Autor: Ante Dulčić
Datum objave: 23.05.2020

A guide to thriving in the post-COVID-19 workplace


A guide to thriving in the post-COVID-19


 Even before COVID-19, many workers around the globe

lacked key skills - including digital capabilities.

 Upskilling in preparation for the changes to come post-

COVID-19 should be a critical part of response and


 There are four steps workers and businesses can take today

to prepare for tomorrow: Accelerate the move to platform,

transition to digital/virtual work, assess your skillset and

expand it as needed, and plan for the future.

The pandemic has accelerated the need to ensure that people around

the globe have the necessary technology skills and access to do their

jobs. Even as China shows signs of recovery and the number of new

daily infections worldwide appears to have stabilized, the US has seen

an unprecedented number of people file for unemployment, and 57% of

Americans surveyed recently report feeling worried about losing their


The current picture is bleak — and many parts of the world still haven’t

felt the pandemic's full impact. However, recovery will come, so what

should individuals be doing to make sure they can come back to the

workforce stronger?

Shoring up skills

Many of the skills people need to be employable during and after COVID-19

are digital, which will enable, but not guarantee, resilience, creativity and

the ability to collaborate with others. In areas where the pandemic is still an

active threat, people need to be able to get work done while operating at a

distance from co-workers. Managers and team leaders need the skills

required to motivate and manage distributed teams. Job seekers may find

themselves having to compete in a digital, fast-changing digital work with

which they are unfamiliar.

Regional disparities will likely grow, with regions already left behind in the

digital era experiencing increased hardship. Two such examples are rural

areas, where less robust healthcare systems will exacerbate the

pandemic’s impact, and some urban areas, especially in the developing

world, where large populations were facing dire employment situations even

before COVID-19.

If surviving and thriving in the wake of COVID-19 are our goals as a society,

where should we start - and how should we chart our future course?

1. Accelerate the move to platform

One of COVID-19’s most immediate economic effects is to accelerate

efforts that businesses, governments and individuals were already making

to not only digitalize, but also transition to a platform model.

A platform business takes an approach similar to that of technology giants.

The platforms these companies have created comprise ecosystems of

technologies, services and products that bring consumers and producers

together, and which can scale quickly and encourage third-party

collaboration, thus extending their reach.

Our collective ability to operate successfully in a platform-based world will

become much more important now because linear models - the most basic

example of which is the factory assembly line - are not agile or resilient

enough to withstand major disruptions like COVID-19. Such disruptions will

become much more common in the decade ahead, so the importance of

preparing our businesses, governments and institutions for this cannot be


Not all sectors are wholly suited to the platform model, but many industries

and companies that haven’t started to evolve in that direction will be forced

to do so much faster. As an individual, if you own a business you should

explore opportunities of adopting a platform-business model or partnering

with a platform and should prepare to compete with them. And all of us -

whether owners or employees - need to study platforms to understand how

they affect our lives, our work, and our future.

2. Transition to digital/virtual work

The requirement that we engage fully in the virtual realm right now is

pushing people in many areas of business to learn not only digital skills, but

also to improve auxiliary skills such as collaboration, creative problem-

solving and openness to new ideas. Managers and team leaders, for

example, are having to learn how to motivate and engage teams from afar.

At work, everything that can be done online will be, while activities we can’t

do remotely will have to be reconfigured somehow.

Here we get a glimpse of how well-suited existing platform companies are

to surviving COVID-19 - and thriving afterwards. In an ecosystem, the

players rely on each other collectively, while the virtual aspect adds critical

flexibility overall, so weakness in some areas won’t necessarily sink the

entire enterprise.

3. Assess your skillset and expand it as needed

For those who gain time in the day because they now work remotely and no

longer have to factor in a commute, there’s an opportunity to use the time to

gain new skills. If you have been displaced or lost your job as a result of

COVID-19, this offers a way to round out your skills and increase your


Of course, many people now have to spend time caring for children who are

not in school or other family members. Nonetheless, as people get used to

changes in the rhythm of daily life in a world where work and personal lives

are happening in a shared space, they can and should build time to assess

their skills - digital and otherwise - into their new routines.

You won’t know what skills you need to bolster until you assess your

current knowledge, so it makes sense to start with a diagnostic. PwC’s free

Digital Fitness app, for example, allows anyone to assess their skills as well

as boost knowledge in topics that help shape your behaviors and mindset.

At the same time, you’ve probably learned new skills to continue doing your

job without leaving home. In the weeks of quarantine, you’ve likely had to

bring different skills to your work: managing time to get work done and tend

to others who are quarantined with you. Whatever reserves of resilience

you have will likely have been tested - and you can draw on that as you

move forward.

4. Plan for the future

Planning for the future in uncertain times is tricky at best, but we can

extrapolate how things might shake out by doing some personal scenario

planning, similar to the way businesses set strategy. The key is to begin

thinking about where demand for work will exist and how best to prepare for

those spaces, while realising that there are real uncertainties in the answers

to those questions. The type of work that is robust across a lot of different

futures is not a bad way to start.

And, in such times as these, it’s always good advice to bet on known

trends, rather than try to anticipate what might be. For example, some parts

of the world with demographically older population profiles - such as

Europe, North America and Asia - may respond differently to these trends

than populations in other parts of the world where there is a need for

education and as they are about to enter the workforce. Finding ways to

connect to these trends, and the implications for where there is likely to be

work, makes sense.

Some other COVID-19 topics:

The best way to avoid future pandemics? Protect the natural world:

A guide to thriving in the post-COVID-19 workplace

3 challenges in creating a coronavirus vaccine – and how they are being overcome

5 ways global travel will change before we find a COVID-19 vaccine

The best way to avoid future pandemics? Protect the natural world

COVID-19 Risks Outlook: A Preliminary Mapping and its Implications

Challenges and Opportunities in the Post-COVID-19 World

How the Fourth Industrial Revolution can help us beat COVID-19

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