2020 introduced several of us to the ‘work from home,’ setup. From connecting physically and travelling for corporate meetings, we shifted to virtual networking. This paradigm shift caused brands to go digital. The concept in itself isn’t new. However, working from home for a long duration was not this common.
A 2020 McKinsey report shows that 20-25 percent of the workforces in advanced economies could easily work from home without having any deteriorating impact on productivity. Largely indicating the permanent shift in the operations of work.
The new and increased flexibility in the workspace has propelled businesses and organisations to tweak their policies and adapt to the current times. Let’s look at how the future of work looks like and what could be the possible challenges or opportunities.
Rebuilding the Workspace in 2021 and beyond
As more and more people got indulged in remote working routines, a new trend got set, i.e, ‘work from anywhere’. It allows the employees to set up their work desk from anywhere. Thus, no longer making them feel bound to the physical office space. Following are some key points that have been impacted by the popularisation of work from anywhere framework.
1. Maintaining the office culture in the virtual era
A large part of building a healthy, fun, innovative work culture is done by its employees when they come together under one roof. A synergy is established amongst the employees for the smooth functioning of the organisation. However, in the virtual age where the physical presence of the office remains irrelevant, the sustenance of a unique office culture may become challenging.
The key lies in engaging with the employees digitally via virtual meeting platforms. Zoom, Google Meets, Nunify, Microsoft Teams are good options to consider from. Their user-friendly interface makes them the most popular of the lot.
2. Hiring of new talent
With the growing acceptance of remote working, it has become easier than ever for organisations to tap into the global pool of talent. The ease in communication via robust technology platforms is being leveraged by organizations to attract talent thereby providing work opportunities for everyone. One thing to take note of, would be the distributed time zones across geographies and the subsequent synchronization of work.
In the last year, the right technology platforms enabled the process of virtual hiring. It has especially struck a chord with Gen-Z, the most technologically savvy generation.
3. Innovative ways of engaging the team members
The nuances of working from the office implied formal and informal interactions amongst the employees. An absence of having a common workplace must not amount to an absence of any form of camaraderie within the organization. To prevent this scenario, organizations should use interactive features of virtual platforms that boost the mingling and break the ice between employees. One to one personal chat rooms, and lounge rooms can be used for light-hearted communication in personal space and within small teams.
Gamification is yet another way of keeping remote working employees engaged with the team activities. Conferences that used to take place involving projectors, whiteboards, screens, etc have now been replaced by breakout rooms, auditoriums, etc.
4. Enhancing the productivity of the employees
A two-year study conducted by Great Place To Work concludes that working from home is just as productive as working in the office- possibly more so. Time saved on long travels has also contributed to a better work-life balance in the lives of individuals. Adopting a robust technology platform has been linked to a better sense of time management. All of it thus enhances the productivity of the employees.
So what’s next?
The continued advancement in the technology sphere is spearheading the evolution in the workspace for years to come. Even when the offices reopen and things get back to the original way of doing, it would be difficult for people to let go of the benefits and advantages of remote working. Innovations like AR and VR will be seen more commonly being incorporated in running businesses. The virtual meeting platforms have already entered a tough competitive space and will continue to tussle with each other.