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Adapting To The ‘New Normal’ - Reshaping The Future Of Workplace Post-Pandemic

Even though the disruptions of the pandemic have been far-reaching, people across the globe have exhibited a great amount of resilience while adapting to the changing social structure and have emerged victoriously.

Dr. Asmita Chitnis, Director, Symbiosis Institute of International Business
Dr. Asmita Chitnis, Director, Symbiosis Institute of International Business

India, October 7: The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the dynamics of the workplace on a global level. While most disruptions prior to Covid-19 were concerning the evolution of technologies, the adaptation of emerging innovations, and the replacement of manual labour, the pandemic challenged the physical construct of a work environment. The circumstance demanded isolation and social distancing. While some jobs were deemed essential and continued to work in a regularized manner with few restrictions and protocols, most of the workforce was confined to the walls of their homes. 

The effects of this new structure reached far and beyond. While some struggled, most adapted to the new norm. Over the last two years, the hybrid or phygital model of working has been normalized. The shift was gradual and organizations had to take into account several factors to adopt this model of operation. The effectiveness of the work culture under a hybrid model has raised a few brows, and the following factors play a pivotal role in determining the future of work culture in the post-pandemic phase. 

Employee Productivity 

A study conducted by the University of Chicago states that 30% of the MNC employees responded that they are more productive and engaged while working from home. Adding to this, a survey by Hoxby on managers and team leaders, states that 71% of them are surprised by the productivity of the employees who were working remotely. Physical interactions and team productivity are important aspects of team-building activities. The phygital model of work allows employees to choose occasions when working together is essential and opt for work-from-home otherwise. 

Remote Employee Availability 

A report submitted by Owl Labs shows that nearly 16% of companies across the globe adopted a fully remote workforce. This increasing trend proves the preference of global corporations toward hiring remote workers/employees, providing them access to improved and enhanced manpower from all parts of the world. 

During the pandemic phase, a study by Microsoft suggests that 73% of the employees from global corporations demanded flexible work options, specifically remote work options, to stay with the company. Besides employee retention, the trend was reflected among the new recruits too, where the job postings for remote employees witnessed a hike from 2.9% in 2020 to 6.9% in 2021. 

Adaptation by current and fresh talent 

Besides the business leaders and administrators, the employee data collected by Remote Work and Compensation Pulse Survey suggests that even the employees highly prefer a hybrid model over a fully remote model. With countless debates and discussions going over the selection of the most appropriate work culture, a survey by Microsoft states that 66% of the global business leaders are considering redesigning their workplaces into hybrid office spaces. The survey further reveals that 63% of high-growth companies are gradually adopting the hybrid work model. 

Technological Insufficiency 

The question of efficiency and productivity of the employees in a remote or hybrid work culture takes the discussion back to the common issue faced: Technological insufficiency. A study by Gartner reveals that 66% of the employees agree with the fact that they fall short of the technical competence required in hybrid work culture. 80% of the executives also share a similar opinion, where lack of technology and technical knowledge is affecting employee productivity. So, for organizations to adopt the hybrid model and yield positive results, they will need to provide suitable infrastructure by acquiring emerging technologies and innovations. They will also need to provide fruitful training sessions for employees to adapt to the new infrastructure. 

Boost in HR activities 

The HR team is the backbone of any organizational development and is instrumental in the seamless functioning of a company. Organizations need to focus on effective HR practices to keep employees engaged and motivated so that there is an essence of feeling togetherness even in a hybrid work model. 

Even though the disruptions of the pandemic have been far-reaching, people across the globe have exhibited a great amount of resilience while adapting to the changing social structure and have emerged victoriously. 

Going forward, only time will tell us the success of the changing workplace and its impact on the business and economy in general. 

- By Dr. Asmita Chitnis, Director, Symbiosis Institute of International Business 

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