International Workplace adaptation during the Pandemic- What next?

As the world sat abated breath in February 2020, I am sure that none of us could have foreseen what would transpire globally. This pandemic has had a devastating effect in all spheres of life, and we had to adapt to the “new normal” in the way we interact, shop, live. communicate and work!

It has been a tumultuous time for all in various ways as plans had to be put on hold and Industries temporarily closed due to several lockdowns around the world. One of the very first industries to cease operations was airlines as country after country, imposed border closures and effectively ceased all commercial flights.

The Effects

The sudden closure had a devastating effect which left people stranded globally and those who had visas/work permits to work in other countries had their plans put on hold as visas were revoked. Those who were in the process of applying for work permits had to wait as embassies ceased all visa operations. It seemed to be a lose- lose situation, not only for the intended worker, but for the company and the economy too.

Silver linings

While some of those in certain sectors had to scupper plans – for example those who were required to physically be onsite such as Offshore workers and Power Engineers, there were others that could adapt to a unique situation. During the “Old Normal”, computers and the internet made globalization easier as people could connect in real time with each other and the advent of technology has created a platform where it is not necessary to set foot into the office. I have been working remotely for 6 years prior to the lockdown using outlook, teams and skype to conduct my duties in real time, not forgetting Zoom

The solution

Adapt, adapt, adapt! That is the solution. Many corporations prior to the pandemic had not given working remotely a thought, now whole corporations are doing exactly that. I understand that not every job can be done remotely, however- Tech industries can. A real-life example was an Egyptian National who was due to work in France as a Software Developer. He was in the process of applying for a work permit at the beginning of lock down. The company in France reached out to us for a solution and the first question we asked whether his role could be done remotely, to which they applied in the affirmative. The Egyptian National is now fully employed and tax compliant and will most likely head out to France when things return to some semblance of normalcy.

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