IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON YOUR FUTURE . . . Kanwal Ashraf
At some point in the future we will need to turn our attention from survival to adaptation. Leaders in society and in business will need to consider the post-coronavirus landscape to understand how this crisis will have altered the psyche and behaviors of the population, and consequently what we need to address in the structure of our societies, and in support of one another.
As Leon C. Megginson writes “It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself”
The world will never be the same again, and for the most of us, we can’t really think beyond the present… and survival, we can only start to postulate on what the future may look like by endeavoring to understand the past, and how the present circumstances will impact our habits and behaviors as a species. There will no doubt be a completely new approach to how and where people work, companies would look for local suppliers and customers, job security will be lower, the appetite for travelling would take a hit, a strong desire to re-connect with friends and associate would prevail among other things.
Let’s consider how the future of work would look like. In the scramble to shut down, every organization had to embrace a mobile way of working. Thus propelling IT and technology to the forefront. Companies with agile structures had a significant head start over traditional players, raising the question about the importance of expensive workplaces and online working. Organizations are also experiencing a decline in demand for their products/services, forcing to surgically cut costs and only retain resources that add value.
Learning from this, it is rational to expect that this structure of working shall be adopted to some extent if not fully in the future as well. Thereby, making you wonder whether you contribute towards profits or expenses for an organization. In these times, preparation for the coming challenges is paramount.
Pakistanis need to be prepared to face the upcoming grim situation. With social distancing measures in place, it is essential to focus on how to keep the economy running and generating revenue for the nation. While a growing number of white collar companies are asking employees to work from home, gig economy seems to not be effected by this epidemic. The online working environment is least impacted by the quarantine situation. Freelancers continue to find jobs and deliver work online without any hassle whatsoever. And easily earn a decent income without any uncertainty. In fact, the demand for gig delivery services is growing as the virus spreads. Freelance expertise is becoming more popular as working remotely is expected in the coming times.
It is recommended to keep an eye on the future and utilize this time to prepare for it. You can start easy by learning basic skills from online platforms like digiskills, coursera, udemy etc. and indulge in the world of freelancing, to start earning to secure your future.
Along with taking necessary health measures, it is essential for the government to propagate such platforms of online learning and earning to enable freelancing growth in order to save the economy. For a country struggling with maintaining foreign reserves, this means millions of dollars flowing in for services rendered, and ultimately benefiting the economy and the people. Moreover, the policy makers need to pay more attention to overall digitalization of economy while designing the upcoming macroeconomic growth framework. Not only this, general public awareness pertaining to skill development is also required among rural parents who either want their children to become doctors or to leave education.
We don’t know the length of this crisis, or the global impact and ramifications for sure. But what we do know is, once you have survived ‘survival mode’, turn your attention to the future. If you recognize the challenges, you will be better equipped to harness the opportunities, and to make a meaningful contribution within your circles of influence.
MSc. Strategic Marketing, Imperial College London
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