The Covid-19 Pandemic has changed our work lives forever. Since early 2020 organizations worldwide have adopted the remote work lifestyle with varying degrees of success. Love it or hate it – work from home has become the mainstream accepted form of work and is here to stay.
However, does this mean a return to office is not on the horizon?
What about the days when there is an important meeting that requires live collaboration?
The rise in the number of daily cases is ever fluctuating. Until the risk of infection subsides, I believe more and more people are safer at home with loved ones. As businesses struggle to figure out the best path forward for their employees and smooth operations – there are quite a few exciting changes that can help sustain remote work.
Before the pandemic, about 2.9%of Of workers in the world worked from home regularly. However, the pandemic changed this number to a whopping 88%.
And going by stats – by 2025, around 70% of the workforce will be operating remotely at least five days a month.
Work from home favors both employers and workers. Employers can downsize their workplaces, save money on leases, and reduce their physical footprint.
2020 proved that work from home works and achieving business results is possible.
But, let’s admit it, there are some difficulties with remote work that your company must address to succeed.
Challenges of WFH
Difficult to Stay Motivated & Organized
It’s easy to get unorganized when you work and live in the same room. So, if you have space, consider working somewhere other than where you spend your free time. It’s all too tempting to take up new challenges and work to your best capacity when you’re surrounded by a circle of ambitious colleagues every day. Remote work, on the other hand, can make you turn towards complacency. Team members often lose sight of their long-term career objectives. They don’t talk to coworkers about the latest happenings and lose the conversation around personal and professional growth.
Communication & Coordination Issues
Team members miss out on the unplanned evening meals, catchup over coffees, and deskside brainstorming. As a result, they can sometimes feel lost as they miss the whole picture or are the last to learn about the significant happenings. It’s true – Remote work can be remote. In a typical office scenario, you always get to know one way or the other. When you work from home, you stress about your to-do’s and end up missing out on these updates even if they are there in front of you.
Difficult to Manage Schedule & Tasks
Time management is complex at any time, but it’s much more difficult when operating remotely because you don’t have the same constraints as you do in the workplace. Sticking to a schedule and managing to-dos is much more difficult for remote employees located in various parts of the world. At home – you always have distractions that invade your work time at any given time, and that’s how you start missing schedules. Procrastination is also a real enemy that shows up quickly in the confines of your home.
FOMO is Real
When someone else in your company operates from the workplace while you are at home trying to work, you have a strong desire to know what’s going on in your absence. This is FOMO, i.e., Fear of Missing Out kicks in instantly. People who work from home fear having their jobs harmed.
Even if you agree on a fixed schedule and have a designated work area, being productive during your working hours can be difficult when you work from home.
It’s difficult to concentrate when your possessions and your family members surround you. The comfort of home and work activities are always at a cross – waiting to take over. The complexity doubles if you have a partner working from home, maybe your friend or a sibling. Private space is always a struggle in Indian homes – and if two or more people are competing for space – you can only imagine the mess.
Remote Workers and Their Needs
It can be challenging to get jobs done in a workplace if there aren’t enough allocated conference rooms or huddle spaces.
When remote workers attempt to call in, background noise, weak internet, and other disturbances can divert your mind from the task at hand.
It’s crucial to help each member of your team’s specific work situation, regardless of where they work. It’s best to figure out how your resources can help bring people together and increase productivity daily.
The above-noted challenges provide a great starting point for the solutions as well. Following are a few ideas that can help us move to a more democratized way of working that helps combat the issues and increases organizational productivity.
Getting The Workplace Ready for Remote and Hybrid Staff Employees
Some quick updates to the office layout will help the remote worker the most. Workers can easily communicate with their remote colleagues with designated huddle spaces.
Huddle rooms, Team Rooms, or Zoom Rooms are soundproof, equipped for video collaboration, and can hold practical one-on-one, three-person, or even four-person meetings.
Video Conferencing Solutions
Companies must invest in an easy and reliable video conferencing system that in-office employees may use to interact with remote employees. It is the most productive and natural way for them to communicate and coordinate with the team members. Not just employees but also clients can easily be transmitted to or even collaborate over video.
Another plus can be a digital whiteboarding solution like Kaptivo that helps conduct detailed training sessions and captures the entire session across the video while also streaming. Digital Whiteboarding helps save time as the notes are digitally stored and easily accessed for later use.
With the number of employees visiting the workplace at any time reducing – you don’t need one desk per employee. You can cater to a number that you decide and are present in the workplace at a particular time. A flexible desk helps improve resource utilization, plus gives you an actual count of the resources utilized in the workplace.
Embrace ‘Wayfinding’ to Your Hybrid Workplace
Make it as simple as possible for hybrid workers to navigate the workplace. One should quickly locate all of the tools and people present/available in the workplace. Easy recognition of the presentees increases social connections and makes communication more efficient.
One can develop a map or floor plan of the workplace that denotes occupied or unoccupied chairs, rooms, and devices, thereby allowing all workers in a company to see which rooms and desks are accessible.
Need of Hybrid Workspace
A hybrid workplace model is one in which some workers work in the office, and others work from home, all of which is made possible by technology.
Geographically dispersed teams can function and excel using modern technologies, including online meetings, video conferences, document management, and a set of collaboration apps.
The goal of a hybrid workplace is to build a central hub that connects on-premise and remote work.
Safety During Pandemic
Hybrid models are a way to protect workers from contracting and transmitting the coronavirus. Following social distancing guidelines is easier because fewer people are inside the same coworking spaces or conference room, and contamination at the office reduces.
People have more peace of mind when switching workdays between home and office or work at different places.
Most business settings and conference rooms are ideally suited for teamwork than a typical home office. In the hybrid work model, you will make the most of your workdays by utilizing these technological resources in the office for critical customer calls, decision-making, business meetings, or even a small group brainstorming.
Collaboration is made simpler by office-based work and the face-to-face contact that comes with it. You have the opportunity to socialize with coworkers, have casual discussions at cafes, and pick up valuable information in informal talks. It allows employees to switch between intense, simple, and personal workplace moments and quieter days and concentrated tasks at home.
Independence and Flexibility
Employees will function whenever and wherever it is most convenient for them. You owe workers the responsibility to make the best use of their skills and particular requirements, considering that they are more active in the early morning and enjoy the office desk. In contrast, others are true night owls and excel in their home office.
When businesses offer hybrid working and meeting options, they are demonstrating their consideration for their employees’ wellbeing and engaging in a healthy corporate culture. Allowing workers to plan their schedules and take care of personal obligations while still working makes them happier and more productive, enabling them to relieve stress and build up an excellent work-life balance.
It’s Time To Go Hybrid!
It’s time to adopt the hybrid workplace model to boost efficiency while reducing employee discomfort – the primary objective for any company.
The need of the hour is to create an atmosphere that prioritizes individual wellbeing and allows employees to select their preferred working style. As the future is unpredictable, businesses must consider changing job patterns to ensure long-term viability.
There are benefits of adopting a hybrid workplace model. It ensures you’re investing in your employees’ health and safety while also optimizing the quality and performance of your business. In the most challenging times, hybrid is the way to go to keep your workflow moving productively.
Do check out our series of blogs on the Hybrid Workspace. It will give you an idea of the changing workspace and help you develop your strategies for increasing productivity, keeping employees happy, and creating a safe and secure environment.