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Will coronavirus change the world of work?

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The ripple of COVID-19 careens globally with more than 2 million confirmed cases including 133,000 deaths more or less. It has locked humans, organizations, roads and tracks, air traffic and ocean piercing ships with the pushing factor of passing life in caves and isolation as in the ancient era.
COVID-19 effect has caught up human society into a perplexed imbroglio and world community into a sheer bemoan. World Economic Forum reveals that more than five million Americans will face unemployment with a possible hype of 22 Million more un-employees. International Monetary Fund claimed that Asian countries are going to face zero growth for the first ever in the history of sixty years. Developed nations are being ripped off by unforeseen attack of novel corona virus causing irrecoverable loss of human life and socio-economic set back. Individual and collective efforts are being taken to meet the challenge, but yet hope is only panacea in the current crisis.
Its peripheral effect is ostensible and inimical, but the wave has heavily attached the world of work and forced organizations to change their objectives with new strategies. From hiring to retention and from training to development, COVID-19 has forced to manage organizational behavior with varying circumstances. It is going to reshape entire outlook of world of work with a number of unexpected changes is likely to change with few challenges.
A bird eye view over possible changes to the world of work needs to be focused with precautionary measures to bring the role of organizations commensurate with societal need. It was time when absentees required to be dealt with strict sanctions as per respective disciplinary codes, but current era has supported the contactless interfaces and interactions amongst the employees from top to bottom. Hence, presence of workers in the office premises is no more mandatory. Machine is going to replace the man with flawless actions and possibly unprecedented results with a degree of high expectations and outcome. Workers presence can be checked virtually.
How much modern organizations are ready to accept new change in attendance of the workers is a question to be addressed with satisfaction. However, future working will no more require presence in the office from pre-dawn to dusk, rather workers can perform their duties while sitting from their bedrooms, corridors, public parks and any other suitable place. Organizations need to accommodate such culture and assure timely preparedness to compete for their survival and development as well.
COVID-19 has changed the dynamics of work. Equipped with modern means of communication and infrastructure, modern technology is replacing traditional and conventional working environment. Skype meetings, Zoom video conferencing, Web-conferencing, Webinars, etc. are modern means of conducting formal meetings due to social distances brought by the pandemic. How to manage distribute agendas, thoughtful discussions, agreeing upon and timely feedback will still be a matter of grave concern.
Organizations need to enhance digital side and requisite infrastructure to meet its objectives. Will novel gathering mechanism be feasible, attainable and be a regular feature, is still demanding a rational debate between the management and workers. There are likely chances that some small organizations and business ventures may not meet new challenges and most probably vanish from the world of work.
Not only managing the organizational business with the help of modern means of communication and IT equipment but also how to monitor, get timely feedback and responding the customers will still remain a gigantic challenging job owing to COVID-19.
Though, few apps are still in place to perform such job, but what if the monitoring, feedback and response will be only be the means of IT gadgets and modern apps. Effective measurement and assessment of the customers and organizations through modern apps will be costly, unacceptable and unsatisfactory in the outset, but changing circumstances have forced to accept the unaccepted. Now, national and global apps would chalk-out organizational plans. No doubt GPS data is to be utilized to keep tracking the beneficiary and ensure privacy, but managing data bank with heavy repository capacity will decide the fate of future organizations. How much organizations are ready to
Continued on ensure modern means of assessment, monitoring, and managing data banks is a lurking query in the present era.
Artificial Intelligence is a main source of modern organizations. Sustainability of the business will be considered reliable if the use of machine is excessive than man- a worker. Is AI really main component of organizational activities, will remain a major debate to start in near future. Future of human being is future of AI. Organization without following modern principles and processes of AI will remain futile. Changing nature of AI requires immediate development, preparedness, maintenance and updation as per change in the modern society.
Driverless cars, airplane, cash counters, auto fuel engines and monitoring of superstore are common feature of the 1st world. For developing nations, organizational set up without AI will remain untrustworthy, charmless and determinant to failure of business. In future generation Z with AI will realign future course of actions with modern AI concepts and obligations. As it is usually used with digitally technology and thickly entangled with information age.
AI is potentially effective tool to support all organizational objectives and would also decide the fate with success or frivolous. AI can be useful to manage socio-economic fabric or society with significant effect. Organizations need to get ready for AI as machines have no mouth to mask. Thanks to pandemic.
Increased dependency on robotics is a high priority in the modern world. In the near future, rich organizations will remain richer and the poor organization poorer. Due to incapacity of modern means of IT equipment and robotic like technologies, organizations will remain choosy and selectively cooperate with each other. To what extent organizations of developing society and its manpower will depend upon modern methods, is a perplexing question to utilize human potential. Indeed COVID-19 changed the entire life cycle of organizational culture.
