COVID-19 expedite 4th industrial revolution

The 4th industrial revolution is fuelled by technological innovations such as artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing, virtual reality, blockchains, and more. This means that everyone will need a certain level of comfort around technology

Changes driven by technology and increased consumer demand for sustainability hitherto were the main driving force for change. COVID-19 has now thrown a very big spanner in the works. An act of God it is not but has invariable changed everything about the workplace and how we proceed from this juncture.

The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the advancement of remote work, forcing millions of people to work from home. Organizations are already adapting their hiring strategies to get ahead of the next potential disruption, leveraging online and cloud platforms and adapting to a more remote work environment.

While remote work demands best practices and tools, it is an opportunity to adapt to current trends in the Talent Economy and break free of previous constraints. The way we work will therefore likely shift toward a more remote work environment.

As working remotely has become a reality for many, we will likely find that companies will continue to leverage remote work even after COVID-19 subsides. Some organizations were already moving to distributed models well before the crisis. More recently, certain companies like Nationwide and Twitter announced that they will keep the practice permanently.

With companies shutting doors and cutting costs as a consequence of COVID-19, freelancing which has been on the rise leading up to 2020 will certainly take a steeper trajectory post COVID-19 due to the significant numbers of claimants applying for unemployment benefits across both sides of the Atlantic. Highly skilled professionals may choose to freelance, either supplementary to their full-time jobs to maintain a sense of security or as their main source of income to maintain their work-life balance. As freelancing takes hold, it will bring more job stability for in-demand experts and professionals since they will have the choice of where and how they work.

In many industries, the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution poses both challenges and opportunities, with technologies such as smart factories projected to add $3.7trn (£2.9trn) in value to the world economy by 2025, according to McKinsey research.

Teleconferencing have become hugely important as the world adapts to the "new normal" of the pandemic.
COVID-19 unlike other viruses preceding it, has forced a fundamental step change in how we now perform work irrespective of the sector.
Teleconferencing hitherto a domain reserved for middle tier and top managers to confer subtle changes in a multinational corporations has now become de-rigueur to all and sundry. Even as lockdown rules ease, they will become a staple in the way we stay in touch for business and socialising.
There are huge amounts of money at stake, with the global market for teleconferencing technology predicted to reach $16bn (£9.2bn) by 2025, up from $6bn last year, according to business forecasting and analysis company Transparency Market Research.

The Humble Office
COVID-19 is now putting the status of the omnipresence staple that we called the office into question. "The notion of putting 7,000 people in a building may be a thing of the past," said the boss of Barclays, while Morgan Stanley's chief said the bank will have "much less real estate". Businessman Sir Martin Sorrell said he'd rather invest the £35m he spends on expensive offices in people instead. If you heard these comments just three months ago you would consider them bonkers. Sign of the times - how one tragic and cataclysmic (kind of) event triggered in Wuhan (China) is reverberating and causing havoc through everything we've come to know as stable. If ever one was looking for the definition of a Disruptor here it is literally.

Companies need to take an innovative approach to keep up, By only following a traditional, analytical approach, there’s a huge risk that businesses will all end up at the same point, with very little to differentiate them. The ability to innovate will be critical to the next wave of stand-out companies in this "era of the 4th industrial revolution", and that relies on a culture of creativity, which is inherently risky and requires "out of the box thinking".

Covid-19 may not have brought the business community many benefits, but accelerating the pace of technological change has been a positive outcome. Inevitably, digital transformation plans will continue to accelerate, with businesses rolling out data solutions to understand and meet the evolving needs of consumers as well as the requirements of their workforce.

The businesses that have thrived in recent months are the ones that have demonstrated agility and found new business models and ways of working, enabled by technology. Many of these companies will even find that their new business models have proven so successful they will keep them going forward, marking the “new normal” normal again.