Workplace 3.0: Reimagining Office and Work-Life Post COVID-19
Work-life balance has started shifting once again after organisations have started going back to work post COVID. The 9 am to 5 pm work culture is back in business but with many changes in approach. While this move has focused on safety first, many have found that the main difference has been work-life balance.
From laptops being set in kitchens for work to client calls at midnight, employees across organisations have adapted to the work-from-home model. By using technology to connect employers and employees, the way forward is not restricted by traditional notions of time and space. With hybrid work taking over post-COVID, here are a few changes work-life will see for both employers and employees.
Hybrid Working - A New Work Lifestyle
The pandemic has proved that businesses do not stop when they go remote. With remote working being a welcome change, the future of work looks towards hybrid working becoming a lifestyle. Organisations will have to change their approach to employees working hybrid, and their communication platforms and command centres need to be upgraded for the hybrid approach. Human Resources will have to frame new norms for flexible working and facilitate the needs of their employees who opt for this transition.
Employees have seen the best of both worlds during the pandemic and want both. According to the Microsoft 2021 Work Trend Index, 66% of leaders say their company is considering redesigning offices for hybrid work, and 73% of employees want flexible remote work options to stay. Employees wish to control where, how and when they work.
Telecommuting will be the primarily accepted mode of work across organisations. With the flexibility of working anytime, organisations will have to change employee policies, thus creating flexible deadlines to help boost productivity.
The pandemic has allowed employees to evaluate what they want out of their work. In addition, the pandemic has helped employees realise that their productivity can improve with flexibility in work timings. Employer expectations and employee output have been the tricky balance to find during this time. However, with hybrid work here to stay, organisations have shown that it is possible to listen to their workforces and align the company expectations similarly.
Availability of Talent With Hybrid Work
Hybrid work opens a sea of opportunities for organisations to hire from any corner of the world. Talented individuals don't need to leave their city, home desk, or community to take advantage of job opportunities. Hybrid work allows organisations to build teams from a limitless talent pool. Hiring worldwide will help employees broaden their careers without compromising well-being and family priorities.
The way forward will have organisations investing in space and technology to bridge the gap between the digital and physical worlds. Organisations will have to move to spaces to help collaborate and encourage a sense of community. Creating command centres for teams to help facilitate seamless operations will be critical.
Social Networking Within Organisations
Social networking is a crucial part of work culture that reduces by hybrid work. Social networking happens across work cabins, lunch, break-out areas and meeting rooms. This culture feeds productivity and induces creativity among employees. Maintaining social capital between team members and encouraging networking across teams will be a challenge to higher levels of leadership. The challenge will lie in creating a social culture across geography and remotely.
Team Building - The Way Forward
The priority of organisations after COVID will be to build teams and create a positive work atmosphere. To foster effective teamwork, organisations must keep these critical factors in mind.
1) Virtual Dashboards
With team members spread across locations, a virtual command centre to help a team collaborate and brainstorm on projects will be necessary. A cloud-based solution will be essential to enable all employees to collaborate.
2) Centralised Command Centres
Any successful team requires constant communication through email, chat, messages, etc. With many forms of communication available, all employees must have centralised access to a communication/command centre within a team.
3) Clear Expectations
Organisations set targets that funnel down to the departments below. Each team must have its expectations defined that includes the entire team. Every member understands what is expected of them and can align themselves to deliver.
The pandemic has shown organisations can hugely benefit from the hybrid model as the new normal. The post-COVID work culture changes benefit many sections of employees. Professionals who prefer this culture prioritise childcare, transport, and safety. The time and energy saved on transport from home to work and back is a cost-effective option for many.
Multinational companies are setting up satellite offices or regional offices to allow employees to have one point of contact in their locations. These offices will help employees choose the hybrid work model and still go to an office.
Adapting to new ways of working will require careful change management on the part of companies. To bring every employee through the journey successfully post-COVID, corporate culture must be reshaped to support new working models.
Every organisation’s return to work will be different, but all deserve to be well-implemented for the comfort of their employees. A safe and workable model with a mix of working options will benefit the employees and the organisation. The efforts that go into remote working will need better planning and communication, while the return to office will need infrastructural changes to ensure the safety of employees. However, clear plans and mindsets can make going back to work post-COVID easy and comfortable.
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