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Why Hybrid Work is the Now and the Future...

Hybrid Work 4

How Hybrid Work is the Now and the Future

BENGALURU, KARNATAKA, INDIA, June 28, 2022 / -- To be able to reimagine the way in which we all work is a once-in-a-generation shift. There are very clear markers in history when work, as it was known, had to be rethought and recalibrated.

The Industrial Revolution in Europe and the United States in the 1800s moved a majority of people from the farms to industries; World War II ushered in an unprecedented number of women into the workforce in the 1940s; the emergence of PCs and email in the 1990s resulted in a tremendous rise in productivity and the speed of decision-making, which ushered in the beginning of the digital age. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 that forced a majority of people to work from home.

Now, post the two full years of working from home, many employers want their employees to be back in offices as they used to be pre-Pandemic. According to several research papers observing the work pattern shift, a mindset alteration is being observed in the population worldwide with regards to work and how it is being imagined – it is emerging as a combination of remote work and work from the office – and that is what the future of work is being envisaged as.

According to a survey conducted by Wakefield Research, close to half of employees (as high as 47%) would likely look for another job if their employer doesn’t offer a flexible work model.

Currently, companies across the globe are still trying to find the sweet spot that suits their employees and C-suite executives — some companies have started operating on 2-3 days of work from the office, others have offered their employees remote work, and some companies have left the decision on where to work from on their employees.

How the hybrid mode of work might look in the future: The hybrid model of working tends to include more flexibility and freedom in work. It grants more autonomy to the employees by not trying to always “fit in” the office culture and work routine. The organizations with an existing hybrid mode from the start of the pandemic have begun to designate particular days for in-office meetings and brain-storming sessions, as well as remote days for work requiring individual focus. Orientations, team building, and project kick-offs may necessitate physical attendance, although this is not always the case for other work schedules. Ideally, hybrid work offers the best of both worlds to its employees: structure and sociability, and independence and flexibility. According to Nicholas Bloom, a Stanford University economics professor with expertise in remote work, working from home two days a week will be ideal for balancing collaborative and quiet work while benefiting from the reduced stress of commuting and traffic woes until the pandemic has passed.

To ease social distancing, he recommends that enterprises that want to keep their own space consider shifting from tall buildings to spread-out industrial parks or campuses.

The hybrid model works by offering the best of both worlds: Hybrid work has definitely been able to help people balance their personal lives along with work. According to the recently released 5th Annual State of Remote Work report, Owl Labs, “As the pandemic continues to evolve throughout the year, so did the way we work. Employee expectations permanently shifted, with many choosing to resign for a better work-life balance or more flexibility in where and when they work. Nearly 70% of full-time employees having worked remotely - with many still doing so - employers started adjusting their workplaces to fit a new hybrid working model.”

Business leaders who don’t read the writing on the wall run the risk of alienating employees: The McKinsey Report on Hybrid Work states that “In the enthusiasm about the return from remote working, business leaders run the risk of actually increasing the disconnect between themselves and their people. The idea that we will cross a finish line and suddenly be done with all the hard stuff seems to exist only in the minds of senior leaders. At best, the rosy messaging of a grand return to the office is falling flat. At worst, the tone-deafness of the messaging may also be accelerating what’s already shaping up to be the “great attrition” of 2021 (and 2022 and even 2023). At companies across the globe, workers are leaving at much higher rates than normal. Recent surveys found that workers globally are already preparing to look for new employment opportunities and 40 percent of workers worldwide are considering leaving their current employers by the end of the year.”

Balancing the pros and cons of a hybrid work model: To create an employee-first model, companies must aim toward equalization. A workplace that is unbiased towards its employees when it comes to the mode of working — such as making all the employees visit the office on the same day to foster a sense of community. When the leadership of the companies is inclined toward the well-being of the employees, this helps lift the morale of the team and helps maintain positive team dynamics.

An efficient workspace is not the one described in the corporate jargon-laden books; an efficient workspace is the one that is able to keep all its employees on an equal footing and content to keep working there.

Kishore Reddy
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Future of work: What is a true Hybrid?