The future of work has been metamorphosed overnight
- Layoffs in EU and US will be substantial in scale and speed never seen before
- Pickup in pregnancies in 2020, hike in birth rates in 2021 followed by increase in divorces
- As a result a tsunami of mental depressions is gathering pace and in motion
- Growing fractures in socio-familial conflagration are certain
- This can lead to increased anxiety and major mental health issues in many societies
Keep an Eye On
There will be an exponential need for products and services in Mental Health space. New start-ups will emerge and remain at the forefront of long-term contracts with governments.
Well-funded programs and solutions required for re-training, re-integrating mass numbers of population who have been laid off would prosper in a post pandemic environment. Mentoring will be right, front and centre in these programs.
COVID-19 layoffs will serve many governments and will be used as a laboratory, warm up and social experiment in anticipation of the potential redundancies that arrival of AI will bring in a few years.
The workers of the future ought to be more of triathletes and not just runners. For example how to convince, and integrate a laid off young pilot from a budget airline to accept becoming a lorry driver crossing Euro Tunnel day in and day out. Replacing a purpose and meaning is as important as income.
While the pandemic will enhance the role of online solutions, the biggest and most important factor in regaining societal well being rests in empowering communities and even participatory democracy.
The pandemic disruptions will be more cyclical and more frequent in the future. All the while, global finances are overleveraged, underinvested, burdened by inefficiencies and as showcased through systemic failure of some of the strongest governments around the world very few are financially able to weather them.
Many democracies will start emulating the governing patterns and tech tools of the very states (e.g. China) that they have been criticizing frequently. Case in point facial recognition and mobile tracking techniques will gain pace in the western hemisphere. Yet tracking someone with a facial mask, sunglasses and baseball cap is not as accurate as many of the governments would hope for.
Rehabilitation and future well being of the society has to start today and in tandem with overcoming these crises. Some writings are already on the wall. Governments should create taskforces, assemble anthropologists, and experts in form of PPP (private public partnership) units and task forces to map out the socio-economic and socio-cultural aftershocks of this pandemic. No government has the luxury of being caught off-guard twice. First falling short on pandemic itself and then the inability to foresee and plan for mental health tremors that will follow. The real challenge is the “morning after”.
In between there will be no shortage of headlines making our heads spin:
In the midst of the pandemic and while scrambling for ventilators and masks around the world, many states in the Unites States have announced that firearm shops should remain open as “Essential Services”. One would think that some of these decision makers need ventilators and oxygen for clearer thinking in perpetuity.
Ali Borhani is the Managing Director of 3Sixty Strategic Advisors Ltd. It is the readers’ responsibility to verify their own facts. The views and opinions expressed in this article/commentary are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other individual, agency, organization, employer or company.