Our world has changed so much in such a short time. Three months ago, none of us would have dreamed that a deadly virus would claim so many of our loved ones or that our economy would be in freefall and claim established businesses. Here are five COVID-19 related trends that I believe will impact the economy and future career options, some for better, some for worse.
Work from home is here to stay. Companies in technology, financial services and insurance sectors have led the way by heavily investing in remote work tools and that has paid off during the current pandemic. Facebook, Square and Twitter have indicated that employees can work from home through the end of the year and we can expect that many will continue to do so into 2021 and beyond, especially those in high commute areas.
More demand for work/life balance. The demand for greater work/life balance has been on the rise for the last several years with 47% of millennials saying they may be willing to give up a good job for greater work/life balance. Even non-millennial colleagues with short commutes have remarked on the benefits of additional free time as a result of commuting from bedroom to home office these last few months. With the job picture in a slump that may change temporarily but my intuition tells me that once the economy stabilizes Americans will be nostalgic for the time spent with families during the pandemic and look for a more balanced lifestyle.
Greater reliance on technology to build and maintain relationships. One look at the increase in Zoom participants from late 2019 (10 million) to April (300 million) of this year is enough to recognize the impact technology has had on our ability to stay in touch. Families are meeting with Grandma via Zoom; churchgoers are holding services on Zoom or similar platforms; and students are being taught online. Everyone it seems is attending online meetings of one sort or another on a daily or weekly basis. Post-COVID-19 workers who discovered the ease of online meetings will question the need for in-person meetings.
An increase in online shopping and sharp rise in home delivery. While most of us are not new to Amazon deliveries, many are new to having toilet paper, personal care items and groceries delivered to the front door. I suspect that after ordering nearly everything imaginable online and having it arrive on the porch many will happily relinquish the hassle of in-person shopping. I predict big changes in the brick and mortar retail sales segment.
Less reliance on cash. As someone who generally prefers to pay cash, I have given that up during COVID-19. Prior to the pandemic, Americans have been wary of digital wallets even though many are safer than traditional payment methods. Ultimately, fear of virus transmission will encourage more Americans to embrace digital payment options. Expect an increase in jobs in the financial technology (fintech) sector.
With every change comes loss but also opportunity. Old industries die, new careers emerge. Our ability to thrive is contingent on our willingness to relinquish the past and embrace the future.
Mary Jeanne Vincent, career expert and strategist, has a private coaching practice and guides clients nationally. She may be reached at 831-657-9151, firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.careercoachmonterey.com
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