COVID-19 and the Changing Employment Landscape

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2020’s game-changing employment landscape across the globe is creating unwelcome change, for billions in the workforce, as we head into Q2. COVID-19 is the antagonistic contagion, forcing a shared, crystallized vision for all of us, personally and professionally.

Employers, Human Resources, and businesses (large or small) are at the forefront of navigating ambiguity and relying on the resilience of nimble leaders and employees across industries. Through unrecognizable change, we’re experiencing near-term adjustments and long-term strategizing for efficiencies.

Digital dynamics are fluid and evolving at a rapid pace keeping people engaged, connected, and productive.  In speaking to a cross-section of executives, professionals, and entrepreneurs, the most agile are diving in to keep the momentum building, while those resistant to change are grappling with how to maintain motivation working-from-home. 

Social Media Engagement Increasing

Networking

LinkedIn.com has shown a significant uptick of usage with COVID-19 forcing leaders, employees, and students to work-from-home.  Networking and staying connected are at an all-time high. With major single-site employers and global brands temporarily closing their doors, furloughs and lay-offs are forcing higher levels of networking engagement.

Now is the time to connect, Connect, and CONNECT! The job hunt is on now.

Human Resources

Progressive Human Resources departments have flexed quickly to offer onboarding and orientation to new employees.

Leaders with direct reports are replacing in-person performance management sessions with videoconferencing looping in their Human Resources partner as they coach employees developmental areas.  And, still other very progressive Human Resources departments are conducting employee investigations via videoconferencing.

Regardless of our current situation, remaining flexible, agile, and innovative will carry all of us forward.  
TINA NICOLAI
Videoconferencing Reality Social Shows

Highly engaging social connectors (Millennials) are admitting to mourning working-from-home, as they no longer have the day-to-day in-person camaraderie that on-site/office environments offer.  This is an interesting dynamic for the Millennials as the majority tend to text and email while in the office. (Note: Perhaps the Gen X and Boomer’s “office influencers” are making an impact of the importance of verbal communication).

For these Millennials, increased social engagement is elevating on virtually all social platforms; LinkedIn.com, Instagram.com, Facebook.com, etc. with leaders and teams sharing screenshots of their team meetings held via SKYPE, Zoom, or other videoconferencing platforms.

Prior to COVID-19, videoconferencing meetings rarely, if ever made a social media debut as a post, story, or feed.

Client Offerings

Small business owners are also engaging more on LinkedIn.com, YouTube.com, and Instagram.com offering supportive tips for their niche clients while simultaneously anticipating future clients’ needs.

Pro’s/Con’s of Evolving Employment Landscape & Working from Home

Pro’s

Work-from-home supporters are enjoying reduced travel, fewer emissions & environmental pollutants, and more quality family time.

Virtual meetings advocates are using unique tools (Zoom.com) for group and private chats with participants actively engaging, with the ability to hand-write thoughts, ideas, comments, and even draw during live videoconferencing meetings. Standard boardroom meetings are generally structured around a boardroom table with heads turning to listen to one speaker-at-a-time and no engagement through writing, drawing, and/or openly sharing ideas for all to see.  Virtual vulnerability is a trend we may continue to see as a mainstay for engagement. Gen X and Millennials are used to being on the camera and are comfortable with the air-time.

Large and small businesses are capitalizing on innovation and creativity during COVID-19 via videoconferencing; YouTube, Live Feeds, and quick-hit video’s sent via text. Social distancing is creating a heightened desire to want to be seen and heard.

Con’s

Highly productive work teams who are co-located are seeing a decrease of productivity.  One software executive from a major defense company explained, “Verbal communication is more efficient and offers higher productivity when seated in a room with fellow testers. You simply call out your question and someone in the group will know the answer. Working-from-home reduces productivity as the immediate engagement is not an option”.

Others report feeling less professional working-from-home. For this group of people, there is a daily routine and ritual associated with preparing their daily mindset to get ready for work and travel to their destination.   Distinct boundaries are paramount for many to feel professional, seen, and heard.

Large corporations with 30-40K employees now working-from-home are running into slow network functionality.  Until these infrastructures can be built to accommodate masses of people working-from-home, technology issues will continue to escalate.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Regardless of our current situation, remaining flexible, agile, and innovative will carry all of us forward.  Innovation is the key building all of our futures. Whether global corporations, businesses, or entrepreneurial start-ups, we’re all in this together. In closing…my best advice is vintage and has stood the test of time… “Be Nimble. Be Quick. Jump over the candlestick”!  Jack did…so can you!

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