di Nicolò Boggian (taken from the article “Zooming, slacking and meeting” on Accidental European)

The COVID-19 pandemic has been conducive to a global shift and has given us a glimpse of the future by accelerating trends of change that were already on an upward trajectory.

In 2020, close to 40% of those currently working in the EU began to telework fulltime as a result of the pandemic. While it was forced, due to the lockdowns, in many cases, it brought families closer together and facilitated digital literacy for millions of individuals. As a by-product of this phenomenon, our collective society benefited from reduced pollution and congestion in urban areas. We learned this is not just a new shift in working but potentially, part of the solution for one of the world’s greatest threats – climate change.

1.1 billion people worldwide are now freelancers. The economy of the future is digital. Everything about work, as we know it, is changing. EU policies need to catch up with these evolutions for the sake of reinforcing social cohesion in Europe.

As millions around the world joined digital work during the pandemic, these new remote employees highlighted already existing problems of global competition, social needs, inclusion and sustainability in the remote working sector. 2020 brought to the forefront this new way of living and working, which begs the questions; are we, citizens and European institutions, ready for the future of work?

The main lesson we can take away from the pandemic is that while our way of working has practically changed overnight and remote working has seduced many with its perks, we need to collectively acknowledge that this is still a new frontier – it needs to be properly tamed and framed by adequate public policies capable of redesigning our society as a whole in Europe, so that no one is left behind.

Now, in our post Covid-19 world, we’ll be facing a substantial number of occupations that will be displaced by automation, and sooner than we think.

The future of work is likely to focus on the production of intangible services performed remotely and autonomously: where multiple employment relationships exist and the market will require continuous learning and re-skilling because automation and the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) could result in the loss of 53 million jobs by 2030.8 

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