Redefining new work culture during COVID-19: Workplaces need to create better experience

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The pandemic has disrupted many aspects of people’s lives. One of the lasting effects of this pandemic and the resulting lockdowns across the globe has been the massive shift in working arrangements. Covid-19 has swept the workplace like a hurricane, scattering employees in every direction, exposing many to new risks, and redefining what each one needs to do on their jobs safely, efficiently, and effectively. During these times, client needs and expectations too have changed drastically. There has been a shift toward digitisation, which is obviously the need of the hour and fast emerging as a new normal.

Many companies, especially in technology/software development, have moved to a hybrid work model allowing employees to work remotely most the time. Teams can decide when they would like to come into office for meetings that benefit from physical presence – sprint planning’s, retrospectives, brainstorms etc. Work cultures will now redefine themselves to focus more on results and less on attendance. Online meetings have become the norm. Individuals are now able to integrate work life with home life.

While a new work culture evolves, businesses will now need to create social experiences to build better working teams. People working together build products and deliver services; processes don’t. Companies will now introduce a virtual happy hour after COVID–19. While people have adjusted to working from home well, significant numbers report struggling with loneliness and feeling under pressure to show constantly they really are working.

Looking at women empowerment, companies are now hiring more female employees. A lot many companies have started hiring female employees as work from home is the new trend and it makes it quite easy. During this lockdown companies have also come up with employee engagement through virtual games, meetings, events, parties which is a very exciting trend where everyone is engaging with each other digitally. Companies are also encouraging employees to up-skill themselves through different courses.

Along with the above companies are also encouraging and providing incentives to their employees to pursue their hidden hobbies. Employees excelling in other work like cooking, both men and women are finding a right exposure for their skill and hobby in this new work from home culture. A virtual bonding is helping many to come emotionally closer to their colleagues. Some have seen a marked reduction in the communication gap between themselves and the senior management thanks to the motivation received from seniors and having got an opportunity to closely work with the rest of the team members.

Gone are the days when employers could retain their workforce only with financial perks. The new age employer has to keep up with the needs of the workplace. It’s time to accept the fact that it is important to find a work-life balance. Instead of managing a workforce with a one-size-fits-all approach, customising the job to suit the changing needs of the millennial worker is now becoming increasingly important.

While Work from Home is a new norm here are few benefits of it:

Flexible Schedule: One can take breaks at any moment, feel no rush to hang up on family members when they call, and eat lunch at any point of time whenever one feels like having it.

Possible productivity gains: While people are working from home, they will face less disturbance while working due to fewer interruptions, it allows one to be focused on work.

Learn More and become more independent: One will learn more because he/she doesn’t have office colleagues all the time handy for support. One tends to learn to do things in their own way and manage things for themselves. This inadvertently is resulting in many learning newer skills without making a conscious effort.

Save Money: Though bandwidth costs have been an addition, employees are saving on their daily commutation costs in this new work culture.

Impact on Sustainability: A very subtle but sure impact that this work culture is creating is on the overall environment. Lower carbon emissions, due to lower travel, has already seen the environment gain.

Forget crowds and traffic: No stuffing yourself into a rickety transportation tube, having people scuff your new shoes, or walking behind agonizingly slow people who apparently don’t know what a straight line is. When you work from home you can avoid traffics and crowds.

Better work/life balance: Employees are working from home now and this pandemic is here to stay for at least some more time. For those working from home, concentrating on their health and being able to take care of themselves in an effective manner is an added advantage.

The pandemic may have been the catalyst for remote work for millions of employees around the world. Often splitting time between home and the workplace is the most productive solution and you may want the homeworker to attend meetings to keep them fully involved and informed. Indeed, the benefits of working from home impact so many things on a global scale that it’s sure to become the best path forward.

(The author of this article is Founder and Chairman of Zaggle. Views expressed are personal.)


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