The pandemic has disrupted the dynamics of the workplace globally. Most disruptions prior to Covid-19 concerned the evolution of technologies, the adaptation of emerging innovations, and the replacement of manual labour. In present times, the pandemic has completely challenged the physical construct of a work environment. While some jobs were deemed essential and continued to work in a regularised manner with several restrictions and protocols, most of the workforce was confined to the walls of their homes. Some companies struggled, the majority adapted to the new norm.
Here are some changes that took place:
Rise In Remote Work: Many companies have transitioned from physical office spaces to remote work during the pandemic, and this trend is likely to continue. Remote work allows employees to work from home or other locations, reducing the need for physical workplace solutions. Companies are open to hiring remote employees from different parts of the country or even the world.
Emergence Of Hybrid Workplace Solutions: Some companies have adapted to a hybrid work model where employees work from the office a few days a week and from home the rest of the days. This model offers the benefits of both remote and in-person work, allowing employees to maintain a work-life balance while still collaborating with colleagues. Several organisations have also switched to managed office spaces and/or hub and spoke model of workplace solutions to ease the transition to hybrid work style.
Digitalisation: The pandemic has accelerated the digitalisation of many industries in India, and this trend is likely to continue. Companies have invested heavily in digital tools and platforms to facilitate remote and hybrid work, ease collaboration between employees and teams and improve efficiency.
Health and Safety: The pandemic has highlighted the importance of health and safety in the workplace. While today isn’t on just on masks and sanitisers but the overall health of the workforce. Companies will continue to implement measures such as regular sanitization and smart digital locks to ensure the safety of their employees.
Focus on Employee Well-Being: In addition to physical health, a major concern following the epidemic is now employees’ mental health. In order to effectively support their workforce, businesses are now prioritising mental health care and implementing a number of adjustments and initiatives, such as flexible work schedules and a transition to an office environment that places an emphasis on the needs of the employees. Many firms have also upgraded their workplaces to accommodate the criteria for employee well-being.
Hiring Beyond Borders: Companies now have more opportunities to attract people from across the nation or even the globe thanks to the trend to remote work. Companies can access a wider talent pool because they are no longer constrained by geography. This has increased workplace inclusion and diversity, which is a good development.
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN
While remote work has its benefits, it also presents its own set of challenges. Employees may find it difficult to separate work and personal lives, and the lack of face-to-face interaction may lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection. Employers need to ensure that employees have the necessary resources and support to thrive in a remote work environment.
According to the recent EY 2022 Work Reimagined Survey, most employees believe that the work culture has improved for the better. The survey showed that 36% of employers want employees to come back to the office five days a week, while 27% of employees want to work remotely for less than five days a week. The report also observed that 96% of employers have planned changes to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their employees.
In conclusion, there is no doubt that the pandemic has brought about significant changes in the work culture in India. Remote work and digitalisation are here to stay, and companies are focusing on adapting to these changes to stay competitive and attract top talent. Several companies adopted the hybrid approach to accommodate both, employees who prefer remote working and those who are eager to work in an actual office setting. It’s clear that flexible working is directly related to a great employee experience and a high-performance culture. Companies can no longer view the flexi-work model as a stop-gap solution necessitated by the pandemic. Organisations must also proactively create a dynamic work environment that assures the employees that their employers care for their wellbeing and thus feel motivated to keep their productivity at the desired levels.