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Coronavirus Is Speeding Up Future of Work

March 31, 2020

All futurists talk about disruptions and being ready for disruptions – one disruption we know for sure is that Coronavirus is speeding up the future of work.

As people adapt to working remotely, new challenges have emerged and new economic opportunities will arise

The deluge of information on coronavirus is overwhelming and on a daily basis, we are gaining more clarity about its effects. The primary effect is on people, how the virus is impacting the health of people and the daily lives of people.

With every demoralizing story, we hear about coronavirus we are hearing the positive stories of humanity being kinder, more caring and more concerned about our global citizens.

Although we do not yet know the pandemic’s impact on business it leads us to ask:

In a post-pandemic future, how are business and leadership going to be reshaped in the future?

The reality of more people working online and remotely is here now. Work that is based on repetitive tasks will disappear. The rise of AI and automation will increase as companies find out what jobs really need to be done by people. This will create a new workplace reality of redefining jobs into ‘meaningful work’.

Businesses have realized through the coronavirus disruption that it is very productive and advantageous to have more people work from home. People working from home will save time and money from commuting and in return will have increased productivity.

Leaders and teams will re-strategize how to operate the business with a portion of the workforce working remotely. The use of commercial real estate will shift as we have seen currently with Javitz center in New York being a temporary hospital.

Where AI and automation were being viewed as something in the far off future we will now see an increase in its application and use. We will see a rise in human/robot collaboration. We will also see a re-distribution of skills among workers. Workers who were perhaps underperforming will now be much more visible and will be required to uplevel skills to remain relevant.

Workers will be required to bring design thinking, resilience and versatility skills to the workplace. Innovation skills will be required by all workers to add value to the business.

We are already seeing a rise in virtual services since coronavirus Zoom has increased the users of its platform by millions. The healthcare industry now has 90% of patients visiting doctors through telemedicine portals. Self-testing kits will become the new normal (similar in use as the home kits for DNA testing). We will also see a rise in the integration of facial recognition with ‘health scanning’ through AI.

Where futurists have predicted a rise in growth in urban centers the post-pandemic reality will be that more people will see to live in rural areas and smaller communities. We will begin to see a migration of urban dwellers to smaller communities in the next few years. There is no question that coronavirus is speeding up future of work

Education is being pushed now to make online learning universal and the entire education system will be transformed. Online learning will lower the costs of education and allow for greater access to lifelong learners. Universities will have WeWork type locations where students can meet for face to face gatherings as part of the online curriculum.

The entertainment industry will see more expansion in ‘storytelling’ via multiple contributors. YouTube creators will provide stories for themed channels ie/ HBO, Disney+.

Social distancing will be a new normal in that there will be guidelines about ‘gathering’. At large events, we may see that it is mandatory to wear ‘mask’s or gloves or proving that you are healthy. (Via AI-enabled health sensors).

Retail will increase its focus on ‘experience locations’ versus simply stores and will increase online experiences to engage clients into spending more with their brands.

Virtual reality will integrate with the travel industry and will provide real-time experiences such as experiencing a zip line in Maui and then encourage the ‘real thing’.

We will see a rise in local manufacturing or regional manufacturing. The food industry will increase the local grown and local sourced trajectory.

Ultimately the best outcome we can hope for is that we will see an increase in global cooperation between nations, more information sharing, more collaboration towards creating prosperity for each nation and for the world as a whole.

The future is finally here and it is a major disruption like coronavirus that has brought us there.

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