Hybrid Workplace & The Biggest Dilemmas We Are Facing

What will be the biggest challenges when it comes to hybrid work, and what should companies prioritize to build an efficient hybrid workplace model? Talent leaders share their biggest dilemmas in setting up an ‘efficient anywhere’ work model before Anushree Sharma from People Matters.

Hybrid working has taken the traditional workplace by storm and is continuing to shake up the traditional office. How do we communicate effectively? How can we enable better collaboration among peers? What’s the best technology to promote higher productivity, accountability, and efficiency– all this while being apart. How do we make working in different places work for every employee in the organization?

The talk of the future of work is pretty chaotic, and everyone is looking out for best practices, and experts’ advice to plan for the future. While hybrid work seems to be, as per reports, the future of work, this new way of working has its shortcomings. In order to make it work, organizations are looking at possible solutions to ensure they can move forward successfully.

How do we ensure “trust and belief” in the way we deal with each other?

Teams can’t function well when coworkers don’t trust one another. Building and maintaining trust in the traditional, physical workplace is difficult enough, but the process is even tougher in a virtual environment, where people often have to work with people they haven’t met in person.

Employers are skeptical whether trust can be established in a virtual environment. How many employees can truly trust people they haven’t met in person? While the hard truth is that teams can’t function without trust, a lack of face-to-face interaction doesn’t automatically mean an environment of distrust. Proactive communication and more engaging conversations can ensure that trust will flourish within the virtual work model.

How to find the right balance of flexibility in hybrid working?

Working remote vs in an office. Combining these two opposing dynamics will reinvent our traditional work methods. Hybrid work is not just about an employee’s physical location, but also about their way of work, their habits, and overall efficiency. Finding the right balance between these two extremes and namely the corresponding level of hybrid work will be a decisive factor to a company’s success in the future.

A company will have to generate customized solutions for every single employee by analyzing the environment they need to do their best work and the amount of personal contact, as well as the flexibility they require.

Are organizations really open to making fundamental shifts to the way they work?

Facing strong employee resistance and turnover, Google recently backtracked from its plan to force all employees to return back to the office and allowed many to work remotely. Apple’s plan to force its staff back to the office has caused many to leave Apple and led to substantial internal opposition.

According to a study, many executives are falling victim to a number of well-known psychological biases in their push to end remote working.

How to translate the same level of ‘belongingness’ in the virtual space

In a recent global survey of employees across industries, seventy-five percent of respondents reported feeling more socially isolated since the start of the pandemic. Sixty-seven percent of employees reported increased stress, and fifty-three percent said they feel emotionally exhausted. Further, in a global study led by Cognizant, which studied their full-time employees, respondents said fostering a sense of belonging at work significantly increased their motivation, commitment, emotional and physical well-being, and overall engagement. Ultimately, these feelings of belonging led to greater innovation and increased productivity.

In the midst of so much uncertainty, it’s critical that organizations intentionally focus on nurturing a sense of belonging – feeling connected, included, valued, and welcomed.

Accenture’s Future of Work Study 2021 shows that sixty-three percent of high-growth companies have already adopted an “efficient anywhere” model. We have all learned that productivity is not dependent on a common physical location and while there are plenty of available digital tools, still, as HR leaders we need to find a way to redesign connections, collaboration, and business continuity in the new normal.

How one will answer these biggest dilemmas – Trust, Flexibility, Balance, Change, and Belongingness will become key to getting hybrid work right! 

In a recent virtual roundtable, “Building an efficient work model with technology,” hosted by People Matters in collaboration with Workplace from Facebook, leaders across the industries came together to find answers to these dilemmas. One of the immediate steps to enable the hybrid work model was to focus on keeping trust, culture, and people’s experience at the center of their communication strategy.

Ram shared the story of implementing Workplace from Facebook at L&T, wherein the management was skeptical of whether getting social media to work might hamper workplace discipline. However, today after four years, he says the employees at different levels collaborate seamlessly and indulge in engaging communication both professionally and personally. The company sees tremendous growth in productivity and engagement.

The pandemic and subsequent lockdown has compelled many companies to adopt a work-from-anywhere model but also shown how productivity is not dependent on a common physical location. The availability of a plethora of digital tools has enabled teams to stay connected, help them collaborate, and ensure business continuity. The key lies in pivoting the future of work dialogue from working at a fixed physical location to one that allows employees to do their best work from wherever they are.

