The COVID-19 crisis has had the particular quality of uprooting absolutely everybody’s lives. No single age group, social class, country or minority has been left untouched by a global pandemic that has changed the world forever. It’s hard to think of a time where one could be inside a packed theatre or at a massive music festival. Face masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing—all but elements of a dystopian novel just a year ago—are now intrinsic to the way our society is organized. However, we must not be too hasty to dismiss these changes as mere heart-breaking consequences of one of the deadliest pandemics. There are many ‘blessings in disguise’ that COVID might bring into our future lives.
In a world that’s becoming increasingly greener, the positive effects of online work and study cannot be overlooked. I think we can all agree that no perfect Wi-Fi connection can quite replace the enthusiasm and joy that physical human closeness brings. But it seems a small sacrifice to make to take care of our planet. Airplanes, cars and buses will be replaced by shirts and PJ bottoms in the comfort of our homes.
‘Online-ness’ will also help international workers. Many people are unable to move from their home country, and so are immediately disqualified for certain jobs. This is especially the case when it comes to developing countries. For instance, moving from Argentina or Bolivia to the US is neither easy nor cheap, but virtual work might make working in the US possible without migration! It could move the job market away from unfair, unchangeable factors into a more serious and established meritocracy. It will open the door of a whole new world to a big part of the population that remains, until today, ignored.
Online work might also be a turning point for families. The classic 9-to-5 may remain, but they will be intertwined with family lunches and quick hugs. Some office work will (and should) prevail, but many workers will most likely have much more flexibility in organizing their schedule. No-longer needing to be in any determined physical space to complete tasks will mean work will purely be deadline-driven; being at home more will lead to people incorporating their families into their day-to-day lives better. Don’t be surprised if we see those divorce rates go down!
The COVID-19 crisis has made us re-think our outdated notions of work and efficiency. We’ve realized that working from home is as effective as working in the office and that people no longer need to be constantly managed. Our society has to make the most of these lessons and incorporate this new and equally results-driven attitude that COVID has instilled upon all sectors of the economy. Creativity, adaptability and hard-work are the new desired qualities of a modern-day worker. This pandemic has shown us that individuality and innovation are the best assets we have.
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