Monday,26 April 2021 08:16 PM IST
Mumbai, April 26
All of us are now fairly acquainted with the novel coronavirus pandemic, what it can do to human lives, businesses, and society, at large. It was last year when one of my colleagues first told me that people coming from China are being screened for coronavirus.
It was a new concept to us, though of course we had the Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala in 2018, which however was confined to the state borders, and was brought in control with stringent measures. Coronavirus in its scale and magnitude has surpassed all previous epidemics, overlapping geographical boundaries.
The pandemic didn’t make any distinctions, the rich, the poor, man, woman, aged or the young, its intensity has been equal. It speeded up the change in the way of working which was already in progress, albeit slowly.
The future perhaps arrived yesterday with a larger influx of technology and a paradigm shift to digital platforms for work, education, meetings, interviews, socializing, hosting events, product launches, movie releases, and so on. The concept of working remotely is becoming a new and acceptable norm, more so with the need for social distancing and travel restrictions.
IT sector has already moved a sizeable proportion of their workforce to work from home model and in doing so they are finding rich dividends such as avoiding payment of commercial rent, transportation cost, cutting down water and electricity bills, etc. and simultaneously extracting more work from employees. In many companies plans are already afoot to make this arrangement a regular norm as it bodes well for their business.
Workplace changes are also creating new frontiers and opportunities as witnessed from the surge in requirement of freelancers with requisite experience and expertise. The pandemic has also ushered in the need for reskilling and upskilling, both in technology related and non-technology related streams. Going forward these will be major determinants on whether someone is suitable for a particular job or not.
Well, it is true that mankind wasn’t prepared for such eventualities when the lockdown was announced last year and it is also true that individual houses aren’t geared up to working from home. However, we need to adjust to the tough situation and given the second wave of coronavirus and the spike in cases recently businesses will have to think shifting to working and connecting remotely wherever possible.
The workflow, people management, products management, etc. were likely to change with the passage of time but the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent lockdowns and curfews have just accelerated the changes.
Though India has initiated the biggest vaccine drive ever, the virus hasn’t slowed down, it continues to rage in newer forms and the vaccine doesn’t guarantee you total immunity. It may mitigate the complications of coronavirus, even after taking vaccine one needs to adhere to the standard operating procedures, wear face masks and maintain social distancing. The public needs to brace up to reorganize and reorient themselves to stay tuned in the new altered world.