Employers across the world are straddling a bridge nowadays between yesterday when numerous employees at most organizations were physically present at work, and now, when a vaccine or an effective treatment takes place, the possibility of a safe return to the way as employees used to work in the traditional workplace will be possible.
Yet even when that occurs, still, remote work will have gained a permanent place among the employment mix.
This affairs’ state presents leaders with two basic challenges – how to handle remote working conditions nowadays, and how to prepare for optimizing the hybrid working models of the coming time, in which completely in-person and remote work will take place with a fluid spectrum of options.
Hybrid work models, in case done right, will permit organizations to ideally recruit talent, gain innovation, and build value for all stakeholders. By acting actively and boldly now, defining a future of work is possible in a more flexible, purposeful, and digital way.
Should Your business adopt a Hybrid model or continue remote work post-COVID-19?
So, which factors are there of driving organizations to think about adopting at least a minor degree of remote working permanently?
The employees’ response to the emergency computes adopted during this pandemic has certainly been crucial. Just over half of the polled in a big survey stated their remote working experience had been positive – a figure that was very consistent across the U.S., Australia, and Europe, and Japan was the only one to show less enthusiasm.
Most importantly, a few aspects of working life were observed by several to have been inclined. For example, 59% agreed that work/life balance had boosted against just 5% who didn’t. Even more surprisingly, 31% exclaimed that their productivity increased against 27% who stated to be less efficient while working.
How would it look to Return to Work Post COVID-19?
The current scene is full of uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, and no one knows precisely what would return to work actually look like post-COVID-19. A few companies are going to stay fully remote, while others might return their full staff to the office. Most of the organizations will be bewildered in between these two extremes.
Global Workplace Analytics is a research firm that highly specializes in remote work trends, has recently predicted that 25–30% of U.S. employees are going to work numerous days per week from home by the end of 2021. Besides that, 3.6% of employees said that they’d be working from home for the majority of the days per week due to health crises.
What’s a Hybrid Work Model all about?
Let’s understand the hybrid work model first of all. It’s made up of both in-office and remote workers and provides employees the right to choose how, when & where they perform their job duties. Now that might include office spaces designed around convenient and flexible work arrangements where an employee comes and goes from the office as per the preference and as per the need of the project work.
Many large enterprise companies have recently announced new policies designed to adopt a hybrid work model that provides employees the choice to continue to work remotely for an uncertain time period or voluntarily return to the office. That clears the image of future work, doesn’t that?
In a previous interview, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey described his organization’s intent to embrace hybrid work, saying, “In case our employees are in the circumstances and role that permits them to work from home and they need to continue to work so forever, we’ll e making that come true.
If we failed, then undoubtedly our offices will surely be their warm & welcoming selves, but with some extra precautions, when we have a feeling that it’s safe to return.” Most importantly, returning to work after this deadly virus will look distinctive for every company, so you must locate a solution that will work ideally for the protection and welfare of all the employees.
Virtual Meetings: No Communication gap at all!
One of the primary concerns with remote working as per the majority of the business owners is the communication gap. Need not to say; we’re already familiar with several ways to deal with that, isn’t it?
Virtual collaborative platforms, including Microsoft Teams, Slack, etc. have increased the productivity of employees working remotely. From meetings to stand-ups, these tools have brought ease to all working from home and comfort to both employees and employers. Ideas can be exchanged; concerns can be addressed, work progress can be updated, future plans can be discussed, and so on. Certainly, you can do everything that you carry out in an in-person meeting, and the convenience level, as you can imagine, is high enough.
Do you like a face-to-face meeting?
Well, you’ve got Google Meet and Zoom to fulfill your wishes. The success of Video Conferencing isn’t hidden from us, and it has emerged as a solid tool in the current scenario. A few clicks after inviting, and you’re ready to go! Undoubtedly, virtual meetings will have a great place in the post-COVID-19 work situation.
Remote Work Policies: Nothing to surprise
Certainly, that isn’t a surprise. Need not to say, remote working is going to take place on a large scale even after the pandemic situation.
After knowing that the remote working is going to stay, we need to make it as comfy and efficient as possible. 74% of companies are looking forward to permanently adopt remote work post-COVID-19, and that’s a huge number.
A decade or so ago, we considered ‘work from home’ as nothing more than just an eccentric term. Today we expect it to play a huge role in future employment trends. Many companies are looking to develop a perfect infrastructure for the same.
The remote working policies of several organizations were enforced with restrictions. The main reason was the fear of performance deterioration. However, that was until the crisis. Talking about the current remote work status of employees across the globe, it eliminates all these fears.
You’ll be amazed to know, the productivity of remote workers is 35-40% more than normal, and we’re expecting this percentile to grow as well rapidly.
Now, consequent to this progress, companies are certainly going to encourage remote work no matter even when we’re out of the COVID-19 scene, and revisit remote work policies for bringing more relevance and flexibility in workspaces. Big fishes such as Twitter have waited no more to amend their remote work policies concerning their shift to a ‘distributed workforce.’
