HR Analytics

The Coronavirus Is Creating An Inflection Point In The Future Of Work

Source | | Heather E. McGowan

“Most of us can remember who we were 10 years agobut we find it hard to imagine who we’re going to be, and then we mistakenly think that because it’s hard to imagine, it’s not likely to happen.”  – Dan Gilbert, TED Talk 2014

On September 10, 2001, no one would have imagined the events of the following morning, events that are now tragically etched in our minds.

Similarly, no one would have predicted last November or even December the seismic shifts in political and economic policy that are unfolding now. The Financial Times is advocating for some form of universal basic income in the United States. The US government is sending $1,200 checks to 80% of AmericansGig workers are getting sick payCar insurance companies may send you a check due to sudden a decline in auto accidents.  Some are even arguing that providing healthcare for everyone in certain circumstances may be in our collective best interest,  that the federal minimum wage should be pushed  up to $17.00 from the current $7.25.

It is already clear that, as I have written previously, that the coronavirus global pandemic is accelerating our adaptation to the future of work.  And, it seems that coronavirus pandemic is also forming a social safety net that could reshape our future of work. 

Most strikingly, this crisis is presenting the third existential challenge of the last fifty years. The first is climate change, the second income inequality, and the third is this global pandemic brought on by the latest novel coronavirus. Each of these challenges are reshaping work in some way, but it is this third test, one that is freezing our economy and forcing job losses for many and job changes for all, that will require our response to all three. We will either emerge in a post pandemic world with clear answers to climate change, income inequality, and global health or we will find ourselves with greater inequality and declining collective health. 

My hope is the former, and to understand how we might emerge, it is helpful to understand how we arrived where we are and what this global pandemic may just change, for the better.

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