The workplace trends that will arise from the chaos caused by COVID-19
Updated: Apr 9
6 April 2020
This post is part of a 5-part series. Read Part 1 and 2 here.
What are the three trends that will be seen to emerge over the course of the unfolding chaos in the new world order of work? I think these are going to be the most impactful things that affect the world of work in 2020:
· The rise of the freelancers
The rise of the freelancers
The new breed of freelancer will be professional individuals that will not work permanently for organisations, but rather will contract themselves out to companies for particular job requirements.
This means that there will be a shift in mentality by employees and freelancers alike. It will become obvious to them that it is not ‘where one works’ but rather ‘what one works on’ that will determine their not only their employability but also their job satisfaction. This lends itself to an exciting new world order where working individuals realise that anyone can ‘work the way you want to live’. The career holy grail of ‘work /life integration’ has been elusive for many because of a legacy world order for the way we worked. In the old world, hours spent at work in the physical work space, was a measure of one’s dedication and commitment to the task or company, regardless of the efficiency of the time used and the productivity of the employee for the extra hours spent at work.
The global virus crisis might allow many employees a brief glimpse into how work life can be changed for the better, especially if one considers the reduction in the hours that are lost to long work commutes. Historically, management assumed profits could only be created in this physical work space. Nowadays, technology allows for the professional to work from home, a coffee shop or a park and still deliver exceptional results on their projects and assignments. Meaningful collaboration will increase between workers and this in turn will result in a dramatic improvement in employer/employee relationships, particularly in favour of the employee or contract worker.
The notion of job security and full time employment being a safe haven will be eradicated from memory to become a myth of the past. Professionals will take control of their own freelancing careers, that now offer multiple lanes, multiple options for growth and experiences where one can flow into and out of really significant and meaningful work. The robots will be doing the mundane stuff.
Small teams of specialists from far reaching locations like Johannesburg, London, and Brussels will tackle projects. Their strength will lie in collaborating with each other to solve real problems in businesses.
The organisational perspective will change. In addition to the many advantages for employees, remote working and freelancing will also create enormous benefits for organisations and companies. Companies will save extraordinary amounts of money by not having to employ individuals permanently, but rather specialists for particular projects for limited time periods. Already it can be seen that the average time an employee spends at a company is approximately two and a half years and this is continuing to decline. [i]
There will be no need for the ‘war on talent’ as companies can now tap into an entire new pool of highly skilled professionals who will freelance for them, but who will not necessarily want to work for that company permanently. Simply put, companies can switch ‘expertise on’ and ‘expertise off’ as and when they want. This will most certainly reduce the pressure on the balance sheet. As there will be lower recruitment costs, less time and money spent on ‘in house’ training and other benefits that are often afforded full time employees.
Collaboration and freelance technology platforms like Project Kooda [ii] will be the new normal, facilitating a marketplace of highly skilled top talent and matching them with projects, opportunities and companies that see the benefits of the ‘roll on roll off’ model. Using smart AI [iii] companies and freelancers will benefit from the efficiencies of hiring specialists at a fraction of the cost and risk.
[ii] Project Kooda is smart AI enabled platform linking high professional freelancers to the organisations who need them [iii] AI Definition: Powered by Oxford Dictionaries. The theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.