A COVID-19 health catastrophe is a once-in-a-lifetime event that is affecting people all around the world. Its consequences are likely to be felt in the short, medium, and long run. Considering its effect on the working trends, we’ll focus on the working system’s potential future and recent adjustments.

Apart from large-scale humanitarian crises, what do World War II and the coronavirus pandemic have in common? Both are pivotal periods in the history of labor. If the former encouraged American women to work outside the home, the latter compelled a considerable portion of the worldwide white-collar workforce to work from home.

For nearly two years, the incredibly quickly nanoscopic but fatal virus has gained universal acceptance for remote work. At the onset of the pandemic, many employees complained that working from home harmed their work-life balance. However, times have changed, and people have recognized the benefits of flexibility.

Hybrid Model: Bane or Boon

A lengthy, once-in-a-lifetime epidemic, along with the opening up of jobs and technologically enabled chances for brilliant people, has pushed them to rethink their life and work aspirations in an employee-driven market. Work, labor, and the workplace have all changed considerably, influencing employee assumptions of the business value proposition. 

As businesses scramble to perfect their arguments for why employees should choose them, the world of work is witnessing at least a few long-term shifts, one of which is the hybrid model. It gives employees and businesses the best of both worlds: flexibility and time savings on long commutes and opportunities for social interaction and collaborative work. There has been an impact on productivity, fixed costs have decreased, and many more variable expenses due to travel and other reasons have vanished in the startup world and the well-established firms.

Employers are noticing that their employees are working harder. This work-from-home arrangement suits them perfectly as this system improves the quality of their work. We can see enough hiring evidence on the ground to conclude that, in the long run, a large portion of employment will shift away from metros and into smaller cities and towns, aided by improved telecom and internet infrastructure. The whole scenario also impacts the angel investment, VC funding, and other forms of startup funding, considering the firms’ output. 

People who have recovered from a pandemic are looking for more flexible work schedules. They will work from any location as long as they are physically connected to the people they collaborate with. They want to know what it’s like to work in an office while working from home. 

People make good use of the energy, time, and money saved by not traveling and avoiding other expenses by partaking in pleasures and other personal rewards. These changes in employee behavior prompted firms to reconsider their working procedures and employee behavior. Since the WFH employee’s increased output while also improving mental health, a hybrid model, or a more advanced, custom-built, well-thought-out working mode, should be implemented as soon as possible.

A Larger Pool Of People To Choose From

Cost and talent access constraints drove these global corporations to recruit from all around the world, disperse their employees, and create new methods to collaborate.

The same thing is currently taking on within the country. In the past, we wouldn’t hire someone who claimed, “I can’t move to Delhi.” However, it is no longer a requirement.

Newer models, such as gig labor (a person who works as an independent contractor or freelancer temporarily, usually in the service sector), have also broadened the talent pool, owing to this flexibility. Due to a clear correlation between performance and remuneration, online platforms such as Uber, Ola, Swiggy, and Zomato have effectively implemented the concept for blue-collar workers. 

There is now some initiation for specific talents in white-collar professions as well. According to employers, people are eager to experiment with projects and enhance their skills and expertise. A gig mindset is also seeping into formal employment, according to employers.

The acceptance of employee demands for flexibility in location and hours also benefits businesses. They can now tap into a larger talent pool in India’s non-metro cities and villages, as numerous employees have returned to their hometowns. These causes have led angel investors and venture capitalists to think over the investments they make in startups. Therefore, along with all other major sectors, venture capital is also affected by the changing trend of working among employees.

Health is Wealth

If the first wave of the pandemic brought the previously largely unaddressed issue of mental health in corporate India to light, the second wave demonstrated the importance of family health to employees’ overall well-being.

The impact is evident, with both criteria now being included in the definition of employee well-being. When it comes to recruiting candidates, health benefits have become one of the employers’ most important selling points. 

Employees were previously uninterested in seeing if their families were safe. They’re now looking over the small print to check if their parents and spouse’s parents are also covered. With the commencement of the pandemic, it became clear that we needed to focus even more on holistic well-being, not just for our personnel but also for their families.

While numerous multinational corporations claim to have started their mental health journey before the pandemic, the global health crisis accelerated their efforts and drove other organizations to pick up the torch as well. Organizations are experimenting with various projects to take small steps toward long-term solutions.

A conglomerate recruited a chief medical officer to supervise employee health and wellness. Few companies train their line managers and frontline supervisors to spot signs of mental illness in their staff, especially during small engagements, so that specialists can provide appropriate counseling.

Possible Future

One of the most significant shifts triggered by the pandemic that will shape the future of work is a strong emphasis on flexibility, well-being, and effective collaboration between remote and physical workers. Digital overload is accurate and on the rise. 

We require tools that not only keep us “always-on” but also assist us in pausing when necessary and prioritizing our health and well-being. Data and analytics are powerful tools for organizations to understand and improve employee experience in a hybrid world. Technology is also a key enabler of inclusion for everyone in the hybrid workplace, including people with disabilities.

Creating equitable, inclusive experiences begins with designing for those not present. Every organization will require a new digital fabric for collaboration that connects digital and physical spaces and allows everyone to participate, whether in the office, at home, or on the factory floor. In a hybrid world, culture will be a crucial determinant of success. 

Building a culture when half of the workforce works from home and the other half works in the office is no easy task. Organizations must find new and unique ways to keep employees connected and engaged in sustaining culture across the organization. Technology will play a significant role in achieving this unified hybrid experience, allowing for secure and accessible collaboration for all.

We are already in the midst of a massive shift in working. It will necessitate organizations developing an entirely new playbook for collaboration, productivity, inclusion, and learning. This will shape the future of work, and the significant reshuffle will get us there. In this world, technology will play an even more critical role in enabling every person and organization on the planet to achieve more.

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