Covid-19 has had drastic impacts on all aspects of daily life of people across the world. With domestic and work boundaries becoming blurred, maintaining work-life balance has become increasingly difficult. The absence of physical boundaries between the two surroundings has impacted both the family as well as work dynamics. Experts have named this phenomenon as “role blurring” which means the difficulty in distinguishing one’s role in a highly integrated environment. Higher ‘role blurring’ levels mean more conflicts in work-life.
“Role blurring” is on the rise
Since now the domestic space is also functioning as a workplace, the negative effects of ‘role blurring’ are setting in. People are changing their perspective of work from home and are starting to view it as a constantly high demanding job, unlike the pre-pandemic times. Individuals across the UK are struggling to complete non-work-related tasks as ‘being available’ all the time has become the new norm of the workplace. This has resulted the anxiety and stress levels to shoot up sharply.
Leaving behind traditional work environment
Earlier, work from home used to be a luxury enjoyed by selected people in an organization or self-employed individuals. According to a research by the Office of National Statistics, in 2019, only 30% of employees in UK had got the chance to work from home ever. Now, the work from home movement, advancing with full force, has led employees to adapt various workplace collaboration tools. The transition from a traditional work environment to a digital one has put many organizations in the spot, compelling them to figure out the right technology and equipments in a short span of time. Scientists believe that in the future, living with the Coronavirus is highly likely reality. Considering that, it is safe to conclude to that remote working and digital collaboration tools will play a significant role in post-lockdown world.
According to a report by McKinsey, approximately 7.6 million jobs (24% of the workforce in UK) have been impacted due to the coronavirus-induced lockdowns. In the first half of April, the UK witnessed around 22% of its working-age population (approx. 9 million individuals) to have been ‘furloughed’. A research by London School of Economics states that an upsurge in unemployment has triggered significant anxiety amongst those who have retained their jobs.
Post-covid workplace will be a digital one
Industries and organizations across the UK and world are facing the brunt of the Novel Coronavirus. Given the far-fetched impact of the pandemic, our everyday work routines are expected to change. Various businesses are reconsidering their work and operational structure in order to align with the ‘new normal’ of working. Keeping the health of the employees paramount, an exponential upsurge is seen in the demand of technology and numerous collaboration tools that enable remote work. While the stock market took a plunge, stock prices of trending video conferencing tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Slack took an upward path. In March 2020, Zoom recorded approximately 200 million daily meeting participants.
The outbreak of covid-19 is expected to induce a notable change in the working patterns of the workers. With almost 70% of the people preferring more flexibility in their workplace, companies will be open to recruiting top talent with options of remote working. Organizations may take remote working more seriously now, considering the fact that it also provides them with an opportunity to cut down on the office-expenses/in-house employee expenses.
The future workplace may witness the reappearance of ‘cubicles’ in UK offices, in order to adhere to the social distancing norms laid by the government. A latest Danish study reveals that employees in open-plan offices took 62% more sick leaves than people in offices with cubicles, as absence of cubicles allowed easy transmission of diseases/illnesses. As stated by UK bank Barclays chief executive Jes Staley, “the need for having all its employees at one place will soon be a thing of the past.”
Technology will continue to play a significant role in the future
Undoubtedly, the whole scenario of the coronavirus pandemic would have been different without today’s technology. The workplace collaboration tools have enabled people to maintain their workflow. Video conferencing software companies such as Microsoft, Zoom, Cisco, Slack etc have stepped up to make virtual collaboration much easier by providing free access to their software.
In order to support the NHS, while some tech organizations have built AI-enabled tracking apps, others have diligently contributed in the development of healthcare technology. Companies like Dyson and aerospace companies Airbus and Thales are manufacturing ventilators to support various hospitals. Emerging advanced technologies such as machine learning and IoT (Internet of Things) are aiding the NHS to get deep insights about the pandemic. By harnessing the power of data analytics, big giants like Microsoft, Palantir, Google and FacultyAI – a UK based company are working collaboratively with the NHS for creating dashboard screens that provide an overview of the spread of the pandemic.
The pandemic has also moved the classrooms to an online space. Educational platforms and online tutoring systems are expected to see a rise in their usage for several coming years now.
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