The Future of Work Capsules: Let’s start imagining work post Covid -19

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Baptista Sarah Gebu (Mrs.)

May the spirit of this 2021 Eid bring joy & prosperity in our lives as well as harmony, compassion and love. In celebrating this Eid let’s show influence and not affluence. Happy Eid to everyone.

Covid-19 may last longer than you think. We need to start learning to know how to live with it as flu. This too shall pass. Let’s start imagining then how work is going to be for us all post covid-19.

The way in which a process or event develops over a period of time will be the trajectory. The trajectory of jobs, skills, and other workforce trends in the COVID-19 recovery agenda will cause us to re-imagine work and workforce trends. “Reimagining work is a cross-functional, top-team decision-making process”.

Capacity Building

Let us re-imagine the future of capacity building for the start. How have we been managing capacity building programs over the period? The trend could be changing. This is because, the future capacity building as a form of learning will become more technology –enabled, custom-made and purposeful as we try to learn new skills to enable us adjust, fit in or recreate the ideal new future for ourselves. The future of learning could see a departure from event –based learning where we gather people and institutions at special times and period for group learning activities.

For the future, as many up-skills or reskill, the focus will be shifting to create that enabling environment that will support custom-made and purposeful learning to be reinforced by technology.

As a prolong activity offering maximum benefits over a long period of time, the changing nature of work, work systems and elements will cause us to individually plan our capacity building needs and schedules just as most do with gym (exercise) needs. Its tailor based to your needs and flexible schedule. Prior to covid-19, remote learning wasn’t so appreciated by many.

I remember, encouraging a colleague to register to undertake a remote long distance learning virtually. The perception at the time was that, quality could be comprise and connectivity challenges could affect access and increase the total cost.

Many also considered networking opportunities to be too remote and not acceptable. Interestingly enough, all these perceived challenges have rather supported and promoted remote learning for now except for connectivity challenges which is a real issue for most African countries to rub their heads around.

Customer Service Jobs

Re-imaging customer service jobs post covid-19, it is common knowledge now to know that robots are supporting and taking over many customer services jobs. As a business model,  companies outsource their customer service needs.

For the future, operators in that industry may have to rethink of viable business solutions as they risk sharing those space with robots. At our banks, hospitals, restaurants and with within our telecommunication space just to mention but a few; robots and technology are taking over customer service functions. Meaning individual professionals must learn to up-skill or reskill or shift to other industry with the right skill sets.

Demand for basic office work – Administrative and book-keeping.

Same will go for our demand for basic office work and administrative functions. There will be decline. Apps and tech-tools will support the management of simple routine basic administrative work.

If you are a student learning how to be a professional administrator you may want to re-think the future and realign so that by the time you graduate the certificate you possess will be relevant for you in the job market. Basic book-keeping work will equally be affected. Be agile.

Healthcare, TVET and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics)

Though many jobs will decline we also expect growth in healthcare, STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics], management and creative arts. People in occupations at risk of lower demand might consider moving to one of those growth areas—but that requires a big step-up in skills.

People need opportunities to switch careers and learn different skills. In some instances, that will require businesses to help retrain workers. It will require educational institutions to rethink how we prepare young people for the workforce and the need for technical skills or credentials, if not a college degree.

Our institutions of learning and universities may have to rethink and move away from dishing out the usual marketing, accounting and social sciences degrees. Though needed, the trends show STEM and TVET are gradually gaining momentum.

For Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), governments must put in place long term strategic plans (5-10years) on how the country can remodel and rebrand that sector for attractiveness and efficiency.  With the introduction of the African Free Trade Continental Secretariat Agreement demanding one market for Africa, governments must make be purposive and intentional in their approach to positioning and to outsource or export quality TVET professionals across board.

Education generally

Education seems to have two sides. One will decline and the other will grow. Online schooling – remote schooling will grow but not across board. For instance, adult learning still in line with capacity building as discussed earlier will grow. For easy retention, access to virtual video and link will encourage custom-made structured learning. Same cannot be said for kids and youth learning to some extent.

The disruption coupled with social media use and access will be another compiling challenge to manage within this space. Since kids cannot be responsible, remote schooling for kids without adult supervisor may suffer some consequences aside challenges of access to IT equipment and affordability to data broadband services beyond board.

Hospitality and Travel

Low level jobs at hospitality and travel centers will decline. Healthy eating concerns will re-enforce the need for organic and natural health recipes. The biggest decider will be affordability. I’m wondering, how a honey moon virtual experience could be like for a new marriage couple? What will be the feel and impact? Most definitely, physical interaction to some extent and demand for vacation will grow but with support of tech tools and robotics.

This will reinforce our likeness for less work week to enable the workforce upskill and reskill to becoming hybrid professionals which will scale up growth and success across board.

By Baptista Sarah Gebu (Mrs.)

Baptista is a human resource professional with a broad generalist background. Building a team of efficient & effective workforce is her business. Affecting lives is her calling!  She is a Hybrid Professional, HR Generalist, strategic planner, innovative, professional connector and a motivator. You can reach her via e-mail on [email protected]   You can follow this conversation on our social media pages Facebook / LinkedIn/ Twitter / Instagram: FoReal HR Services.   Call or WhatsApp: +233(0)262213313.  Follow the hashtag #theFutureofWorkCapsules #FoWC

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