The explosion of the coronavirus around the world has had unprecedented impact on people, businesses and economies. Here’s how we think it will change the way we work:
We will revisit what professions and purposes are valuable:
When an unskilled backpacker could be paid up to $180,000 a year to stand at a construction site holding a stop sign, and our nurses, teachers and police are earning around half that, we have lost sight of what is important.
The coronavirus pandemic is likely to change the professions and work we value. It is also likely to reset people’s perspectives and aspirations as they realise what they had and question where they were going.
Businesses who research, prepare for and embrace these changing values and models of thinking will benefit.
Remote work will boom:
While many tech businesses were already remote-work advocates and using collaborative cloud technology like Google Docs or Office 365, many more were still using offline tools and manual processes.
They must now rush to implement new digital collaborative team solutions to cater for staff confined to their homes. And they are likely to like what they see, appreciating the benefits of flexible remote working. Coronavirus will also hasten existing digital rollouts across entire industries such as in remote healthcare.
And history tells us those workers are unlikely to want to return to “how it used to be”. Just as many women were unwilling to return to being a homemaker after World War 2 – having experienced independence and a greater purpose. And so began their long fight for workplace equality that continues in many workplaces to this day.
However, remote work doesn’t help those working in hospitality, the trades or other industries where face-to-face interaction is essential.
Anti globalisation sentiment will continue to grow:
Anti-globalisation sentiment has been growing across the world, evident in Trump’s election and trade war against China, the Brexit vote or in Italy’s far right movement.
It is expected that coronavirus will hasten this trend, with the far right already using it as part of their narrative for closed borders.
However, the tide will turn, and globalisation will not stop, along with all the economic benefits it offers. It’s just that its growth might just be tempered with an increase in locally sourced products and services.
Australia will reduce its reliance on China
A February 2020 report by Bloomberg cites Australia as “the most China-reliant economy in the developed world”, with them buying around one third of our exports, accounting for 38 per cent of our foreign students and 15 per cent of our tourists.
And it’s not just us. Countries globally have been reducing their manufacturing capacity and relying on China, a strategy that quickly disrupted supply chains during the coronavirus.
While Australia’s relationship with China is likely to remain strong post-coronavirus, we are also likely to see businesses and governments mitigating the risks that have become glaringly obvious.