The unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic have led many people throughout the world to reflect deeply on how they live and work.
This has brought into sharper focus questions about the nature and purpose of work in a post-COVID world, prompting many discussions at the national and international levels on issues related to workplace culture.
“We need to rethink the purpose of work, which over the last few years has come to be seen by many people as being more than about acquiring material means or maximizing profits,” said Liliane Nkunzimana, a representative of the Baha’i International Community (BIC), in her opening remarks at a discussion forum titled “A Future that Works: Consulting Across Generations to Build Prosperity.”
The online event, which was jointly hosted by the New York Office of the BIC and the NGO Committee on Ageing during the 60th session of the United Nations’ Commission for Social Development, provided a unique forum for a discussion on principles around which work will need to be re-envisioned.
“Many conversations about the future of work are often focused on the impact of technology on work environments. Far less attention is given to identifying and applying values and principles that can enable new possibilities, principles such as unity, justice, collaboration, selflessness, and consultation,” said Ms. Nkunzimana.
The application of such principles, however, is complex. In one of its previous statements, the BIC has noted that embracing these values would challenge widely-held assumptions underpinning current economic models — for example, that competition drives progress and that human beings perform best when promoting their own self-interests rather than working toward the common good.
Despite the various obstacles in re-envisioning the future of work, participants noted that the generosity and cooperation shown by many people, especially young people, in their personal and professional lives in response to COVID recovery efforts has provided new insights into human nature and a hopeful outlook. The BIC plans to continue this conversation through a series of monthly forums on youth and social transformation. A recording of this event can be viewed here.