From the news of the US Department of Labor announcing that nearly 4 million people quit their jobs last April to surveys of teachers not feeling confident about remote learning, we’ve only just started reviewing the effects of COVID-19 on the current and future workforce. However, the preliminary lessons learned will profoundly impact our future course if we pay attention.
At 10Pearls, we continue to track workforce trends to keep a pulse on the new normal and what you can expect in the near future of work.
COVID and the future of face-to-face
The pandemic debunked the myth that remote learning and work are impossible. We were all forced to rethink what it means to learn and collaborate when we can’t be face to face, and organizations across industries had to quickly adapt to a virtual world we weren’t fully prepared for at the time. Now, we’re seeing a collective shift in the workforce and education — virtual communication and learning are no longer a “good-to-have.” It’s an accepted and expected part of the new normal.
Blended learning & embracing technology
As the entire world was thrust into an unplanned distance learning experiment, we saw many schools innovate and implement digital learning technology at lightning speeds. From creating digital ecosystems to adapting to global and local changes in regulations and mandates in real-time, we undoubtedly witnessed a test in the resilience of our education system—and we’ll be seeing more evolution in the coming years. From adopting a mobile instructional design to the democratization of e-learning, predictions of more inclusive and productive learning environments are promising.
That being said, the future of distance learning is not without its challenges. According to a recent study by McKinsey, the pandemic widened preexisting opportunity and achievement gaps in K-12 student learning, leaving students four months behind in reading and five months behind in mathematics by the end of the school year. We’re also seeing that finding creative and effective ways to engage students is vital to enhance learning. Building better digital learning ecosystems for distance learning can help mitigate some of the difficulties today’s students face, such as Zoom fatigue, lack of motivation, and increased learning anxiety from isolation.
Remote work & the rise of digital skills
In the professional world, we’ve seen the ingenuity of technology in the way organizations train, develop, and communicate internally. For example, in the past, businesses have typically taken a top-down approach to technology adoption. With the advent of COVD-19, the employees in the trenches have had to be consulted more widely and frequently. In turn, IT leaders have needed to be more agile and flexible, with greater openness to innovative solutions that solve the pain points of those using the technologies day-to-day.
We’re also experiencing an evolution as a society in how people view the way we work. With more frequent articles covering ‘The Great Resignation‘ of April 2021 and ‘The People Who’d Rather Quit Than Give Up Remote Work,‘ it’s reasonable to say this is not a trend. It’s a transformation—one all businesses should watch closely.
We are living a global social experiment
The truth is that we will likely continue to experience the long-term effects of the pandemic on this generation of students for years to come. But, with education achievement being linked to more innovation, better health, higher earnings, and greater political participation, our society will do well to continue prioritizing advancements in this field.
The workforce is also changing. Employees see that they don’t have to live in the same city, drive into the office five days a week, or live in a high-cost area to work. They are reprioritizing what’s important and how employment fits into these shifting priorities, and they are expecting more from employers than simply returning to normal. Technology will play a pivotal role in helping organizations quickly adapt to the new normal and support today’s workers.