The labor transformation left by Covid-19

In three months, the working world was transformed. Each sector, each economic activity has had to adjust to the new times brought about by the presence of the Coronavirus pandemic. Immediate actions and reactions surrounded the companies who had to make the decision to stop operating or, in the best of cases, to continue operating from the homes of their collaborators.

The new normality is not the normality we left behind when the pandemic started. There is no doubt that we are currently more digital and we were forced into the need to acquire these necessary skills, but not with a sense of urgency. “We have changed our way of life, our way of shopping, our way of learning and working. Thus, we are living a labor transformation”, said Arleth Leal, specialist in human resources.

Before coronavirus, non-traditional work schemes such as flexible hours and remote work proved their usefulness in making the talent equation more dynamic within organizations Today, in the midst of the pandemic, remote work has enabled the continuity of businesses.

Nevertheless, after Coronavirus, and once many companies have already experienced its effectiveness, this form of collaboration will be more extensively implemented by organizations and, in consequence, will bring a balance between personal life and work as one of its most important benefits; explained Oscar de la Vega, partner of the De la Vega & Martínez Rojas Firm.

More job seekers

In those three months, the labor market changed its conformation; the population available to work, which was of around 6 million people has now risen to 20 million people, this being the aggregate number of people: employed, unemployed, unavailable but who, within the current context, would take a job offer.

In terms of the position that people hold in their jobs, the greatest impact of the pandemic in terms of volume was on subordinate workers; from 38.8 [million] people who were in this category, their number fell to 32 million people. In the case of self-employed people, their number was reduced from 12 million to 7.7 million; in relative terms they are the ones suffering the greatest impact.

While this is not an encouraging scenario, mainly because the labor market has no expectations for obtaining a job in the short term and that, according to Mónica Flores, president of ManpowerGroup Latinoamérica, the expectation for hiring for the next quarter is of minus 9 percent, we also have the adjustments that the human resources departments must make in face of the job transformation.

The new global reality will give greater relevance to non-traditional work concepts, such as flexible hours, hybrid workspace, horizontal organization charts with few management levels or relaxed dressing code, which will be a part of the new working life.

On the other hand, employment models will also diversify. Full-time workers will not be the single most important form of talent within organizations. After coronavirus, it will be more common for all types of organizations and industries that the use, within the supply chain, of solutions related to talent that is not directly employed expands and grows, strengthening and growing models relating to temporary or contingent workforce, workers hired by project or totally outsourced services.

The labor market is starting to require profiles that adapt to these new needs, with technology being one of the factors that is common to all of them. This allows the creation of new job positions or leading some of the existing ones to specialize to the maximum.

“Unfortunately, many people in Mexico have lost their jobs during the pandemic and the majority of these people worked in informal jobs or schemes, which caused them to be more affected in their economy, since they did not receive what they were entitled to by law, in comparison with those employed in formal schemes. Additionally, something that is very possible is that these formal jobs may become more flexible after this situation”, Karen Rosales Bazo Content Coordinator at Kelly Services México.

Arleth Leal, human resources specialist, stated that the human resources areas have been working with companies on the return of collaborators under the new models and filters to enter the work area, in addition to the health tests and diagnostics before resuming their work activities.

These teams are playing a fundamental role in the return to work, the first impression of the workers in the “new normality” will be controversial, having to queue to comply with the entry and exit filters. Workers must be prepared weeks in advance to be able to resume their activities and thus have and have knowledge about risk control, with the proper use of protection equipment.

There are also workers who are afraid to return due to a fear of contagion; companies are implementing conferences to work on the emotional aspect, with the intention of having them return to their jobs with the best attitude and a good management of their emotions.

As for the new skills, good communication, teamwork, control of emotions and control of frustration are sought. Training is being conducted to enable workers to learn how to communicate through technological tools and, above all, to have the adaptability to work independently from their homes.

Note published in Fortuna in the Economía [Economy] section by María Martínez