As  South Africa commemorates  Workers’ Day or May Day on Saturday there is growing curiosity on whether the workforce of the future will continue to reflect the dramatic shift in the global business landscape that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.

The shift forced offices to close and employees to work remotely from their homes utilising virtual communications technologies.

A “Workforce of the Future” survey conducted in Europe, the Middle East and Africa by Cisco says employees want to retain some aspects of remote working, such as increased autonomy and faster decision-making.

However, only 5% of those surveyed worked from home prior to the lockdown.

A study on “Remote Working in South Africa 2020”, conducted by World Wide Worx reveals that at the time of the lockdown, only 37% of companies were somewhat prepared for the sudden switch to remote working.

Less than a quarter (23.5%) had a detailed digital transformation strategy that had enabled the digitalisation of all processes within their organisations.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, Prof. Tshilidzi Marwala weighs in on what the Future of Work is and will be in  South Africa:


Political parties say little to celebrate this Workers’ Day

Meanwhile, many of the country’s political parties believe there is little to celebrate on May Day this year. The day, celebrated worldwide, is aimed at commemorating the achievement of workers and highlighting the challenges they continue to face.

In South Africa, high unemployment, the social and economic ravages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for worker unity are just some of the issues reflected by local parties.

Addressing Cosatu’s virtual May Day Celebrations, African National Congress President Cyril Ramaphosa emphasised the need for adequate and timely access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Lives and livelihoods of workers depend on these, he said.

“Workers of the world must unite to compel developed countries and these large pharmaceuticals companies to display more social solidarity in addressing this pandemic. We call on Cosatu and the rest of the mass democratic movement to intensify their efforts to join the progress forces at home and across the world, as Cosatu has already done to advocate for vaccine patent waiver.”