What do the oracles say about society’s return to normalcy? Bill Gates is pinning his hopes on a semi-normal return to life in the spring of 2021, provided we rapidly adopt the vaccine. Dr. Fauci’s more conservative estimate suggests that we’ll enjoy movie theater experiences, indoor dining and regular school attendance by late fall.
Companies everywhere have come to accept the impacts of the pandemic on the future of work in stages that are eerily similar to the stages of grief: First, there was the wait-and-see phase, in which business leaders cautiously monitored news of the growing COVID-19 threat; then recovery mode, when enterprises were forced to adopt work-at-home functionality to keep their employees safe.
When change is difficult it sometimes takes a little nudge to move in the right direction. Like many business environments, the contact center industry wasn’t nudged this year—it was pushed.
With most call center providers still cemented in the brick-and-mortar model, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the need for transformation. This is due to the restriction of operations at these businesses as well as employees’ hesitations to work on busy call center floors.
Since March, tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs, bringing the United States’ unemployment rate to its highest point since the Great Depression. The near-term pain is obvious, but how will this seismic economic event influence the workforce a generation from now?
A Wall Street Journal article recently posed an interesting question: “Is the world likely to become less flat because of the pandemic?” According to the article, while globalization was the growing trend in the early part of the new century, key drivers such as rising offshore costs, localization and a shift toward services delivery has begun to take some steam out of it.
You say we are seeing the biggest overhaul of work since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution – why do you say this?
The disruption we have experienced with COVID has been unprecedented. Practically overnight, the workforce transitioned to de facto Work from Home. This has allowed employers and employees to prove out the Work from Home model. The reality is most of these employees will likely work from home moving forward.
While the rapid shift to a remote workforce model in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has driven many changes for businesses around the world, a few constants have grown in importance. To maintain operations as seamlessly as possible, organizations must secure their payment systems, technology access, and sensitive customer data no matter where it resides, and that is particularly true when it is being accessed or processed by employees from their homes.