Our post-pandemic world of work?

25th September 2020 by Alexandra Potter

It’s safe to say that 2020 has been quite the rollercoaster- literally so when you consider the peaks, troughs and waves associated with the pandemic. It’s also safe to say that it has been the most uncertain and worrying time of my young life and quite probably yours too.

Overwhelmingly, coronavirus has affected us and our communities in a negative way, but look closely and there has also been a glimmer of positivity. Witness the way people have come together to look after the most vulnerable people in their street, working together, for each other. The same can be said about the world of work- overwhelmingly there has been a negative effect, but there has been some positive, especially in the way we see and value certain job roles.

Unfortunately some work sectors have struggled and will continue to do so over the next six months- notably hospitality. However, essential services, those that we have relied on heavily in our times of uncertainty, are now viewed in a more positive light and are appreciated much more. Key essential workers are actually getting us through the pandemic- from frontline NHS staff, scientists working in laboratories, cleaners keeping workplaces sanitised, retail staff ensuring shelves are stocked and the delivery drivers getting food and essential products across the country. Here is a ‘top-10’ list of areas of work that we have valued more during the pandemic.

10 valued job areas

  1. Healthcare workers including doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants, radiographers, porters
  2. Scientists including epidemiologists, virologists, computational chemists, NHS testers and testing assistants
  3. Social care workers including those working for social services departments, care homes, domestic abuse charities
  4. Teachers in primary and secondary schools
  5. Mechanics keeping vehicles road worthy including emergency vehicles and those in the haulage sector
  6. Emergency services including firefighters, paramedics and police officers
  7. Cleaners working in domestic, commercial and industrial settings
  8. The logistics sector including delivery drivers, warehouse workers, stevedores and others working in our ports
  9. Retail, especially supermarkets, local grocers, butchers, bakeries, pharmacies and home/DIY stores
  10. Passenger transport workers including bus, train and taxi drivers

There has also been major changes to the way we work and go about our daily life. Below is a selection of trends in the workplace throughout these times;

  • Social distancing measures extended to workplaces
  • Prevalence of masks, visors and sanitisation stations in workplaces
  • Working from home becoming a new norm for many individuals and businesses
  • Less travel to meetings that can take place virtually
  • Virtual working practice through video call software e.g. Zoom, Teams, Meet
  • Widespread adoption of digital alternatives, heralding in faster
  • Flexible working hours and patterns
  • Greater appreciation of better work/social/family life balance
  • More appreciation of the role small businesses play in local communities
  • Less traffic on the roads

Some advice for your career development

It is understandable that the workplace has changed a lot due to coronavirus, but do not let this limit your aspirations or stop you exploring ideas. We know that every job has value, but we should also acknowledge that events like this can shed new light on jobs that may not have been given much thought previously. If this experience leads to an upturn of interest in unfashionable, but key sectors such as logistics and scientific research or the less popular health professions, then this is a positive outcome. So many jobs out there have the potential to provide you with a successful and satisfying career. Broadening your aspirations is key to not overlooking your ideal role or roles.

Although you may be unsure of what you want to do, uncertain about the opportunities available or anxious about the future, help is at hand. Professional Careers Advisers are there to support and guide you on your career journey. There are also many good career websites out there where you can find out more about jobs you know and inspire you to think of others you may not have given much thought to. See our Insights and LMI pages to find your inspiration.

Alexandra Potter is a recent graduate of BA (Hons) Guidance and Counselling at Northumbria University and now a graduate intern at CareerWave.