Life, as we know it, has changed drastically over the past few weeks. The coronavirus has put a halt to social interactions, the economy, school, and even work. Today, as we are locked away in our dwelling places and trying to manage work, schooling our children, and worrying about our incomes, we are faced with a dismal future that we hope will turn on the dime – just the same way it all started. But will it?
Many experts are predicting that we will never be able to return to a pre-coronavirus state. Things have changed and will continue to evolve. The future of work, which has been discussed for years, is now here. We are living amid a revolution that will change the way we work.
Tech companies are seeing an increase in the usage of their apps and products for online collaboration and meetings. Microsoft, for example, is predicting that the COVID-19 pandemic will be the turning point in how we work and learn in the future.
In the March/April issue of CGE, we devoted some space to address this emerging trend. A regular contributor to CGE, Jeffrey Roy, pens a thought-provoking column on Coronavirus and the Future of Work. As we try to ride through the pandemic, digitization is facilitating virtual work environments resulting in cost and time savings benefits for both employees and employers. Governments are also trying to move this process along by leading from the front with virtual work teams and online meeting platforms. Providing e-learning courses is another way to keep services open during this time. With the advent of 5G technology, we can prepare for a greater acceleration of online services. And as governments around the world focus on containing COVID-19, the next strategy should be about embracing a workplace that is more virtual in nature.
It’s no secret that we were not prepared for the current pandemic. Kevin Grauman provides three things that can be done right now to help flatten the curve and address the global health crisis. He points out by adopting these, Canada stands a fighting chance of minimizing casualties and improving health outcomes for everyone.
The abrupt closing of businesses in March due to the coronavirus has resulted in the loss of more than a million jobs in Canada. The closure resulted in two categories of workers, those that shifted their work environments to home and those who cannot convert to an online format. Lori Turnbull writes about this in the Last Word pointing out that the pandemic has uprooted and transformed all our routines. Now to redefine what qualifies as “normal” opens up all kinds of possibilities for work.
Continuing on the trend of virtual and online services, Bernard Woo writes about how governments around the world are actively pursuing digital strategies to improve citizens’ experiences. But CIOs in Canada are not far along in their digital journey as compared with their global peers. With limited resources and the need to balance citizen privacy, the challenge to achieve digital overhauls becomes more difficult.
Other articles in this issue focus on maximizing the value of data analytics in your data management strategy, flexible work, and productivity by transparency.
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Thanks for taking the time to read this issue. From the CGE team, we would like to extend thanks to all frontline staff who have bravely served over the past weeks in battling and containing the coronavirus.