The year 2020 has been nothing short of being the biggest adversity faced by our generation so far. And while there have been multiple impacts on the economies and well-being of the entire world, we are fighting each challenge and trying to find an opportunity in adversity every day.
And this is what Dussehra stands for. Of fighting evil with strength, strategy and patience. We started the year 2020 with many hopes and aspirations but soon were struck with one of the biggest crises the world has ever faced. And for the working population, it was suddenly a drastic shift to finding newer ways of getting work done while staying relevant to the changing dynamics of the workplace. There were multiple challenges to be dealt with, and it seemed like a never-ending battle. But as they say, good eventually wins over evil, so did we by finding our own ways to deal with the crisis.
As we celebrate the victory of good over evil this Dussehra, we share with you the top five challenges or evils that the pandemic brought at the workplace and how we found ways to overcome them. Read on.
No physical office
As the COVID-19 cases increased, the office management announced work from home until further notice. Employees were super happy with this move. It was like a surprise holiday as no one had to rush every day for office, beat the traffic, and reach on time. After a few days, people started missing that chaos. We started complaining of too many notifications, pings, and unwanted webinars. That’s human nature because we can’t be happy with anything and we get bored very quickly. This crisis gave us the challenge to remain agile and productive while working remotely.
Given the current scenario at the workplace, we accepted the challenge and the mindset has changed across the world. Companies are doing better, many of them are back on track and some of them are clocking good numbers too. No office was unthinkable but we have found our ways to overcome this challenge and created our own virtual offices without being in the office premises.
Loss of jobs
One of the devastating outcomes of the COVID-19 induced pandemic has been the loss of jobs due to economic and business uncertainty. Consecutive lockdowns meant that businesses that were not deemed essential or digitally enabled were staring at months to closure. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that at least half of the world’s workforce was adversely affected and were ‘at risk’. The time has been used by many to reskill, build their own businesses and explore alternate opportunities. As the treatment, care and awareness of the virus continues to increase. And as more workplaces open up their operations, companies are re-employing workers, and job opportunities are rising.
More stress and burnout
At a time when the phrase ‘digital fatigue’ had just begun surfacing, COVID-19 injected an unavoidable digital rush in our lives. Want to work? Go online. Want to talk to family and friends? Go online. Need groceries and essentials? Go online. Need a break from it all and could use some entertainment? Again, go online! The fear and anxiety brought on by COVID-19 around human life and functioning, accompanied by the need to be digitally present to stay connected, and the impending solution for understanding, allowing and drawing that line between home and work has only driven the human mind to greater levels of stress and burnout, with lesser or limited options to cope. While priorities shifted and the need for much more focus on wellness emerged, the ability to actually act upon it and enhance one’s well-being or that of the employees is yet to see the light of day. Conversations continue, but translating the need and intent of a healthier mind and life into actions remains a far-fetched goal. However, there are little springs of hope that relentlessly strive to educate and inspire the human race to pause, reflect and enhance the quality of life and mind. With holistic wellness now replacing the narrow approach to well-being, the wellness journey has just begun.
Some skills aren’t relevant anymore!
One of the biggest evils that COVID-19 brought about was the realization that some of the skills that we had were no longer relevant! While organizations have tried giving us ample opportunities to upskill in the past, for many of us, it was just a tick-in-the-box activity. But then COVID-19 happened and made us feel the fear of irrelevance. Seven months into the new world of work and it’s crystal clear that learning and development (L&D) will continue to top corporate agendas in 2020 as businesses adapt to the ways that their employees prefer to learn. We hate to say but sooner or later, there will be jobs and skills that will go redundant and you might land yourself in a soup. It took a virus to make you realize the importance of learning in the current times. With WFH being a norm, we can actually save time on a lot of other things and focus on upskilling ourselves. The e-learning platforms have taken a huge leap and are providing the best and valuable courses to each one of us out there. Your daily dose of learning is just a click away, thanks to technology, again. The focus on skilling and development across industries is now more than ever and for leaders to map their employee performance trajectory, in-house learning programmes are also seeing a rise. They say learning is a journey. Stands so true, even in such times! Keep learning!
No physical interactions
The biggest bomb that COVID-19 dropped on us was that physical and social interactions had to be stopped. It struck at the very core of being human- our connections, our meetups with friends, family, and colleagues, our social gatherings and get- togethers which make us feel alive, our office life which is a major part of our life, our travels which is like breathing for us, even our daily shopping chores. Yet as we struggled with this sudden isolation brought upon by us, technology came to our rescue. Our Zoom calls and Hangout calls gave us a semblance of our office lives as well as became our goto mode for any celebration or get-together virtually, our WhatsApp calls became our daily source of social interaction with our friends and family, and our Netflix subscriptions replaced our movie theatres. Technology allowed us to stay united even though the virus put physical and geographical warriors between us. And as we move on to another year, it will play a big role in our connections and interactions - both at work and in life as we continue to fight the evil of COVID-19!