2020 was an interesting (for lack of a better word) year. No two years are ever the same, but most of us would certainly agree that the last year of the previous decade has turned our lives upside down on many accounts. Personal lives have been greatly affected with millions of people mourning the passing of loved ones due to the deadly Covid-19. Lockdowns imposed in many countries across the world have tested – and continue to test – our resilience and mental health. Professionally, things have taken a dramatic and, perhaps, permanent turn for most industries.

Undoubtedly, one of the most interesting courses of ISM curriculum, “The Future of Work” taught by Professor Simon Stoepfgeshoff, gives a great insight into what our professional lives are likely to become in a not-so-distant future. Technological progress is set to significantly disrupt not only the work we do but also how and where we do it. Some jobs will be displaced as computers and machines keep getting better and more efficient than humans. The jobs that are kept will be done differently, and in most cases with significant help from technology. The traditional office space will progressively be redefined – faster in some industries than others – as remote work becomes more and more accepted, if not strongly recommended.

If you think all this sounds familiar, you are probably right. We have just experienced all of it in 2020 and it has thus far it has continued this year. Job displacement due to automation was already happening steadily, and it has certainly received a boost in 2020 as physical contact during professional interactions became largely prohibited. Remote working has also taken a significant leap as companies sought ways to continue functioning despite the lockdown policies and various other restrictions that made it difficult or risky to make it to the office. At ISM, we have also felt it with classes moving online and collaboration between students and teachers remaining virtual. We have become accustomed to each other’s living rooms, libraries, or even kitchens in the background during Zoom calls.

As vaccines are slowly but steadily rolling out across the world, many parts of our lives will return to what they were pre-pandemic, hopefully sooner rather than later. However, some of the changes are likely to remain, especially wherever they have helped companies and workers become more efficient in delivering products and services. Remote working in particular will become the norm – at least partly – in many companies as it has proven in many cases to help reduce administrative costs. At ISM, we will hopefully be able to flock together to Paris soon again, but it will be interesting to see what lasting impact this period will have on the organization of the curricula.

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