As I drive to office, I look around and the entire city is abuzz, however, the last mile of my drive is deserted with hardly a soul in the vicinity, insinuating towards the massive transformation underway for all of us & knowing that it’s never going to be the same again.
While a lot has been spoken about in the last 18 months, I believe, it’s time to ‘reset’ – the way we’ve been living, working, and interacting with each other, and it’s the unpredictability of it all that will make this an enriching experience for each one of us. We are all figuring our way out of the pandemic and moving into an uncertain future with endless possibilities that has the potential to usher us into a brighter tomorrow!
Return to office is not just about getting to your workspace, it’s about how safe the workspace is, adapting to the needs of different segments, preparedness of the social ecosystem around us, and while organizations will carve out an overall philosophy, it’s essential to construct a school of thought that is adaptable, nimble & iterative.
The future holds endless possibilities for us, and we are working towards creating a new equilibrium for work – in our offices & homes – the hybrid model is being fine-tuned & honed to fit seamlessly. It will transform under the 3 key paradigms – Work, Workforce & Workplace, catering to the 3 employee segments – Fully onsite, Fully remote, and Flexi employees.
For many of us, our workplace had a visible change post the pandemic when we shifted from our offices to our homes. And while the work largely was similar, the platforms & mediums to interact changed, laying the foundation for newer ways of working. In the hybrid work environment, here is how the work landscape will evolve for organizations.
- Work Redesign: Organizations will experience a massive transformation in the workflow and gig working will play a substantial role in this transformation. Modular work will take precedence and newer work realms will manifest. This will pave way for renewed goals and roles, leading to changes in conventional work structures.
- Mobility: The changing landscape of work has compounded the possibilities for employees to work from their desired location & handpick the kind of work they’d enjoy. Physical movement is no more a deterrent as the talent market expands, heralding increased diversity & choice.
I believe the evolution of workplace in the last 18 months has been the most significant one and it has completely altered our representation of ‘The Office’. In the hybrid setup, 3 kinds of workplaces will transpire, and great organizations should be able to oscillate between all three.
- Office, home or co-working space: My key learning from the pandemic has been, that given the right context, productive work can be executed anytime, anywhere. Employees will have a range of possible choices in the hybrid setup, as we move towards a boundless work environment. Our homes will be redefined with a separate workspace being created, with all of us, wearing multiple hats in different rooms.Offices will have hot desks & collab spaces for employees to come together to collaborate with each other and build social capital. No one will have to travel 20kms from their homes to offices just to send one email and you’d be able to work from a mountain, a beach, a café, or any other co-working space if you wish to.
- Digital: Creating a hybrid digital experience integrating the old & new, aided by technology & digital platforms. There will be 3 key components that will up the ante on Digital Experience for every organization – it has to be easy; it has to be intuitive, and it has to have a soul i.e., it should speak the language of your culture. Each day, we are moving towards personalization, with hundreds of apps emphasizing the ‘Me’ factor and similarly, organizations also will have to accelerate & drive personalization in all their offerings by being more intuitive & data-driven.
- Teams: Our network within the teams has got better and network outside the teams has become weaker. The social capital that we all had built over the years is depleting, and with the new workforce entering, it’s going to be more laborious for them, to fabricate connections. Tapping into the potential of teams will go a long way in changing the way we interact with each other. Collaboration & Co-creation, aided by technology, will change the way we think, behave and work.
- Leadership: At the core of it all will be the leaders driving the change and creating an ecosystem that promotes ‘bottom up’ conversations, democratization of ideas, amplifying dialogues, and leading from the front! And Trust at the heart of it.
Lastly, I believe our success will hinge on 3 key areas – Productivity, Culture, Flexibility. Productivity would mean defining and redefining our objectives and outcomes, where the real measure of productivity will be outcome-based & not effort-based. Productivity will strengthen the flexibility being offered to the employees, and at the center of it, will be the culture, taking the lead & spearheading this evolution!
“The best way to predict a future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln Note: The article draws on various sources of inspiration from the public domain.
Note-All views are personal.