As COVID-19 cases continue to rise throughout the country, students should expect classes to continue their online format. Although IU has not released complete class details and schedules, the university has confirmed classes will likely include online components and limited classroom exposure. Although certainly challenging, learning to adapt to remote learning will likely lead to heightened work opportunity down the road.
Online classes present students with an unprecedented challenge since many first experienced remote learning during the spring 2020 semester. However, online learning affords students a rare opportunity for personal growth that will increase attractiveness to employers. Students who succeed through remote learning demonstrate the ability to overcome unprecedented challenges and will be prepared for an increasingly remote business world.
As the pandemic escalated worldwide, students were forced to learn full time from home. I, along with many others, struggled to balance a class schedule without my normal routine of studying at the library or showing up to classrooms.
Students who successfully adjust their study habits to accommodate remote work will demonstrate to employers their ability to overcome demanding circumstances with flexibility. Adapting to remote learning, and the growing pains that accompanied it, is not an experience limited to students. As offices closed globally, many employees have also adjusted to working from home as well.
The American workplace has begun a trend toward remote work, with large corporations such as Twitter now allowing employees to work remotely full time. Prior to the pandemic, less than 4% of employees worked from home full time. However, due to government restrictions and the prevalence of COVID-19 spreading in office buildings, remote work has climbed dramatically. Remote work sites, such as Zoom and Microsoft Team, saw 70% spikes in active users.
The trend of increased remote work and learning will likely continue, even after the pandemic ends. A 2019 survey suggests that 80% of American workers feel less stressed and more trusted when they are allowed to work from home. In an unprecedented fashion, many Americans have found success in the new, unfamiliar format, and they are less likely to find returning to the 40-hour work week in an office desirable.
Experts disagree about how long the COVID-19 pandemic may last, but many suggest it will continue for the foreseeable future. Office work may become increasingly obsolete, as both employees and businesses begin to reap significant benefits of decreased travel costs and increasing flexibility that asynchronous work offers.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shape the global economy and shift business practices, students should keep in mind the long-term benefits of remote learning.
Sam Hauke (he/him) is a senior studying law and public policy with minors in history and business.