Communicated Content – The world rarely agrees on many subjects – the Melinda and Bill Gates divorce, the long-term value of cryptocurrency, or the identity of the basketball GOAT.
Despite all these levels of opinion diversity, nearly all humans on planet earth will agree that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we do things around here.
Nowhere is the change more prevalent than in the “work” space. Needless to say, the pandemic has revolutionized the concept of work. The world is obviously favoring a more “modern” outlook of work over a traditional outlook.
Perhaps what’s more significant is how people are ditching previously set-in-stone career trajectories to ‘try something new’.
In this article, we’ll discuss two things; the changes to work and career because of the pandemic, and whether these changes will be permanent.
What exactly did the pandemic change about work and career
There is truly a blend of opportunities and challenges, the pandemic and its attendant effects, has ushered in including lockdowns and many other government policies. For some people and businesses, the world looks better for them, for others, the opposite is their reality.
One such problematic reality was that a massive number of jobs (and money) were lost during the pandemic. Research by the World Economic Forum revealed that at least 114 million people were put out of jobs in 2020 during the heat of the pandemic.
The working hour losses of 2020 because of loss of jobs are a lot higher than the losses recorded during the financial crisis of 2009. According to data gathered by Pew Research Center, most workers who had to cut down on hours and pay are now earning less than they earned before the pandemic began. The extent of the loss of jobs during the pandemic was so massive, it felt like Thanos snapped his finger and made a quarter of the earth’s jobs vanish.
The negative effect of the pandemic on work, even if felt all around the world, generally affected certain classes of jobs more than others. Jobs that required the physical presence of people were hung out to dry. With total lockdowns springing up even in the most developed countries around the world, industries like tourism, transportation, sports, and entertainment seemed desolate for a significant period. In the world of sports, many middle-tier football clubs had to pull hard strings to stay afloat.
The Power to Adapt: Remote Work and Freelancing
Two months into the lockdown and it was obvious every attentive economic and financial organization was worried. The damaging effect to work seemed too corrosive. But that feeling of helplessness did not last too long.
Work began to resume growth by taking different shapes. Employers found newer ways to keep their products and services in high demand, employees discovered newer ways to stay relevant and productive – altogether making it more convenient for customers to enjoy products and services without risking personal health.
The idea of a more remote-based work system has been in the pipeline but something about COVID-19 propelled the idea out of the pipeline into reality. With the help of technology and a mindset shift, a huge chunk of the global workforce can work comfortably remotely. This, in turn, has had huge benefits in terms of reducing transport expenses, consumer spending costs, and in some cases, increased productivity.
Something about the pandemic’s career-altering effect and remote work has helped people to realize that a career path is not static or stationary. There is the realization that a person can pursue more than one career path by putting any skill they have to work.
A direct result of this realization was a “Freelance Boom”. The need to make extra income, work remotely, do something different and monetize a skill combined to give the freelancing industry a radical boost. A survey by a leading global freelance platform reported a 22% increase in freelance earnings.
In the freelance world, one thing became obvious – everyone was there; Germans, Russians, Americans, Chinese, British people, Nigerians, and every other nationality are all fully active in the freelance community. The challenge with succeeding in such a diverse community is that there’s a tall cultural and language blockade.
But, with the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on work, it has become essential to overcome the language barrier and every worker should be looking for ways to do so.
Scaling through that challenge could only be possible if a person learned to communicate in another language efficiently and effectively. Proper communication in more than one language is vital to success in freelancing because it opens twice as many doors. Thrice as many doors if a person knows three languages.
Conclusion: Will the pandemic’s effect last forever?
The overwhelming majority of experts believe it will be erroneous to believe the world’s workforce will return to the same way it was in 2019. Already, some companies are fully adopting remote work systems or creating a hybrid model of remote and physical work. More people are quitting their “standard” jobs to become full-time freelancers.
The thing to do for any worker is to acquire new skills (like learning a new language) and use these skills to open up a new career path with more chance of success.