The Far Reaching Implications Of A Shifting Work Dynamic

In an earlier Post, I explored the possible implications of COVID-19. As with any look into the future, we know a series of dots will connect to shape it. Looking at the pieces in isolation fails to identify the potential paths. The world of work is a great example. Whatever happens in the context of work has an obvious ripple effect into multiple domains. The visual below captures some of that those ripples:

Work Ripples Across Domains

A recent Article explores one of the ripples on the visual: the return of retired workers. Retirement and how we view it was already a growing conversation pre-pandemic. But the current crisis introduces a new dimension. The article describes the current phenomenon of bringing back retired workers with special skills. The examples noted are the return of COBOL programmers, doctors, and nurses. Author Carol Fishman Cohen mentions an interview with Next Avenue, where David Grabowski, a professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School, said this: “Bringing physicians and nurses back in this crisis is a great idea, we should formalize it – a more systematic way to activate a source of physicians and nurses willing to return to the workforce.”

Although as the article states, employers have historically viewed this group of potential employees with skepticism, those who relaunched careers during the pandemic are making extraordinary contributions. Old perceptions of retired workers that their skills have deteriorated or become obsolete, they involve long ramp-up times, they lack commitment to the job, or are simply too old, have been replaced by the realization that their strengths are significant; notably, institutional knowledge, education, work experience, mature perspective, stable life stage, dedication, loyalty, energy and enthusiasm.

This is but one ripple on the visual above – which represents a fraction of the dots that will connect around this one scenario: a post-pandemic work future. Now introduce all the future scenarios that were in play prior to the pandemic, and it becomes clear that the “system” needs to be viewed as such. For it is at this systems level that we find the markers that point the way forward. The system spans all aspects of our world: society, environment, geopolitics, business, technology, philosophy, economy, and science. As they converge, the dots intersect. It is in those intersections that we see the future.


Explore more about the pandemic via these earlier posts.

FEATUREDA Post Pandemic Society


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