Financial Security – an even bigger factor in the ‘New Normal’!
What will the working landscape look like in the ‘new normal’ after the coronavirus pandemic?
What changes for businesses in the ‘New Normal’?
One thing is certain, we’ve all been given a reminder that we live with more uncertainty!
We can’t predict the future. But, we can take some things into account when we think about working in the ‘new normal’ and our financial security. Learning and addressing the right lessons will be important.
Here are 3 topics which we should grip in the new normal!
The government’s COVID-19 support solutions have had a dramatic but uneven effect on people’s financial security.
Support to companies with employees is significantly and demonstrably more reassuring to individuals than those measures available to the self-employed.
Therefore, it is likely that the trend of increasing self-employment will slow as people evaluate the financial security benefits of employment.
In addition, the Treasury has hinted at the ‘Normalisation of tax breaks for self-employed’ and homeworkers.
In the new normal, full-time employment and relatively secure earnings will be increasingly important to family focussed adults. This will squeeze entrepreneurs and self-employment into specific sectors, demographics or life-style choices.
Working from home
Increased home working will mean that employed people have many of the quality of life improvements that self-employed homeworkers enjoy.
Businesses will adopt new methods and applications to remotely monitor productivity/discipline of employees. These may be seen as an invasion of privacy by some. Those who do, will effectively campaign against WFH solutions which many workers would tolerate with company safeguards.
Employees will need to be careful not to pick up the hidden costs of their employers as businesses save from office space costs. This will be particularly important if tax exemptions for home equipment are removed by HMRC.
The legal implications of Health and Safety, security and ethics (privacy safeguards) in home working models will lead to 2-3 years of unstable and employment patterns until sustainable ways-of-working models emerge.
Duty of Care influence ‘in the workplace’ and camaraderie will be reduced and could have a slow but detrimental impact on both physical and mental health of remote and detached workers.
To compensate, larger businesses could encourage local business support communities regionally. One way of maintaining a sense of belonging could be increasing corporate sponsored team focussed indoor/outdoor activities, welfare and sporting pursuits.
New business opportunities will arise as demand for local fresh food/sandwich delivery companies might spring up to support corporate business ‘satellites’ in residential areas.
The biggest opportunity and risk in the new normal is in skilled trades.
Despite increasing demand, the national shortage of skilled tradespeople will increase due to earning stability fears.
Yet, and as a result of the crisis, changes in tax and law were made rapidly to support short-term employment and business viability. The delivery of a model encouraging people to enter self employed skilled trades will take longer.
At the same time we should expect reduced capacity resulting from restricted freedom of movement for migrant workers from EU will make matters worse.
Skilled trades will become the ‘new’ key workers, especially in the construction trades, agriculture and care.
This shortage will impact home-owners as there will be reduced trades personnel to fix stuff. In addition, prices will rise against a backdrop of reduced household incomes.
Although pay in the critical sectors will most probably go up as supply and demand factors apply, encouraging new blood into the sectors is going to be challenging.
The apprenticeship scheme will need to deliver better futures for apprentices, meet the skills gaps and provide more stable employment.
Provided we can deal with uncertainty and take opportunities as they come, the new normal looks good.
- We are likely to work from home and be outside more.
- More people will be able to earn more money, more quickly in the skilled trades.
- University education has enjoyed years of significant support. In the new normal, the national imperative is restoring the respect and balance for craftsmen and skilled trades.
- Financial security measures must be adopted to support skilled and craft trades and perhaps the start-up route will be through on-the-job-training and apprenticeships.
One this is certain, the insurance industry will need to adapt its policies and customer service as well to look after micro-businesses better!
Finally, business insurance will need to reassure customers who have been ‘let down’ by insurers during this crisis. Too many thought they had some or adequate business interuption cover.