By Daniel Supervielle.

Column published on El Observador, February 18, 2020.

Coronavirus anticipated the arrival of the future in people’s lives all around the globe.

The long-announced changes were evident in the behavior of society. With the fear generated by the virus’s spread, people were forced to quickly change habits, incorporate technology and assume its new destiny.

The changes caused by the pandemic are here to stay in several areas. There is one in particular that has no return: the one that strikes the world of work. Work—which has been a tangential issue of debate for some time—was forced to undergo a redefinition without being prepared for it.

Many companies that were putting off decisions concerning robotization, location, or even size of the workforce were forced to take decisions in order to survive. If the pandemic ever ends, the most innovative companies will have managed to function better with fewer people and operating expenses since many of their employees will work from home.

This simple change also transformed the lives of workers. They had to reorganize spaces at home and did not have to waste time going to the office or company. The world kept on going.

During the pandemic, the best-selling books at the global level were cooking books. Family relationships were also redefined. And, in many cases, the value of these ties was put to the test. The changes brought about by the pandemic are of such magnitude that human beings had to reconnect with their deepest roots: family, food, home, family company, the fragility of existence, and even the fear of death. All of this occurred in a digital and technological interconnectivity framework, with a constant bombing of information impossible to assimilate. There must not be a living human being on the planet who did not have his life turn upside down in 2020. When the pandemic is over, we will have realized that this was the future so feared. We will stumble into a new era of humanity in which human relationships will change forever. The idea of work as the major reason for existence will be questioned by the strength of the facts. The traditional relations among employees and employers, colleagues and bosses, educators and students have been pulverized as never before in history. We need to accept it quickly and adjust ourselves to it. We are in the air, and we need to fly. Even if we don’t have wings.