Technology-driven Workspaces: Efficient tracking of productivity
Let’s recall the scene when the offices were filled with staff before. Managers and employers could just stop by any employee’s cabin, provide opinion on their work, and sometimes even assess it. The aforementioned isn’t a viable option if we consider the ongoing scene.
Since the outbreak took place, employers are switching to numerous technologies to power up their organization’s functioning. From employee engagement software to virtual attendance systems, SaaS tools have made everything too breezy and cheesy for companies worldwide.
As per Gartner’s observation, currently, 16% of employers are dependent on technology (more than ever) to perfectly supervise their workforce. Certainly, there were organizations that adopted unconventional tools to track employee’s productivity, and attendance, besides other data even before the pandemic crisis.
So, we can predict that companies will certainly be resorting to technology for tracking and monitoring various crucial data related to the productivity of their employees, no matter COVID-19 passes over.
Impact-Driven Work: Output determines the productivity now
A few months back, the employers and managers calculated the employee’s productivity much on his/her time dedicated to the desk, the leaves taken, and several other visual aspects that the ‘eyes’ of the manager could track. However, the crises have changed the scene, and we can notice all these norms flipped upside down! The definition of productivity has changed.
Managers now lack access to check what exactly their employees are doing. They are solely dependent on the impacts and results brought to their business by employees. Don’t you think that’s a much better measure of productivity?
Employees are able to prove their excellence without facing frequent supervision. That’s a win-win situation for both employees and employers. In the upcoming time, we can expect the same model to roll on!
Right Skill Recognition: Everything is fair now!
In the whole corporate world, office politics does take place. All of us have faced that at some point in time. Skills have badly affected that way, and even the highly capable employees can’t flaunt their excellence.
Now, as the majority of the workforce is working from home, office politics has almost ended! Managers won’t be troubling by frequently checking the employee’s engagement and productivity. Many employees are loving working form their own places due to this factor!
A decrease in pressure means more concentration, which further means more productivity and better results. Results-driven by skills, will talk now onward instead of office politics.
In fact, the ongoing scenario of work from home has pushed companies to follow organized, unbiased, and perfectly planned processes. We can clearly notice the focus shifting to metrics that bring impacts. If any employee brings amazing results, he can turn the tables no matter how bad he is at marketing himself.
Social Impacts: That’s where the new journey begins
All companies found themselves in a baffling situation when the first wave of Coronavirus hit us. Mitigating the situation was ultra-challenging as we’ve never faced such a thing ever before.
While some organizations such as Reliance & Tata Group helped by donating masks, money, and sanitizers, the other companies sat down to create tools that are free to help NGOs and fellow companies overcome the situation.
When social blends ideally with productivity & profits, the effect is surreal. The whole world has provided a chance of healing and develop together with the companies. However, customers, as well as even employees, connect in-depth with organizations that work towards it and stick to values.
Today’s world is an example of our statement. The good prioritizing of society’s result has been fantastic throughout and is assisting people in fighting in this hard time. We hope this uplifting trend will surely be followed & social impacts will be the priority even in the future time.
When good social blends with productivity and profits, the impact is surreal. All of us have got the chance to heal ourselves and develop together with the companies.
Besides that, customers and even employees connect profoundly with organizations that cling to values and work towards it. We can take the current world as a solid example. If you prioritize social good, then it’s amazing. It’s a sort of help to other people in this hard time. We feel that social impacts are going to be a priority, even post-crisis.
Should Your business adopt a Hybrid model or continue remote work post-COVID-19: The conclusion
Remote working poses great challenges, and a few of them are recognized by employees. Around 50% of the business geeks concern that collaboration and teamwork would deteriorate in case remote working becomes the norm. After that, 25% of experts exclaim that aspect of working life has already been highly affected during this Covid-19 scene.
Two-thirds said that meeting colleagues face to face is crucial, and they were against remote work. These concerns pretty much underline the fact that flexibility can be perfectly served by a hybrid approach, in contrast to an all-out homeworking strategy. Certainly, that would offer a beneficial compromise.
With just a partial workforce present in the office, employers are going to gain lower expenses across the board, from cleaning bills and coffee consumption to real estate rental fees. However, there will be some upfront costs. For example, the survey underlines the needs for companies to offer staff with additional support.
When asked where enhanced training would be needed post-COVID, 65% to 70% of employees cited digital skills and organization systems, respectively. We need to consider soft skills as essential too. However, some employees mentioned that they required assistance in places such as communication and issue-solving.
Hybrid working might need additional spending too for providing staff with comfortable homeworking devices– not just P.C.s & laptops, but also chairs, desks, printers, and also dedicated phone lines are recruited too.
Final words from the experts
There are some real questions regarding compensation models in the newly designed landscape where, rather than coming at 8:00 AM and leaving at 18:00, the staff is scheduling their own days essentially. This might need a shift from the basis of hours payments and productivity measurement via the models shaped across the delivery.
Typically, hybrid working models have numerous attractions for employees and companies. However, implementing changes successfully will need an entire review regarding how work should be constructed.
We sincerely hope that companies filter the good and bad perfectly from the COVID-affected work scenario. If we decide it right now, then undoubtedly, the future of work is bright!