The weeks leading to the end of the 2019 year saw social media platforms littered with felicitations and a trend that involved people dropping throwback pictures of how they were in 2010; the beginning of the decade. At the time, the coronavirus was breeding and spreading rapidly in Wuhan. Little did anyone expect that COVID-19 was going to bring a massive and sudden alteration and a culture shift to life globally.
Data collected by Statista shows that as of January 8, the cumulative total of COVID-19 cases globally was 1. However, as it started towards the end of February, the cumulative number of cases was closing in at a hundred thousand.
In the middle of March, the WHO declared the virus a pandemic, updating the virus from the status of Public Health Emergency given to earlier in February. The declaration of a pandemic led to a series of events that brought a massive culture shift globally. Infected people could carry the virus for days before showing symptoms, all the while infecting perfectly healthy people. Countries had no option but to declare statewide lockdowns as the virus was highly contagious.
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The lockdown brought about a massive standstill in the global economy. The imposition of strict social distancing guidelines meant that businesses, and other places that could encourage the gathering of people, were shut down. Workers were laid off as businesses had to cope with the unexpected dwindling of business activities and reduction in expected revenue.
Despite the lockdown, however, not all businesses were shut. Some businesses were able to manage operations remotely. Even businesses that didn’t have little to no flexible work culture had no choice but to allow their employees to work from home; thereby, adopting work from home norms. In India, IT companies had to move their employee’s work computers to their homes because of the difficulty encountered with procuring new laptops on short notice.
The remote working culture is expected to bring about a cultural shift in the workplace. Today, the number of coronavirus cases globally is reducing, and countries are gradually relaxing lockdown policies. It is expected that, if things go well, life will return to normal. But for those workers who have been working from home, going back to the office might not be so simple for them.
A CIO India survey reveals that 96 percent of organizations have implemented work from home policies. This is a massive jump from a measly 19 percent two weeks before lockdown policies were announced in India. This new working culture is expected to continue way after the pandemic has subsided. Working from home and things like remote hiring is expected to become the new normal post COVID-19. Many people believe this might not be a bad development as this renewed focus on the varied application of digital technology might be the boost that puts India digitally to work.
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- Coronavirus Lockdown leads to enterprise-wide working from home in India by Poojitha Jayadevan ||March 30, 2020
- Survey reveals remote working likely to continue post-pandemic by Gartner
- Rolling updates on coronavirus disease by WHO
- Workplace culture change during COVID-19 crisis by Zoek|| May 4, 2020