Two top experts reporting in the Wall Street Journal and CNN Business agree. The world of work and perhaps our entire culture will never be the same. We are experiencing up close and personal one the most significant lifestyle transformations since the onset of the industrial revolution. These experts agree that the changes we are experiencing will be permanent to a greater or lesser degree.
The World of Work Is Different
Alexander Alonso for CNN Business said without reserve that: the world of work will never be the same. Coronavirus has fundamentally changed every aspect of business — from our commute to our work environment to how we interact with our colleagues.
However, studies have shown that both employers and employees are struggling with these changes. Alonso expressed concern about whether components of the past worth keeping can survive.
He points out many businesses, such as GM and the food industry, in general, are adopting significant changes in the workplace, including allowing PPE in their uniforms, gloves, and facemasks. The architecture and design of the office floor plans will also look very different.
Success will depend upon capable chief human resource officers (CHRO) to steer the company through troubled waters and adapt to current conditions.
With the competition for talent among employers, and a younger workforce less concerned with income than job satisfaction, we’re looking at an entirely new recruiting market after COVID.
Of course, with the internet and the high cost of building a company, many of these changes were inevitable. The market would eventually shift to remote work , given all the advantages. But this crisis has forced marketplace changes worthy of a wartime economy. As Alonso points out, other workplace adaptations, such as protective clothing and social distancing, were unexpected. The long term impact on the workplace is impossible to gauge.
Remote Work and Home Location
According to The Wall Street Journal, another significant demographic shift is underway in America, resulting from COVID. As remote work becomes ubiquitous people ask themselves whether it is advantageous to live close to hot job markets. This closeness is where homes and rent are expensive, and spaces are small. Authors Feintzeig and Eisen point out that historically recessions slow migration.
But the current trend is the opposite. In April of this year, Americans were relocating at twice the pace they did a year earlier. “It’s obvious that the number of remote workers is going to jump up,” said Professor Thomas Cooke, a demographic consultant and retired geography professor at the University of Connecticut. He took a more conservative view of the future saying: it’s not so clear-cut that it’s going to be this huge transformation.
However, with people being able to look at other factors, such as family and geography, rather than just the local job market, these demographic changes could affect real estate prices and investment. Being able to live anywhere you want and still seek the job of your dreams is attractive and it is unlikely that this trend is short-term.
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