- This could positively “disrupt” traditional employment models
COVID-19 – It’s on everyone’s lips, front of mind, causing the global economy to stir, governments to scramble and directives and injunctions to come to the fore. And for the first time we see how truly connected every country is, and how possible it is for most employed persons to be sent home to work remotely.
It raises the question then whether such a scenario could be used for good – to promote development? The impact of Covid-19 on the world markets illustrates that we are a global economy and that work can be done from anywhere.
What if this is the opportunity for remote work without geographical borders? People could be employed across the globe. This would address unemployment, add to skills development and positively “disrupt” traditional employment models.
On March 28 the President of Botswana announced the start of a national lockdown to try and contain further spread of the virus.
But the country’s liquor stores had complained that they were being driven out of business. The government has also lost a fortune of the main agendas that many companies implemented was to encourage their employees to work from home or work “remotely”. This idea could be just the publicity of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) needed in Botswana.
The term 4IR was popularized by the World Economic Forum for the current and developing environment, in which disruptive technologies and trends are changing the way we live, work and relate to one another. The two main focuses that stem from the 4IR are working remotely and the introduction of a “gig” economy.
Look at this
A gig economy refers to a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. The term “gig” refers to work for a specified period of time. Gig workers include freelancers, independent contractors, project-based workers, and temporary or part-time hires. The digital age enables a gig economy, where the workforce is increasingly mobile and where jobs and locations are decoupled because of our ability to now work remotely.
A gig economy refers to a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. The term “gig” refers to work for a specified period of time. Gig workers include freelancers, independent contractors, project-based workers and temporary or part-time hires. The digital age enables a gig economy, where the workforce is increasingly mobile and where jobs and locations are decoupled because of our ability to now work remotely.
An upside to remote working that employers are realizing is that there’s no need to keep the lights on at a workplace if no one is there. There’s also no need to waste costs on travel. The lack of travel means more time and less impact on our carbon footprint.
Working remotely means an employee can work anywhere and have a relaxed working environment. Work-life balance is more attainable. This is attractive to young entrepreneurial talent and to parents. The time lost in travel can cost a family time eating breakfast or dinner together. Ultimately, people feel more in control of their days.
There’s some concern surrounding the lack of human connection. But the 4IR is adapting human connection with happy hour Zoom calls, team social sessions and more, allowing people to connect on new levels. The networking opportunities are greater than ever before and can reach further around the globe than ever before.
It is possible for the future of work to be remote, but what checks and balances can we put in place to keep this intact? Employers will need to make sure that there are measures in place for regulating and monitoring their employees. These measures need to ensure that employees are productive. Entrepreneurs have built virtual workplaces with meeting rooms and office stations. Access and supervision can be monitored, subject to personal information laws.
Covid-19 ignited remote work, and this may be the building block that starts the creation of future working models, looking at innovation, intrapreneurship, reskilling, and upskilling the workplace. Covid-19 could well be the spark that creates global work opportunities without borders.
Make yourself a cup of tea, find a routine, and get busy working.