they build resilience and capitalize on their abilities after the pandemic.