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4 Pillars To Leveraging Technology In Hybrid Workspaces

4 Pillars To Leveraging Technology In Hybrid Workspaces


Technology is crucial in breaking down barriers and making the most out of hybrid work.


 

With global vaccination rates increasing and reopening workplaces in sight, businesses are preparing to return to the office in a staggered and secure manner. Having seen India slip in and out of multiple lockdowns over the past year and a half, organisations have continued to evolve on methods of operations using digital technology platforms.

 

The focus of organisations has steadily shifted to the seamless integration of work, workplace and workforce through the emphasis on employee experience and creation of flexible, digital and secure work models. Keeping in mind the diversified workforce and the personal preferences of each employee, one would find it logical for companies to promote a hybrid model of work.

 

The Hybrid Work Model

 

The hybrid model of work attempts to combine office time with virtual workplaces effectively. It provides a means of balancing the needs and preferences of individual employees on one side and their ability to collaborate and be productive in a shared “phygital” space on the other.

 

Hybrid configurations are proving to be an essential change. Surveys reveal that over 77% of employees prefer to continue working remotely, and 30% would quit their jobs entirely if forced to return to their office desks. At the same time, one cannot ignore the benefits of office spaces and face-to-face working interactions. Digital fatigue has become prevalent as a consequence of the over-usage of video conferencing during the pandemic. In light of this, a hybrid model approach could prove to be the perfect balancing act.

 

In addition to the primary goal of achieving flexible work schedules, there are several pros to implementing a hybrid workspace model for both the organisation and employees. In the short-term view, a hybrid model offers companies the ability to remain operational and generate revenue while managing the pandemic’s unpredictable nature. As a long-term aspect, it provides flexibility for those who either want or need it. Cost savings resulting from fewer leased office spaces, as well as savings on commute and transportation, are added advantages of the hybrid work model. It also provides access to a broader pool of local and global talent, attracting and retaining skilled and diverse workforces across multiple geographies.

 

Consequently, a hybrid work model improves the company’s prospects for productivity and efficiency. On the other hand, the opportunity to maintain a healthy work-life balance inevitably leads to increased job satisfaction and improved emotional engagement.

 

There are some cons of hybrid workspaces: collaboration and teamwork often suffer, the risk of cybersecurity breach increases, and there is a sort of silo formed amongst remote employees and office employees. Fortunately, appropriately leveraging technology helps us break through these barriers and make the most out of the hybrid model.

 

How Technology Can Enable Hybrid Work

 

The principal objective of digital transformation is to improve enduser experience and achieve business results at an affordable cost. The four fundamental pillars of hybrid workspaces are inclusion, collaboration, transparency, and security. Achieving the above is only possible with the help of technology. Any organisation’s successful future depends on its ability to leverage technology and enable the digital mastery of its employees.

 

Inclusion refers to equal opportunities, access, and experiences for all employees. The tools and “phygital” workspace must be uniform and should bestow the same advantages to everyone. Inclusion involves improving access to data, which is a potent mechanism that breaks down silos within the company. Using a cloud-based platform will facilitate access to the same tools and solutions, regardless of the location of the employees. When accomplished, inclusion encourages collaboration among employees, bringing us to the next pillar.

 

Business leaders can achieve better results by unifying employees around everyday achievements and real-time visibility of business metrics. Organisations can accomplish this by using new platform-based approaches that bring together data and provide a single source for teams to collaborate. The best collaboration tools place context at the forefront and present all the necessary tools to chat, interact with video, track projects, and more in a single dashboard. Groups are less likely to create silos if they’re confident that they can find everything they need in one place. Companies with reduced budgets can leverage digital collaboration tools for large-scale hackathons covering the majority of their workforce. The use of popular brainstorming tools can aid in design thinking, agile and scrum working, large scale communication events, etc.

 

Creating an internal social network will develop clarity and openness. It will also help build camaraderie and engagement when it comes to transparency. Sharing company updates, celebrating milestones and accomplishments, and enabling peer-to-peer communication will go a long way in constructing a cordial work environment. Another essential tool that promotes transparency is the use of dashboards and analytics. Leaders should use the insights gained from metrics and data to start conversations and evaluate decisions.

 

The last foundational pillar of a hybrid model of work is security. It is essential to ensure the privacy of both the organisation and employees right from the beginning. Sensitive material found on company emails or the organisation’s drive is vulnerable to data breaches. Implementing appropriate strategies to protect digital assets and shield the company from cyber threats is vital. There are several cybersecurity measures one can take to safeguard a hybrid business. The use of VPNs, two-factor authentication, firewalls, data backups, and anti-malware software are now sacrosanct for safe businesses. Frequent check-ups are necessary to ensure that there is no compromise in the security of data.

 

Conclusion

 

Companies worldwide will have to figure out how to evolve quickly and efficiently to become more inclusive in the post-pandemic workspace. A hybrid workplace gives the best experience to employees without compromising on productivity or safety while also facilitating stronger relationships from anywhere. As an apparent future model of work, the transition from full-time offices to hybrid workspaces is inevitable. For a seamless shift in environment, technology and management must go hand in hand.

 

Integrating technology to achieve the best of physical and virtual workspaces will enhance employee experience while also ensuring an organisation’s long-term success. It will require investments in platforms and employee capabilities to match ever-changing dynamic requirements. Reskilling employees using digital platforms, LXP, and bite-sized learning is pertinent as digital mastery becomes an essential leadership ingredient.

 

Views are authors’ own.

 


 

 

Shivin Tikoo is heading Organization Development at Mahindra and pursuing Ph.D. in     Organization Behaviour from XLRI. His areas of interest include HR strategy, EVP and change   management. Shivin is based out of Mumbai and can be reached at [email protected]

 

 


 


 

 

  Ruchi Rawat is the EA to the CHRO, Mahindra AFS and leading HR for Corporate Functions      of AFS. She has 15 years of experience in HR Business Partnering, learning & organisational    development, and talent management & engagement. Ruchi is based out of Mumbai and can    be reached at [email protected]

 

 


 

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