Post COVID-19: What Will Work Look Like?

By | May 8, 2020

The post-COVID world will be nothing like what it was before. We’re looking at changes that won’t just determine how we interact with each other but also how we work. Let’s take a look.

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COVID-19 has offered lessons that will probably be difficult for us to forget in our entire lifetime. Until a vaccine appears on the scene and is made commercially available, we’re looking at a complete overhaul of not just how we’re going to interact with each other but also how we’re going to work. Social distancing will most likely not go away even after this has blown over. If you hold a job or are looking to make a career transition, know that work will not look the same as it did before. Let’s take a look:

1. Work From Home

Whoever thought that work doesn’t get done when employees work from home must have had their beliefs shattered because COVID proved that it’s not just possible for thousands of employees to work from home but they also don’t need to fly around the globe to attend meetings. Companies till now considered the seat cost of an employee (cost arising from office rent, electricity and other amenities) to be an essential item in the company’s balance sheet. But COVID-19 has forced employees to work from home and has shown employers that it is possible to dispense with this cost and make employees work from home without letting their deliverables take a hit.

If you’re in a role that requires just a computer with an internet connection or a telephone, remote working is a very real possibility for you. Roles in coding, writing, designing, customer support, consulting, finance and accounting etc. are likely to emerge as the front-runners in the job market in the post-COVID world. Companies that employ people in these roles may implement rotational/flexi-attendance or complete work from home for them. This will help companies save tremendous costs on seating. As an employee, you can expect output-based compensation and more stringent monitoring policies.

Those individuals whose work involves handling tangible assets or physical interactions with other people are likely to experience no change. Examples of these could be those working in manufacturing, construction, production or those working in hospitals, patient care, salons etc.

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2. Change In Job Profile

Working professionals may also have to suddenly deal with a change in their job profiles. There’s no denying the fact that COVID-19 has forced a lot of companies to take a hard look at their P&L sheet and find ways to optimise costs. This has led to mass layoffs and furloughs. Individuals who’ve emerged unscathed from this may have to take on additional responsibilities. For instance, if you’re handling business development for your company and your work role earlier involved meeting several potential customers through the day, social distancing may eliminate the possibility of it completely in the post-COVID world. You may have to switch to making sales calls to deliver the same results. Those handling volumes of data will have to quickly learn tools that will enhance their productivity in order to cope with the additional workload.

Cashiers at supermarkets or those working as shopping assistants at retail stores may find themselves out of jobs since customers may want to order everything online with self-checkout and billing to reduce physical exposure.

Additional Reading: Will Job Loss Insurance Help You If You Get Laid Off?

3. Appraisals And Increments

To counter the impact of the lockdown, companies are doing everything in their might to rein in costs until the revenues and growth catch up. This means that you may have to take a pay cut for a few months but know that this increases the chances of business continuity and survival for your company. In turn, you still get to retain your job.

One of the things you can expect is a deferment of your bonus and increment for the previous year. The company may even convert a percentage of your fixed pay into variable or performance-based pay as an interim measure to avoid laying off people. If you’re working in severely impacted sectors like travel and hospitality, measures could be more drastic like layoffs. Other sectors that could also be in the firing line are advertising and media, recruitment, products related to discretionary spend that can be deferred like fashion, entertainment, durables and real estate. If you’re working in sectors like FMCG, healthcare and online education, you may face a temporary blip or no change in demand or growth. In fact, you may even get an increment.

Additional Reading: Money Management During The Coronavirus Crisis

There’s no denying that COVID-19 has severely impacted our finances but it will be foolish to rule out the possibility of another pandemic in the future. We will have to be prepared to live through times of recurring pandemics and take steps to minimise our losses in the future. So that you’re better prepared the next time, stick to the tried-and-tested method of planning and investing for a secure future. Creating an emergency fund with 3 to 6 times your monthly income is a good place to start. You will be able to safely fall back on this option and continue to meet your necessary expenses when the going gets tough. Short-term investments with flexible liquidity will also help you tide over difficult times. Your investments are your safest bet when it comes to protecting your financial future against job loss.
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