With the global Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a shift in the way the working world operates. Aside from non-essential workers, who typically have to be on-the-ground, the majority of employees have been required to work from home (WFH), by swiftly adopting technology for video meetings, workflow management, and other everyday job functions.
Now that Singapore has started lifting its Circuit Breaker measures in phases, the workforce will slowly return to a semblance of normalcy. Even as offices open up, crowds return to shopping malls, and travel plans resurface, certain aspects of our lives will permanently be altered as new norms in the workforce.
Remote working is here to stay
Before Covid-19, there was already debate on the pros and cons of remote working. While some companies had already built their companies with only remote work in mind, many companies were still hesitant. A few prominent companies, like Yahoo, had taken the drastic measure to reverse its decision to allow remote working by recalling its home-based employees back into the office as far back as 2013.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit and people were required to work from home, remote working tools like Zoom, Slack, Trello, Fastly as well as Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and others began to take the centre stage. Companies that previously did not allow flexible working locations had to scramble to set up their remote working infrastructure, both digitally and from a culture standpoint, to continue operating their businesses.
Some would also say that Covid-19 has simply accelerated the Industry 4.0 transformation – leveraging on human-centred technology to improve products and processes. Importantly, humans still need to be part of the equation, and need to be reskilled and develop new capabilities and be connected on the international scale. This is to combat when a McKinsey report predicts will happen by 2030 – that close to half of all jobs will be susceptible to automation and hundreds of millions of people will need to find new jobs and careers.
With so much rigour and effort poured into fine-tuning and perfecting remote working best practices in recent weeks, companies will very likely build upon this this new norm rather than revert to their outdated practices.
In many ways, companies must embrace this new norm, as not doing so will likely lead to losing employees to their peers and their business to other competitors.
Enhanced corporate culture for sustainability
Another conversation coming into the fore is corporate sustainability, and with that job stability. Of late, more companies have been announcing retrenchments, no-pay leaves and salary cuts, and even shutting down companies.
While many may not have thought twice about jumping onboard innovative but yet-to-be profitable start-ups and to higher-paying roles in the past, more attention will be paid on whether your employer is able to navigate a downturn, while thriving operationally, protecting salaries and sustaining operations.
Importance of a healthy lifestyle
Many conversations around productivity losses due to absenteeism and even presenteeism have already been regularly discussed. The current Covid-19 pandemic serves to highlight the importance of good health even more.
Initial reports seem to suggest that individuals with underlying medical conditions and the elderly are more susceptible to developing serious illness after contracting the virus. Underscoring this, many individuals and corporates will place more emphasis on healthier choices and healthier living.
More urgently, being able to work in a safe environment is a top priority. Companies also have to address this to comply with government regulations as well as being a conscionable corporate citizen.
Going forward, companies that prioritise their employees' health and provide comprehensive health coverage will be looked upon more favourably as well. Individuals and corporates can take the extra measure of leveraging on AIA Vitality, which challenges members to improve your fitness and maintain a healthier lifestyle with personalised targets.
Lifelong learning is another broad topic that Singapore has embraced and has incrementally supporting workers to upgrade and reskill with various initiatives, such as SkillsFuture payouts and sharing in the cost to provide relevant training.
Indeed, in the government's Fortitude budget, the majority of the $33 billion package is aimed towards creating jobs and building skills and boosting enterprise transformations.
The Singaporean government, understanding the importance of skill upgrade, has offered Singaporeans the opportunity to tap on available resources to upgrade themselves. With SGUnited Jobs and Skills Packages, you can now continue your lifelong learning journey and pick up in-demand soft or technological skills or to remain relevant in this new normal that we will face post-COVID.
Alongside adopting new government initiatives, appreciating lifelong learning has to come from individuals and with a supportive corporate culture. Individuals and companies that do not embrace this will easily find themselves lagging behind their peers in a world that is changing more rapidly than ever.
Ensure you cover your bases while reaching for your goals
Another uncertainty that Covid-19 has introduced is also what individuals are covered for with their various insurance policies. Just as masking up, washing your hands thoroughly and practicing better personal hygiene has become a daily routine for protecting yourself and your family, you should also look at other areas of protection that may need to be beefed up.
This is as good a time as any to review your existing policies, familiarise yourself with the health, life and critical illness coverage that you already own, and potentially enhance your coverage or plug protection gaps that you may have overlooked.
Speak to an AIA financial consultant or your trusted financial advisor to ensure that you get covered for stronger and better tomorrows.