Worldwide, the number of people who have Coronavirus is now well over 400,000 with new cases appearing every day – in Asia, in Europe, the Middle East, the USA and Australia.
Economic indicators are in free-fall and in an attempt to slow the spread of the disease the world is effectively shutting down. People are afraid to go out or go to their workplace, mass sporting and entertainment events are being cancelled and travel – by road, rail and airplane – is being severely curtailed.
A vaccine may still be 12 months away, but already, particularly in Asia where the Coronavirus first appeared, we are seeing people and businesses adapt in order to survive and thrive. Though some businesses such as construction, hospitality and services have been forced to lay off thousands of workers, others determined to retain talent and keep the wheels of business turning have been actively encouraging their staff to work from home. And the strategy is proving to be a successful one.
CXC’s Global CEO Peter Oreb, a company that specialises in contingent workforce management and the utilisation of technology in business thinks we are witnessing the beginnings of an accelerated period of change in workforce practices: “Just as the two world wars proved to be a critically important factor in revolutionising women’s role on the world by getting them out of the kitchen and into the workforce in huge numbers, so pandemic shocks like we are experiencing now are already reshaping the way people work and the way businesses operate.”
“Once we are through the crisis – and we will be – working remotely from home will become more the norm rather than the exception for many businesses. More significantly, more and more employers will be reluctant to hire permanent workers. That’s on top of the hiring freeze we are currently seeing in countries such as China and South Korea, hit hard hit by Coronavirus.”
“They will still want the right talent, but in a more flexible and agile form. A higher ratio contingent workforce might be their ideal solution”
Many observers believe that potential employees too will experience a fundamental mindset change a result of the pandemic. “With fewer permanent jobs on offer workers will need to reinvent themselves as expert ‘guns for hire’ says Oreb, “because that’s where the employment action will be in the years to come. And that’s not a bad thing, far from it. They could earn more, learn more and have a more interesting lifestyle.”
“As a result of this horrible disease, the world of work is now changing. And it’s changing fast. Especially in Asia. That’s one of the big realities behind the Coronavirus pandemic, and I think that business needs to embrace this change because increasingly it’s looking like a change for the better, for all concerned.”
Are you ready for the post-Corinavirus world?
Things will take a while to settle down and return to normal, even though it will be a new normal; but amidst the gloom there is some room for hope and optimism. From Singapore to South Korea, countries across Asia have had some success in controlling the spread of the disease by combining mass-testing, technology and social distancing to stem the tide of infections. China too has slowed its outbreak.
How will your business practices change as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic? What can you do to bounce back to profitability once the danger has well and truly passed? Are you fully aware of all the advantages an increased investment in a contingent workforce could deliver to your business in the years to come?