This article (Hybrid Workplaces: Digital Transformation for the Redefined Future) was first published on Customer Think
Hybrid workplaces are here to stay even when the pandemic is gone. In this article, we take a look into how organizations can make the most out of this shift.
Needless to say, COVID-19 has changed practically every aspect of our life. From the way we socialize to the way we work, nothing remains as it was. One of the most significant shifts came in the form of work from home, as offices were forced to shut down and employees had to keep discharging their duty from their respective homes. Even though this drastic change came with its downfalls, the benefits on the digital front were plenty.
According to a survey by McKinsey, COVID 19 has increased the pace of digital transformation by seven years. Organizations that were passive towards undergoing digital transformation had to dive into it head-first, as that was the only way to keep their shop running in the middle of a pandemic.
Now as we step slowly into the post-pandemic world, it is becoming abundantly clear that remote work won’t end with COVID. Hybrid workplaces are here to stay, and with good reason. Notable companies like Salesforce and Twitter have announced that they will allow some employees to work from home permanently. Even if some organizations can not think of taking this step, it is a common understanding that workplaces won’t go back to the way they were.
Hybrid workplaces will be having a mix of in-office and remote days depending on the scope of work of the respective employees. This move will provide much-needed flexibility to both the employees and the organizations while ensuring effective use of various resources and energy. Let’s take a look at how hybrid workplaces will shape up to be in the coming years.
Also read: Digital Workplace – All You Need to Know
The decoupling of work from its location can only happen seamlessly if all the amenities and characteristics of an office are replicated digitally. To match, or even increase the productivity levels, digital tools and practices are of the utmost importance. Digital transformation is the only way that companies leverage the benefits of a hybrid workplace, as their processes and employees are streamlined with the workings of a virtual work environment.
As a result of the pandemic, many organizations are increasing their focus on digital transformation by adopting business automation and leveraging tools like no-code and collaborative platforms. From baby steps, companies will now be taking leaps into the era of digital transformation.
Organizations save up on rent and bills. Employees save up on commuting costs and travel time. No need to board flights for meetings. There have been many ways in which remote work has allowed organizations to save up on costs.
In addition to this, crucial resources like time and energy have been preserved as well. This will continue to be the trend in hybrid workplaces, as everything from office spaces to work shifts will be aligned in a way that allows for the most optimum use of resources. This not only drives up productivity but also gives organizations a chance to take a look at their operations and make decisions that could not have been possible in a pre-pandemic world.
As employees won’t have the chance to bump into each other on a daily basis or have in-person meetings with their superiors, the onus is on leaders to encourage employees to take initiative. The same levels of innovation can be matched by creating opportunities virtually that make sure that no idea is lost as a result of remote work or hybrid workplaces. Employees can be motivated to find creative solutions through various methods like citizen development, incentives, and by allowing risk-taking.
Meetings have been replaced by Zoom and Google Meets. Water cooler chats happen over Slack. It’s not that collaboration has diminished or changed, it just looks quite different from what it was. There is an increased need for unified communication, as data may get lost while switching from one channel to another. Solutions like in-app conversations have propped up in this regard.
While there are plenty of other benefits of hybrid workplaces, there are a few problem areas that need to be tackled in order to create a functioning system.
As employees are spread across geographies, so is precious data. This allows for a lot of opportunities for data breaches. It is imperative for organizations to set up strict protocols and security measures to ensure that the safety of their data is not compromised. They also need to train their employees and formulate guidelines that have proper penalties in place in case of any laxity.
While every organization would want to get straight to adopting the latest digital practices and inculcate digital tools, it is important to make sure that everyone is on the same page. It is the responsibility of leaders to ensure that their employees are trained to be digitally dexterous. This point is not limited to only employees but also applies to vendors and other stakeholders. For hybrid workplaces to succeed, it is imperative that everyone has a good hold of the digital tools that they will be using on an everyday basis.
From seeing familiar faces every day to getting cutoff from physical interactions, remote work can be quite a shift psychologically. It is important to prevent feelings of isolation and burnout in employees by finding ways to engage and encourage them through a virtual setting. Through practices like business automation, grunt work can be eradicated to redirect efforts towards meaningful and fruitful pursuits. Other employee engagement activities like virtual catch-ups and contests go quite a way to increase morale.
By adopting the best digital practices and taking care of a few concern areas, organizations can ensure a smooth and successful transition to hybrid workplaces. If done right, companies will reap the maximum benefits of digital transformation even when the pandemic is long gone.
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