2020 will be remembered as the year of the pandemic for the rest of our lives. The year in which the entire world came to a standstill. Due to the danger of an unknown virus and consequent lockdowns, individuals were confined to their houses for the whole year. The next year, 2021, will be regarded as a year of survival and optimism, with a silver lining in the shape of a Covid-19 vaccination and hope for “normalcy” even as the virus kept bringing uncertainties. “Unprecedented” is the term that best describes both 2020 and 2021. 

In retrospect, these two years have had a significant influence on our daily lives. While we may have lost a lot during this time, we have gained a lot as well: the ability to adapt to new situations, build resilience, and confront the scary new world with optimism and bravery. Despite the difficulties, we have devised creative new strategies for surviving – for navigating the new normal and resuming the routine that characterizes our lives and work. 

Technology and the internet have proven to be essential advantages, allowing us to sustain our work interactions and engagements from a distance. A slew of collaboration technologies with the help of startup fundings appeared to meet all of the needs that resulted from the necessity to physically separate. It was amazing how quickly we were able to move to new work models that were previously unfathomable. 

According to the Microsoft Work Lab’s 2021 Work Trend Index, based on 30,000 individuals questioned in 30 countries, nearly 46% of participants planned to relocate to a more appropriate area because they could work remotely, while remote job ads on Linkedln increased by 5x. Almost 73% of those polled desired flexibility in their employment arrangements to last beyond the short term. Over 66 per cent of decision-makers are exploring or are in the process of revamping current physical locations for hybrid work, indicating that many businesses are amenable to this transition. As a result, hybrid work is here to stay. 

As the pandemic has faded in intensity, a growing number of businesses have opened offices; some have restarted physical operations, while others have stuck with the hybrid approach. Physical presence is essential in certain industries or jobs where the digital infrastructure is sufficient. As a result, we may expect a variety of hybrid work models to emerge in the future, with varying degrees of encouragement for working from home (WFH). There are certainly long-term benefits to having persistent hybrid models after the problems are smoothed out. 

It accomplishes the unthinkable: for the first time in human history, individuals do not need to relocate in order to have access to greater opportunities. In India, this would imply that individuals may save money on rent by staying in their hometowns, easing some of the strains on larger cities. This might be a game-changing step in terms of democratizing access to resources and opening up new ones to a wider cross-section of the population. Another benefit is that hybrid setups have accelerated the digitalization of a variety of business and public-sector organizations. In the long run, this will aid organizations in achieving their modernization objectives. There’s evidence that the outbreak boosted the government’s Digital India projects as well – Direct benefit transfers, UPL, GS1, etc. The Digital sector has benefited tremendously from VC Funding, Equity Funding and Angel investment. 

Possibility of major cost reductions in operations

Many organizations and their Venture Capitalists had spent significant amounts of their yearly budgets before the pandemic in creating and maintaining outstanding workplaces that catered to their employees’ diverse demands. As a result, companies have a significant worldwide real estate portfolio, and it comes as no surprise that real estate expenditures are often the second-highest operational expense after labour.

Companies, on the other hand, now have the opportunity to optimize their underutilized workplaces thanks to the introduction of hybrid working. Many companies have already been downsizing their offices, either by replacing dedicated employee workstations with hot desks or by using sublets or subleases to offset the expense of long-term leases. By tying up these pricey loose ends, businesses may improve the work experience by turning the office into an amenity hub. Employee engagement will be aided by software like Optix, and other new businesses with the help of startup funding which are allowing employees to effortlessly access the office’s resources, services, and facilities. This will encourage employees to return to the workplace to use these amenities. 

Opportunity to innovate and expand the talent pool

As companies restructure their real estate holdings, remote workers have begun to test the limits of their jobs. The “work from anywhere” catchphrase arose as a result of many people fleeing congested cities or moving to completely other parts of the country. As a result, firms will have the opportunity to experiment with the hybrid work model. The central office “hub” and a number of linked “spokes” or satellite offices via coworking or flexible workspaces are one example of this.

Employees are given the opportunity to get out of their homes and travel to a local flexible or coworking space, where they could experience the bustle of a workspace and engage with colleagues without wasting their time and resources. Organizations can profit from “spoke” offices as well; by using flex or coworking spaces, firms can readily gain access to new markets without incurring significant expenditure from their Venture Capital Funds. Businesses may grow into new areas or attract top talent in a developing industry by building a ‘home’ for their workers within a coworking space provider, for example.

There is no going back

We’ve arrived at a critical juncture in history, when a fundamental transformation in how and where we work has begun, and there’s no going back. We’re in the midst of what many economists and pundits refer to as the “Great Upheaval,” in which over 41% of the workforce is planning to quit their current company this year, according to Microsoft data. Many people have discovered that the time they would have spent commuting might have been better spent on personal growth, increasing their health and wellness, spending time with family and friends, or following their passions. Others have suffered from digital burnout as a result of working remotely in their silos without much engagement with their coworkers. You’re undoubtedly asking how these findings impact the long-term viability of hybrid work. For starters, it demonstrates that people all around the world have experienced the benefits of flexible work, and many are eager to quit their positions to enjoy greater freedom from the confines of a more typical 9-5 work model. It also shows that remote work isn’t for everyone, since many professionals miss interacting, socializing, learning, and growing in a physical office setting. While working from home allows you to perform some of these things, face-to-face communication creates the foundation for boosting your organization’s collaborative potential, strengthening work relationships, and fostering a sustainable corporate culture.

There is a lot of effort to guarantee that government systems and procedures are properly simplified and digitized, resulting in improved living and business conditions. Physical operations will be replaced by software-based processes as more paperless and contactless technology are introduced. Greater accountability and systemic efficiency are aided by virtual procedures. This major transformation is now underway. Physical offices were formerly necessary since they were the only area where employees could access all of the company’s information. Connections that drive the organization’s agenda could only take place in the constraints of an office, therefore physical presence was also required. Collaborative virtual workplaces have rendered them obsolete. The future has arrived. The Hybrid Work and Life approach is what we have now. 

The future is Grey, the future is Hybrid! 

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