Pandemic may lead to more automation in the workplace

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A working paper from two economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco illustrates how the Coronavirus pandemic may accelerate the trend towards automation of some workplaces:

“Workers can be exposed to health risks, and social distancing measures can reduce labor productivity by hindering the ability to work. But robots do not get sick,” Leduc and Liu wrote in the paper, posted on the San Francisco Fed’s website on May 8. “If a production process can be automated, a firm can use a robot instead of a worker to perform some risky tasks. In this sense, automation provides a hedge against job uncertainty stemming from the pandemic.”

Of course this trend has been going on for years, particularly in manufacturing. And in some cases, we’ve seen that automation sometimes creates new problems. It’s not always a silver bullet, but the chaos caused by this pandemic will certainly lead to more companies investigating ways to replace humans with machines in the workplace.

  

Remote work is leading to . . . more time to work

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With so many people working from home during the Covid-19 crisis, more people are learning about the benefits of working from home:

As most Americans continue to adjust to working from home during quarantine, the number of hours workers save on commuting hassles is being redistributed into their work.

Remote working certainly has some perks during the COVID-19 crisis. Social distancing and shelter-in-place are two of the best ways to help combat the virus since it encourages people to stay indoors and not head over to the office. But the additional free-time that comes with no commutes and standing in traffic for countless hours means US workdays are up by three hours since the rise in the coronavirus outbreak, according to a new analysis.

Of course, other productivity issues can arise with distractions at home, particularly if you have kids at home.

But the advantages of eliminating commuting time is real. This gives workers so much more time to work with during the day, and an 11-hour day feels like a normal 8-hour day.

It will be interesting to see how employers use this information. Having worked from home for years, this isn’t a surprise.

  

Beyond “To Do Lists” – Productivity Tips

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We all struggle with ways to become more productive. For example, some of us to well with to do lists, while others don’t get much from them. Naturally this depends a great deal on your own personality, your work situation and the type of work.

That said, it’s always great to hear other ideas and see what might work well for you and your situation.

This article provides examples of 6 tools that other than to-do lists that can be helpful for productivity. Check them out, but several stand out:

One involves distinguishing between low attention tasks and high attentions tasks. For example, some things like clearing out email are high attention tasks. When you have some energy with laser focus, you can knock many of these off your list. Then you can budget time for those tasks that require real concentration.

You can also benefit from scheduling s “power hour” each day. This should be a time when you can turn off distractions and get through some work that requires concentration without interruption. I’m thinking of ways to add this to my schedule, though I try to do this first thing in the morning.

Give these a try!

  

Remote work explodes

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With the Covid-19 crisis, everyone is being forced to re-imagine work. Companies that resisted flexible work arrangements are now doing everything they can to get things done with most of their team stuck at home.

Naturally, this is spilling into the job market as well. LinkedIn reported that remote work’s share of job listings increased 28% in March.

The question will be how much of this persists once we start to return to normal. Companies have been exposed to how much can be done with workers at home, so why devote so many resources to large, corporate offices? What are the long-term implications for commercial real estate? Which industries will see real transformation, and which will mostly go back to normal?

  

The great employment shift

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With the Coronavirus crisis, the once-robust job market has been destroyed as we embrace social distancing to bend the curve and do our best to reduce deaths. But the economic ramifications are devastating. So many businesses are struggling. Some may have to close down permanently, while millions of workers are losing their jobs. Think about workers in restaurants, hotels, cruise ships, entertainment venues, etc.

Meanwhile, certain businesses like grocery stores, online businesses, etc. are thriving as most people are isolating at home.

The result is a huge spike in workers needed for certain business. Here’s a very handy list of companies that are hiring now.

  

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