In May 2021, Royal Dutch Shell lost a landmark court case which ruled that the energy giant must bring its emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. Shell had already planned to become net-zero business by 2050, but the ruling means they must slash emissions faster and harder.
Summarising these shifts in our working life and lifestyles, the management consultancy, McKinsey & Company, said that the pandemic has broken ‘cultural and technological barriers that prevented remote work in the past’. According to analysts at the firm Covid-19 has set in ‘motion a structural shift in where work takes place, at least for some people.’
So, whether you’re an employer or an employee, the future of work is likely to be at the forefront of your mind. Despite the lifting of lockdown measures in the UK and in other nations, our working lives are unlikely to return to what they were before the pandemic – a quiet revolution is happening right beneath our feet.
What Will Change as the World Emerges from the Pandemic?Once Covid-19 is under control thanks to the widespread national and international vaccination rollouts, the economy will steadily recover. A consequence of this will be a new mix of jobs as the economy acclimatises and restructures itself to accommodate the deep changes brought about by the pandemic.
Sectors such as healthcare, STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – and management are all expected to grow, with a declining demand for roles like face-to-face customer service.
The trend towards automation is also likely to accelerate. Susan Lund, leader of the McKinsey Global Institute, recently predicted a ‘continuing automation in factory settings and production facilities.’
Writing for Forbes, Kweilin Ellingrud, also anticipates that ‘there will be more disruptions and a greater need for reskilling than there was before Covid-19.’
‘The pandemic has accelerated three broad sets of trends that were visible before: Much greater reliance on remote work, including more virtual meetings and less travel; higher use of e-commerce and virtual transactions (including buy online–pick-up in store, restaurant delivery, online grocery, online education, and telemedicine); and greater adoption of automation.’
Upskilling and refreshing your C.V. will be crucial to adapting to the fast pace of change we’re likely to face in the near future. If you’re a business, you will need to anticipate and adapt, improving your e-commerce journey or interface, or ramping up your delivery capacities and ensuring your website is user friendly and able to accommodate increasing levels of traffic from potential customers.
Upskill to Adapt in a New Normal WorldIf you’re an employer or someone looking to secure and grow in the coming years, skills to look out for will require more social and emotional depth.
For instance, leadership and interpersonal skills will become more prominent qualities in demand, especially for healthcare and social care, two sectors which are expected to grow. In addition, technological skills such as programming are likely to soar as our world becomes increasingly digital focused.
Branka Modrusan, of PwC Academy, interviewed in an instructional piece called Upskilling for the New Normal, commented:
‘Any efforts to make the public sector more citizen-centric inevitably have to include upskilling across all organisational levels: frontline workers need better communication and problem resolution skills, back office staff require data analysis and collaboration capabilities, and senior management need stronger creative thinking and change management skills.’
The website Top Universities has also compiled a useful guide about the key skills needed to succeed in a post-coronavirus business world. Again, leadership, flexibility, and the ability to adapt sit highly alongside tech savviness and communication.
The coronavirus pandemic will inevitably restructure and transform the way our businesses and working lives operate. To make the best of these changes – and much may well be positive, especially regarding adapting to the climate crisis – we need to take onboard the fast changing nature of our societies and the new structure of commerce, both offline and off. If we reskill either ourselves or, as a business, our workforce, we can better ensure our ability to thrive in a post-pandemic age.
In sum, one key to this new world will be our changing relationship to technology. Stephanie L, writing for Top Universities, has predicted a new technological revolution on the horizon, writing that our ‘investment not just in technologies but in people who understand technology is essential.’
This appears to be the direction the post-Covid world is taking, and both businesses and individuals may be wise to heed her words.
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