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4 minute read

What Employers and Employees Can Expect From the New Normal

The COVID-19 outbreak has transformed homes into offices, divided the young against the old, and deepened the disparities between affluent and poor, mask-wearers and mask-haters. So, what does it mean for employers and employees in this new normal?

Remember January 2020? You most likely left the house to go to work or school. You ate in restaurants and went to the movies or the gym. The thought of wearing a face mask every day probably never occurred to you.

When the WHO labelled the Coronavirus a pandemic, the world came to a halt, and people were perplexed. To slow down the spread of the virus, governments worldwide fought to keep their citizens safe by declaring various levels of absolute lockdown. People were urged to wear masks and be socially distant; businesses were forced to close or relocate their activities online. Businesses failed, and many people’s mental health deteriorated.

In the book Post Corona, authored by Scott Galloway, we examine how the COVID-19 pandemic has altered our lives. Scott Galloway is a marketing professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, a public speaker, author, podcast presenter, and entrepreneur.

The COVID pandemic accelerated digital adoption

The e-commerce industry has been steadily expanding over the previous two decades. By early 2020, approximately 16% of all retail was conducted online. After COVID-19 came, the industry exploded. Online retail nearly doubled in just eight weeks.

Almost every tech-related industry experienced similar upswings. Before the pandemic, schools and institutions were gradually implementing internet platforms. Then, in just a few weeks, almost every class from kindergarten to college switched to online learning. Our adoption of online learning hastened.

Similar experiences occurred in the workplace. Many staff were told to work from home and many employees first had their taste of attending online meetings and using digital collaborative software. While there might have been some anxiety at the start, digital adoption and remote working proved possible in many instances. In fact, when we fast-forward to today, many employees prefer the flexible work arrangements via remote working.

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Many skills, such as digital marketing also came into focus. If you are an employee looking to pick up new skillsets, going digital can do no wrong. As more companies embarked on their digital transformation efforts, we also see an increased demand for jobs like software engineers and coder. The new economy has brought forth a greater demand for digital and computing skills. If these digital skillsets speak to you, now is the best time for you to learn, develop and catch the wave.

We gained greater clarity on our priorities and what makes us happy

As many Singaporean workers worked from home, they also get to spend more time together with their family. A number of us started to take a step back and re-evaluate our priorities in life. Some decided on better work-life balance, while some decided on a career change to better pursue their aspirations. Many people also took the chance to upgrade themselves and learn new skills. In a weird way, the pandemic led us to greater clarity of our life goals and what makes us happy. COVID-19 taught us that it is never too late to review our career options, and the axiom of “lifelong learning” is truly applicable.

The pandemic landscape made it ripe for start-ups and SMEs to seek out the next big thing

If you are a business owner or a start-up founder, now may be the best time to look for opportunities:

  • There has been a vast and expanding pool of low-cost capital. A decade of technological advancement provided venture capitalists with a large sum of money to invest in other enterprises. Softbank, for example, has invested more than $100 billion in new ventures.
  • Many start-ups took the opportunity to use innovation and disruption against industries that have remained unchanged for decades. The pandemic led to new ways of doing things, and that resulted in new business opportunities.
  • Big tech companies are flushed with cash. Eager to expand their offers, they may be willing to spend a lot of money to buy out potential competitors.

Galloway predicts that start-ups that combine rapid growth with high revenue; generate consistent revenue through subscription model; and provide products that become more useful over time would be the ones that could disrupt the market post-pandemic.

We need to work together as a more robust community to overcome this crisis and avert the next one

Months after the pandemic, sociologists discovered that the virus threatens people with pre-existing conditions and is dangerous to the underprivileged or poor communities.

To overcome the pandemic, we saw many communities coming together to help one another, where unity and kindness prevail in times of crisis. There is also increased support for our healthcare professionals and many community events were organised to celebrate their contribution and commitment in fighting the virus.

The silver lining to this whole episode is the validation of our indomitable spirit to overcome difficulties in unity. While the pandemic brought us many challenges, it has also brought us a greater clarity towards what we want in life, and a flourish of kindness, community spirit and good deeds.

This article is co-created by NexPage, a translated book summary app, and Workipedia.

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