The World of Work….Post Covid-19
We are currently experiencing a milestone event of the Century which is shaking up governments, businesses and citizens of most countries. The Covid-19 virus is probably the 1st truly “real” time experience sharing among the human inhabitants of Planet Earth. Residents of all countries, today are experiencing similar fears, at the same time, and due to the same cause.
A shock of this scale, is bound to impact our known ways of life and work across many dimensions. As individuals, we will be transformed as will be our choices, preferences and expectations in the post Covid-19 world. It's too early to predict the post Covid-19 scenarios, though definitely pointers are visible. Lockdown of traditional commerce has brought Online/Digital to the forefront. More people have now embraced Online - whether its to order medicines, groceries, watch a movie. This will encourage businesses to move more of their offerings online and cut back on ground presence.
Work from home (WFH) / Remote working will be the other defining transformation. Most non-factory staff today are logging in from home instead of traveling to work. Remote working will now be proven feasible for many more roles. Post Covid-19 getting 100% of your employees working from an office may not be the default option and the need to establish large offices will be questioned. The limited commuting due to WFH is the added benefit and will be backed by many, for its Green benefits.
Business Travel is the other big Gorilla which is getting tamed by Covid-19! Today nearly all travel is banned and yet, companies are finding solutions and forging ahead – Conferences and Events are now being conducted online. Workday canceled an annual internal sales meeting that was supposed to draw 3,000 people and is hosting a “virtual experience” instead. Ford and Siemens have asked employees to cancel all travel and use phone calls/video conferences. Ernst & Young, UK has gone virtual with parts of its student recruitment process. UBS, the Swiss bank, has begun implementing a split-operations policy in Switzerland and Asia Pacific region as part of its Corona Virus response. It turns out, an awful lot of meetings really could have been an email or a call. And now they will be.
Learning also will see a dramatic transformation. Virtual instruction has already been announced by Harvard University for its undergraduate and graduate students. For Corporations, virtual reality classrooms, AI-enabled programs, online Mentoring will become the norm for Learning initiatives. In fact, in the crisis of today Online Learning is the activity which progresses with no interruption and NASSCOM, India continues to deliver its W2RT Mentoring program uninterrupted despite the Covid-19 crisis.
Crisis drive quick change and adoption. They can also reshape society in lasting ways. Covid-19 has pushed both new age and old world Institutions to adopt new ways of business operations. Returning to the pre-Covid-19 ways maybe impossible now. And the social innovations brought on by the Covid-19 crisis will change how we live, how we work, and how we interact with each other.
Learn UnLearn ReLearn – Success Mantra for the decade!
As professionals, can our qualifications of decades ago, alone enable us to stay relevant throughout our careers ?
Many of the things which were an active component of our lives as recently as 2000 are no more in use - from VCRs, Fax machines, CDs, Maps, to Photographic Film development, Long distance calling, Phone Directory, Movie Rentals all do not exist in their 2000 avatar, today. Today, would you insist on renting a tape to watch a movie ? Not at all. We have moved on, discarded those devices and learned to use new devices/technologies.
Now lets move to the workplace – Obsolescence is even faster at the workplace with the VUCA environment ( Volatile , Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) with customer behavior changes frequent, product life cycles shorter, and production/delivery methods evolving at a brisk pace. Probably, the top 10 most in-demand jobs today didn’t even exist 10 years ago. Yet, many of us expect our qualifications from decades ago to count and keep us relevant throughout our work life. Can that be feasible ? Alivn Toffler says it best - “ Illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those cannot learn, unlearn and relearn “. Its the three together – Learn/UnLearn/ReLearn which make impact and vitalize your growth. Without Unlearning new Learnings are difficult to assimilate.
So what is UnLearn about ? Collins English dictionary says Unlearn means “discard accumulated knowledge”. Mirriam Webster dictionary says it means to “discard the habit”. So basically, Unlearn is about leaving behind competencies which are currently part of your knowledge /expertise set. Its about creating space in our minds for the new Learning which has to be acquired. Relearning is not effective till we Unlearn some things. For us to stay agile and acquire new skills and competencies it becomes important for us to go through the path of unlearn and then relearn.Create space to Learn more by Unlearning first !
Learning agility – the cycle of Learn, Unlearn, Relearn – unlocks doors to your mind and helps new skills to be acquired. To be agile in Learning, unlearning is as important as Re-learning. While training courses and certifications enable Relearning, for unlearning Mentoring and discussions with experts tend to be more fruitful. The experience Mentors have in abundance counts big in Unlearning . Also the process of discarding learnings is more personal and Mentoring conversations enable a more curated and personalized experience. Whether you are a Technologist, Manager or a Corporate Leader acquire Mentors with experience who accelerate your learning on dimensions which cannot be acquired in the Classroom or with Certifications.
Commit to nurturing a lifelong learner mindset and you will stay on the path of success – always. Avoid ‘mid life career crisis’ and create ‘mid life career opportunities’ for yourself – adapt the success mantra of Learning/UnLearning/Relearning !