Merely a single robot is going to replace human wit and wisdom. In future, robotics are going to chair the tope and middle management decision making debates. It will also replace a man on the cost of man. Whether current organizational set up is ready to meet anticipated robotic-employment model? Readiness of organizations with parallel HR set up i.e. robotics and man will decide the fate of the business.
Modern clinics require no more thickly adjustment of technicians, nursing staff and ward boys. Telepathy is a process through which communication from one person to another is possible even before pandemic. It is indeed an ability commonly available in the human society. COVID-19 brought modern health care system and Telemedicine in the healthcare profession is gaining ground. Now curing the human virtually is easy and possible omen. Will human mind without seeing a doctor accept the medicine being recommended by? Will hospitals without staff be called as hospitals? Will patients be cured, especially victims of road accidents and other injuries? Will family doctors be relied upon without visiting family?
There are a number of other allied questions which COVID-19 forced to respond with. There is no denying the fact that current era is the era of digital world and informative age. Health sector will require new thinking to play its significant role. Stakeholders will have to respond and anticipate the requirements if distances remained as a main feature.
Human society is already well cognizant with online shopping, but we still believe searching parking slots, standing in queues, waiting for bill payment, ordering Pepsi and pizza while watching movies in the homes. Will employees working on such organizations meet customer’s need with satisfaction or otherwise. Will customer’s post purchase behavior be responded with future complacence? Customer’s price payment, access to variety of product, checkout out, guarantee over delivery and many more allied queries are yet to be responded physically. But COVID-19 prefers social distances.
In the given circumstances, earning profits will remain a matter of a big question because customers usually rely on personal interaction in all faculties of market. A customer is owner of a market, but this notion shall be a big question to decide the ownership in the digital era. Supply chain and service delivery is the main mechanism to accommodate the customer demand, yet it shall also be questionable due to consistent social distance between the market and customer. Online shopping is replacing the old system and future organizations can decide the fate of their current and anticipate HR.
Future celebrations of individual, organizational rituals will be celebrated virtually. What would be the situation when man will celebrate socio-cultural, individual-familial and organizational events digitally? Time is heading way to norms. Will employees be able to take part in all affairs digitally? Will parliament run and decide its business through digital gadgets? Can court proceed its cases on Skype, Zoom and many more similar digi-set ups? Will the defaulters be punished in tax matters?
There is score of similar queries requiring physical appearance on the ground, but what if social distance is mandatory and celebration of event required through virtual world. COVID-19 has brought not only social distances, but it has soured the charm of rituals and its celebrations with friends and families. How to ensure future celebration of individual and institutional events, are required to be responded accordingly.
Playing traditional games and enjoying recreational activities with pleasure and pompous has significant effect on human health. Will organizational members be able to play cricket, hockey, table tennis and many more games on internet? Perhaps no and not at all, but pandemic has forcedly risen E-sports culture. What a pity. A father of yester year taunting his kid on excessive use of IT gadget, will follow the same habit! It seems nature is rescheduling its agenda.
New versions like F1 cars, Call of duty league, Capcom cup, Code wars, Cybercafé and Due arena etc. will be main games to be played by the employees. Will such recreational model sooth him? Are organizations ready to bring system as an organizational feature? Is it really possible to adopt it? Will employees really enjoy from virtual playgrounds? Will the cost be borne happily? Since many more questions still demand pragmatic approach in view of pandemic. A happy worker is a productive worker and will remain a concern of the organizations with post COVID-19 era.
Suffice to highlight the future needs of HR and organizational set up in view of present COVID-19. There are many other unaddressed areas such as critical policy guidelines and SOPs, result-based activities, employee consisting motivation plans, training and development, retention and layoffs, prizes and promotions, etc. which still may hit back severely due to coronavirus. Timely preparedness will decide the future course of employments, organization success and smooth running of socio-economic cycle.
Technology is going to replace the humanity, but technology cannot replace a human enveloped with wit and wisdom. It is high time to realign organizational objectives combating future techno-pandemic. Changing nature of world of work requires pragmatic and precautionary measures to make the most of human capital for a sustainable human society. Though social distance has gulfed humanity but we can go back to normal if responded pragmatically and rationally.
The COVID-19 now becomes a global pandemic, and many international organizations have suffered great losses including those providing technical, financial and capital support to Pakistan. The IMF is predicting negative growth for the world economy this year, its worst performance over 60 years. It may become difficult for some sources to provide loans or aid under such situation. Future organizations to get ready cope up with new changes in view of pandemic.