When the COVID-19 threat is finally over (or significantly diminishes), what will normal work and life look like? It’s unrealistic to think that overnight we’ll suddenly revert to the way things were in the middle of 2019. An Associated Press article that appeared recently in the Chicago Tribune (Nations charting the path to normalcy) quoted several governments and health officials speaking about orchestrating an end to virus-related restrictions. Everyone agreed that when the virus threat eases, we’ll see a very gradual easing of restrictions to prevent a second wave of contagion. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to linger for quite some time.
In an excellent article in Forbes (The Impact Of The Coronavirus On HR And The New Normal Of Work), Jeanne Meister, founding partner of Future Workplace, says, “The Covid-19 virus is becoming the accelerator for one of the greatest workplace transformations of our lifetime. How do we work, exercise, shop, learn, communicate, and of course, where we work, will be changed forever!” She cites a Gartner finding that 88% of Americans who are currently working are working from home. That number is bound to go down as the pandemic eases, but it may not go down drastically, especially since in many areas it appears that schools will be out for the rest of the school year.
In the article, Meister makes several interesting predictions with training implications.
• CEOs Will Be Bold in Protecting and Investing in Their People
Among other things, investing in your people means investing in the whole person. This opens training requirements not only in traditional skills training but also training in physical and mental health and well-being.
• There Will Be a Surge in Remote Working after the Coronavirus
The ongoing situation not only requires a change in corporate learning strategy but in many cases, it requires training people on “how to work from home.” Several of the clients I work with have many locations and virtual teams composed of individuals all over the world. For them, the transition to the current environment has been relatively seamless. For others however, it’s a completely new experience with a new set of challenges. I’ve worked at home for the better part of the last decade, and I’ll share some of the things I’ve learned in a future blog post. If you’re a corporate learning leader though and working from home is a new experience for parts of your organization, it is essential to teach your personnel how to be productive while working at home
• Learning Will Be Radically Transformed
Even before the COVID-19 outbreak began, industry experts estimated the e-Learning market to triple by 2025, reaching $325 billion. That estimate is bound to increase as corporations look to restructure their training
• Organizations will Double Down on Re-Skilling Workers
Meister predicts the effects of the pandemic will accelerate business toward the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the need for equipping many existing workers for new jobs in the next-generation workplace. This too presents training needs for teaching workers new skills.
In short, many of the impacts of the current pandemic are likely to be long-lasting if not permanent. The adaptations we make now will not only get us through the current crisis but equip us for surviving the next one. I recommend Meister’s article to everyone, and don’t hesitate to reach out to Mastech Digital if you need help to formulate your training strategy in this “new normal.”