Source: People Matters

Read More

Technology Predictions 2021 and Beyond

The beginning of 2020 in no way hinted the turnaround that COVID-19 brought to the world, to our way of life and the economic consequences. But when it comes to technology, the pandemic has only accelerated digital transformation processes that have long started to take shape. The disruption caused by COVID-19 only confirmed the predictions that the successful business model would be edge-centric, cloud-enabled and data-driven. But let’s review the main technological trends for 2021, according to leading research companies.

According to IDC the majority, 65% of global GDP will be digitalized by 2022, driving $6.8 trillion of IT spending from 2020 to 2023. Just a year before the pandemic, the analysts predicted $5 trillion over the same period. According to another leading research and advisory company, by 2024 25% of traditional large-enterprise CIOs will be held accountable for digital business operational results, effectively becoming “COO by proxy” – again an indicator of the prioritization of digitalization in companies.

Cloud Acceleration

New models of work require new technologies, reliable, secure and fast access to the resources of organizations from anywhere, which is possible through cloud-based solutions. If years ago, the so-called Cloud journey was meant to last about 5 to 10 years, according to current forecasts, by the end of 2021, based on lessons learned, 80% of enterprises will put a mechanism in place to shift to cloud-centric infrastructure and applications twice as fast as before the pandemic.

Intelligent Edge

This is another major trend that is evolving dynamically for several main reasons. The first is that data has long been created not only in the data centers of the organizations but is generated by various smart devices in the Edge or the so-called periphery. They grow exponentially which leads to the next reason – processing these heterogeneous in type and volume data sets, analyzing information in real time and making timely decisions. Through 2023, reactions to changed workforce and operations practices during the pandemic will be the dominant accelerators for 80% of edge-driven investments and business model changes in most industries.

Hybrid by design

Establishing a hybrid model rather than performing hybrid ad hoc actions is a necessity. We are not just talking about Hybrid IT here, but a whole process that involves jobs and employees. Streaming in 2020 has increased 7 times, which requires Hybrid by design model of structuring jobs and employees. Moreover, 82% of company leaders plan to allow employees to work remotely some of the time according to Gartner. This means that all systems should be made available, regardless of the location of employees.

This trend of planning a hybrid way of working is relevant not only for corporations but also for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which cannot build this type of solutions on their own and have to rely on many different providers. According to forecasts, by 2023 75% of G2000 companies will commit to providing technical parity to a workforce that is hybrid by design rather than by circumstance, enabling them to work together separately and in real time.

ICT Ecosystem Changes

The pandemic situation, the changed workforce and operations practices as well as the technology consumption are impacting the partner ecosystem, i.e., the terms and choice of a reliable partner. 2021 will be the year of new trade models and delivery methods so that businesses can remain solvent. It is important who your service and infrastructure providers are, whether they have sufficient experience and appropriate qualifications as well as the ability to quickly and cost-effectively deliver the necessary technologies and expertise in a flexible way.

Digital Resiliency

In 2022, enterprises focused on digital resiliency will adapt to disruption and extend services to respond to new conditions 50% faster than ones focused on restoring existing business/IT resiliency levels. So, just reconfiguring the systems or introducing classic IT such as Disaster Recovery (DR) or Backup will not be enough. Developing a digital resiliency strategy will be critical for the success of any large organization.

All these processes take place in simultaneously and are equally important for the post-pandemic business development. But what is striking is the fact that 90% of Global 2000 companies have found that their decision-making systems do not meet the needs of organizations at all. They do not just have to upgrade their existing systems, but invest in new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, etc., to support decision-making processes and accelerate business in the digital environment. Every company must become or is already in some way a digital player.

Key Takeaways

We can summarize that in the context of the digital transformation the world is evolving from a centralized model of data storage and processing to the decentralized world of diverse by origin and volume sources of information of the Intelligent Edge; from a world in which the cloud is everything to one in which the cloud as an experience is everywhere; from a world in which data is generated and collected to the world of the so-called Age of Insight, where insights are generated based on real-time data processing and analysis, competitive advantages are identified and measurable business benefits are achieved.

Read More