How will Work look like in a post Covid-19 world?
With the COVID-19 outbreak, digital channels have unceremoniously taken over our lives. No one knows for sure when the pandemic will end. We do know, however, that work in the recovered world will not operate with a dichotomous view. Even for the financial advisers.
Work From Home Via Zoom
Initially, employees rejoice with work from home arrangements. This means more sleep-in time instead of waking up early. Many employers worry about the new arrangement’s impact on their teams’ productivity, but work-from-home arrangements make monitoring difficult. This has brought micro-management to a new level and made working hours highly fluid. It’s a two-way street: This affects both employers and employees and they hate it.
Work from home arrangements also bring a new set of challenges. Events at home can distract employees from work. Unknowingly, employees will then multi-task which adds a psychological burden on them and lowers productivity. To compound this existing issue, remote meetings have replaced face-to-face interactions.
Remote meetings are currently the dominant channels for appointments. Zoom meetings do come with its perks. Formal wear is not needed and companies without an office can cut rental costs.
However, people are growing weary with remote meetings. Screen time takes a toll on the human psyche, commonly known as Zoom fatigue. Research has shown that people expend unnecessary energy on video (or face-less calls) trying to understand non-verbal cues like facial expressions. Employers are also uncertain about potential online distractions as no one can control the employee from streaming a movie in the middle of an online meeting. All these make remote meetings a negative experience.
The benefits of working in the office are manifold. Face-to-face trainings will always be more efficient for employees. Ultimately, humans were designed for social interaction with the capacity to relate and most importantly, be present.
Fast forward 10 years later, what will work look like in a post COVID-19 world?
Post Covid-19 Work Behaviour… Ten Years Later
In a post COVID-19 world, we envision a work arrangement whereby office and home settings interchange flexibly. Employees will come to the workplace with a renewed purpose – to strategize and socialize. On days when they need absolute concentration, they pick the setting most conducive – be it the office or home.
We may look forward to clocking miles from business trips as air travel resume at full speed. However, employers have learnt through the pandemic to depend on localized talents more heavily than before. We expect globetrotting corporate travel to occur at lower intensity than before the pandemic.
If Nothing Changes? Or…Another Pandemic?
There are consequences if we insist on 100% work-from-home arrangements. In the worst-case scenario, we can see extreme micro-managing happening. Can you imagine companies attempting to squeeze more working hours from the weary employee through sophisticated software capable of machine-learning? From screen-time analysis to the number of breaks taken, there will be increasingly lesser privacy between employer and employee. With discussions on personal data infringement going around, this is a ridiculous after-thought. At the current pace of technological advance, however, this does not seem too far-fetched.
What About The Work Of Financial Advisors?
We will see a hybrid of customer engagement involving face-to-face and online interaction. The latter has its downsides. With household distractions and Zoom fatigue, customers may be psychologically absent in the sales meeting, jeopardizing advisors’ sales efforts. Despite these issues, people have gotten used to Zoom and will continue using it.
Ultimately, financial advisory is a form of entrepreneurship. As self-employed entrepreneurs, financial advisors need to be flexible enough to use technology when needed while being physically present to help their clients discover financial freedom.
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