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Technology Is Reshaping HR Strategy In The Hybrid Workplace

By Tapan Gupta, CHRO, PSIPL

He has 15 years of experience across top companies like Tata Teleservices, Aegon Life and PSIPL. With exposure to working in the Telecom, Life Insurance and hospitality sectors, he is skilled in Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Business partnering, Employee Retention & HR Operations. He has a Post Graduate degree in Human Resources from XISS.

The pandemic has functioned as a catalyst for change in how businesses are run. Remote working, also known as WFA (work from anywhere), is an emerging technology that provides a robust business continuity method. Working from home or anywhere can have a lot of advantages in people's life. Remote employees avoid the time consuming and stress inducing daily commute, save money by working from home, and have more scheduling freedom.

Organizations from all sectors have been able to operate and survive the present pandemic thanks to remote working technology. The virtual ecosystem of interacting and producing output has permanently altered the way firms operate! Some companies announced plans to make remote work permanent even after vaccines take hold. However, there are several disadvantages to working remotely. Those who work remotely may feel isolated as a result of their absence from the office setting, and they may find it difficult to maintain a work life balance.

The immediate concern, though, is a human/social disconnect, which is affecting employee mental health across the board. While technology might help with the "how" of the business, HR leaders must consider the "why." To be effective, engaged, and relevant, HR must improve team leader training. The attention has been on both the content and how virtual meetings are conducted. Coach managers on how to effectively communicate virtually with their teams, and enable flexibility within the team's scope, such as allowing parents who have online classes to have flexible working hours or split working hours so that they can balance things at home. If certain employees are afraid of missing out on professional prospects because they are "out of sight, out of mind," employers must pay special attention. Face time with managers and co-workers can help an employee feel more engaged and informed. For some employees, human interaction is a necessary. For full time employment from home, developing a sense of comradery with co-workers might be incredibly challenging.

"Although the Corona pandemic will eventually subside, the lessons learned about working from anywhere will persist"

The pandemic's second wave has touched every one of us, if not physically, but certainly mentally! As the business continues, HR directors must ensure that employee health and well being remain a top focus, in the best interests of the employee, their families, and the firm as a whole. Virtual meetings are still the primary method of communication. When workers work from home, it's even more important to build a good employer employee relationship so that if problems emerge, employees feel comfortable approaching their supervisors for assistance.

Furthermore, a limited and very cautious hard connect between personnel in a staggered way could be beneficial. To achieve a balance between physical and virtual working circumstances, evaluate rules and processes to incorporate new methods of working, develop capabilities for managers to work remotely, and trust and respect the team avoid micromanagement, long work hours, and efficient planning for working virtually. Employees who work from home should be encouraged to draw lines between their work and personal lives. Managers can do this by demonstrating their faith in their staff and encouraging them to set work limits.

It will come a time when firms will have a full time employees working out of their offices. A safe working environment is essential for visitors to the business. This will have a long term impact on the employees' brand equity and devotion. Provision of medical first aid per the new normal, as well as hospital assistance if necessary, will be routine. Safe meals and, if possible, transportation would become officially compulsory requirements from office personnel. Employees' vacations/leaves should be respected, and adequate downtime should be provided mandated vacations should be insisted upon and a tight workday end time should be insisted upon (in terms of deliverables and working hours both).                                                                     

During the pandemic last year, the gig economy or gig labour may have been one of the new things we heard about, hailed as the future of work and a fresh new approach to the traditional office structure. Employing gig workers became an intriguing idea as many people were compelled to work from home and firms embarked on a cost cutting spree. There's also the digital gig economy, which includes semi skilled to high skilled individuals that work through mobile or digital platforms in today's world, and includes freelance writers, consultants, and self employed professionals. The allure of this mode had increased significantly, with the pandemic adding both a cloud and a silver lining!

Although the Corona pandemic will eventually subside, the lessons learned about working from anywhere will persist. We foresee a new normal for where and how work is done by confronting the difficulties and appreciating the opportunities. Many adjustments will be required in the future of remote work, including investments in digital infrastructure and the release of office space. For most businesses, allowing workers to work outside of the office will necessitate the reinvention of numerous processes and regulations. The question is whether the advantages will exceed the disadvantages. Only time will tell if this is true!

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