The pandemic that has swept the globe has changed many facets of life for most people. The bars and movie theatres are all but abandoned, consumers shop from the safety of their own homes, and people are spending more time cooking, picking up new hobbies through the use of online chatting platforms that allow them to stream and video call at the same time. People who do meet with others or go out in public are forced to wear face masks as a necessary precaution against the viral infection. Above all, the workforce has been impacted the most.
For the first few weeks of lockdown, people were struggling to find that balance when working from home. The idea of working from home is not a stranger to the tech-savvy, or travel-centric influencers and bloggers. It has been part and parcel of the nomadic lifestyle. But due to Covid-19, there has been a significant increase in the past few months of opportunities taking form over the internet. Talent management is becoming increasingly important for companies to retain their new employees. What’s to stop them from jumping ship now that there is a whole sea of opportunities on the market?
According to an article on Forbes, entrepreneurs are benefiting from this shift in the workforce. Despite mass layoffs, there is a huge increase in talent, many of whom were tied up with companies. Due to these mass layoffs, workers are questioning the career choices that led them to their jobless situation. The article elaborates that “candidates are taking a longer-term view, seeking out companies that offer a vision they can get genuinely excited about and putting more weight on the equity component of their package”. It is true in the sense that they are reassessing the risks they are willing to take when it comes to finding work and are in favor of startups and smaller companies, giving these companies a chance to grow and effectively resetting the landscape that has been largely monopolized by huge corporations. From this standpoint, it looks like a win-win situation for all parties involved: large companies are able to cut back on costs, startups get the talent they need, and individuals are able to pursue something they are truly interested in, instead of blindly chasing after financial stability.
Thanks to the internet, it no longer matters where you are from. Companies are looking at efficiency, fit, and work ethic, instead of how far you live. Time zones no longer matter when you place them next to productivity. Companies are able to hire more competent workers for a smaller price – usually due to them being in a country with a weaker currency, or simply due to having them work from home. Furthermore, research shows that working from home actually boosts productivity, so employers are in fact gaining more and saving on office rent, equipment and other office related expenses, when they hire remote workers.
In the past, candidates would have to submit their resume and go in for an interview. Today, not much has changed, except the fact that everything is done through a screen and has to be scheduled more meticulously in the case of differing time zones. Managers can also afford to be pickier when choosing a suitable candidate. Having not met them in real life, judgements and evaluations are much more objective and result-based.
Unfortunately for women, this shift to remote-work is not faring well for them due to social biases. Managers are often under the impression that women have to take care of the household and any children they may have, freeing up the men to do the brunt of the work. Aside from that, similarity bias looks for people who are similar to us and deems them more worthy of the position. With more men holding down positions in the workforce, and women being tied up in childcare due to schools and nurseries closing down, less women are being hired for new positions. However, gender-inclusive companies will continue to make a positive impact and gain a more favorable identity with the masses. They will also be able to tap into the unused potential of women that has been neglected by companies that do not practice conscious gender equality.
With empty airports and deserted tourism spots, many people were forced to find a new livelihood. Even those not directly impacted by the virus have also felt its effects. Advertising firms, marketers, retail – all but supermarkets and other sundry shops have been hit by the pause button. While some are still hopeful that things might return to normal, many more have taken to working remotely and applying for remote positions. Regardless of how the pandemic develops, remote work is here to stay and will be part of the new normal. It will be hard for the workforce to go back to their office hours and long commutes once they have gotten a taste of freedom and self-managing their working schedules.