Updated: Dec 9, 2021
✦ The dominant three "C's" that affect the world: COVID-19, China and Climate Change
2022: A perspective from Brilliant-Online
It is fair to say that many of us will be glad to see the back of 2021. It was a strange, turbulent year where our understanding of how society is structured and how we fit into it individually and collectively was turned upside down.
COVID-19 has, of course, been the defining factor, as it was the previous year. Since emerging in Wuhan, China in late 2019, the virus has caused havoc globally, decimating economies, effecting lockdowns and movement of people, infecting millions and, sadly, claiming the lives of far too many.
COVID-19 status as at 6th December 2021
Australia has reported 216,000 COVID cases and 2.006 deaths. (source)
Globally, there are 266,127,465 confirmed cases in 222 countries and territories and 5,270,942 deaths. (source)
We now operate in a redefined landscape, with many facets of our daily lives still clouded with uncertainty and indecision. Whereas, of course, we do not possess the luxury of a crystal ball, here we take a peek into what we anticipate will be some of the big topics defining headlines and setting trends in the year ahead.
No doubt, the three big “C” words of COVID-19, China and Climate Change will be the dominant topics, which we cover in extensive detail below, but we have started with slightly less heavy issues we expect to shape 2022...
OUT OF OFFICE
The work paradigm has changed dramatically in the past two years and it may never return to the norms that we were previously accustomed to.
Lockdowns, quarantines and all manner of restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic meant the majority of workers switched to a work from home approach, something that has continued for many. Research conducted by Stanford University last year showed that an estimated 42% of the US labour force was working remotely, a figure that has undoubtedly increased since then.
The odd child bursting into the room or the family cat sauntering across the screen mid-zoom call aside, working from home has generally proved to be extremely fruitful with no major adverse effects on productivity levels, which may well see the trend become the new norm as we progress.
For many workers it has been a welcome change, with enhanced schedule flexibility and reduced commuting being just a couple of the perks of not being confined to the office. Property prices are soaring in regional areas, like Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia and Dumfries, Scotland where workers can live the lifestyle and pursue their careers they desire.
On the other hand, there are people who have complained of cabin fever, of needing to have a separate space in which to work and live, of missing the social aspects of an office. Certain jobs demand that you are in the office or place of work and concerns have been raised about monitoring and tax issues with remote or home-based work.
There are pros and cons on both sides, for sure. Assuming we do not experience anymore enforced lockdowns in 2022, many companies are suggesting they will allow workers the choice to work from home or from the office, where available and applicable.
Perhaps this compromise will be the most common approach, a hybrid of sorts where we spend a couple of days at the office and a couple of days at home.
Something the pandemic has changed is certain people’s attitudes to work and careers.
A survey conducted by UK Insurance company Aviva earlier this year revealed that almost half of the UK’s 34 million strong workforce plan to make career changes as a result of COVID-19. Likewise a report by AP revealed that many workers don’t want to go back to the jobs they once had.
Similarly, it has affected the outlook for many Gen Z college students who are now reconsidering their career choices and aspirations. In this age of perpetual connection where it can often be difficult to detach from the demands of work, is the allure of the strenuous, stressful, taxing career all it is cracked up to be?