The opportunity beneath the crisis

A microscopic entity is wreaking havoc across the face of the earth. In the process, it has revealed how interconnected we are as a species.

This crisis may well reveal another truth – about how our workplaces need to be reconfigured. The factory world of fixed qualifications, job descriptions, CVs and rigid hierarchies are on their way out. The economic shock the world is staring at might merely hasten its exit.

Inadvertently, the virus has given us a taste of what our future looks like. Going forward, most individuals would work autonomously on remote gig jobs. Our work environment would be uncertain, given its rapid pace of change. Further, every individual would be forced to cope with these conditions by constantly retraining themselves.

This disruption of a few months to our structured lives is merely a taste of things to come. I won’t deny the tragedy and the suffering that this virus has unleashed in its wake. But it also offers a window to embrace a new kind of workplace, create new business models and develop skills that are future proof.

Concretely, this shift from external to self management involves

  • Learning to lead remote, self-managed teams
  • Dealing with flexible working hours that span across time zones
  • The use of online courses and education
  • Improving written communication through clear memos and emails

The digital world had already nudged many of us on this course, but our current crisis puts the need to acquire these skills on overdrive.

Along with its hardship, every crisis brings to us the opportunity to reinvent ourselves and become a more resilient people. I hope to see more of us taking up this challenge and turning into linchpins rather than resigning to Netflix on the couch.

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