The pandemic has completely transformed our lifestyle. The infectious nature of the virus continues to wreak havoc worldwide and it has confined us in our homes. Work from home has become the 'new normal. for many workplaces. Now, workplace is limited to our laptops and it has become such an integral part of our lives. Until 2019, remote working was considered an absolute luxury.
As the first wave of COVID began in 2020; the new work model is slowly started gaining momentum globally. As the first wave ended,the last quarter saw people returning to the office after a massive gap. The second wave brought a halt to physical offices last year across multiple cities. However, as people were gradually going back to offices, the onset of Omicron has resulted in everybody going back to juggling work life with the household chores. Even though it might be the preferred work model for many organizations, the restrictions and curbs have left it as the only option in the present times.
Recently, Wipro decided to shut down offices globally in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases for the next four weeks. According to News 18, the leading IT company will look into the evolving situation before taking any necessary steps ahead.
Speaking at the Microsoft Future Ready event, Wipro Chairman Rishad Premji said that the hybrid work environment will continue and added that companies will have to work on creating stronger engagement with employees in order to retain talent.
"Employees need to communicate and connect with each other in order to foster a sense of belonging with their organisations" said Premji as reported by Economic Times
Is Work From Home Productive?
The new workplace model is the ultimate test of our patience and balance. Many of us spent our lockdown with our families, maintaining a work-life balance. According to a survey done by SAP Concur, 88% of the workforce in India prefers to work from home, while 69% of them believe their productivity has increased while working remotely. The Logical Indian spoke with professionals working in different sectors to know about the nitty-gritty of the hybrid work model.
In a conversation with The Logical Indian, an IT employee from Bengaluru named Sahil Choudhary said, "I realized that I was more efficient in my work when I was working from home. At home, you have the flexibility, and the travel time is saved."
Working from home has proved highly beneficial for many companies as it saves a lot of workforce and money spent on them. "Work from home is better for me as it does not require to follow the strict timings of reaching the office by 10 a.m. My working hours are flexible, and hence I can log in at any time and finish the assigned tasks on time. Moreover, the work-life balance is quite great for me," Jatin Thakwani, a Software Development Intern, said.
However, work from home has proven to be taxing as well. Personal and professional lines have blurred over time and at times it becomes challenging for organisations to keep track of their employees' well-being that might be costing efficiency in output.
"The disadvantage of remote working includes lack of interaction with colleagues. In-person interactions are few and far between when working from home unlike in the office," a Chennai-based head of recruitment, Fabian Figredo, told The Logical Indian.
Another employee in an IT company named Nishtha Sindhi gives her two cents, "There is flexibility for working but that, in turn, spoils the discipline and strict working hours protocol which affects my work-life balance. The advantage is that I get to live with my parents. But I am not exposed to people in the office since the circle online is limited to a group. If we had been in office, I would have interacted with other people."
As the famous adage says, "With great power comes great responsibilities." Remote working has given the HR department the critical responsibility to boost everyone's morale virtually. With the pandemic limiting in-person meetings, HR departments have also taken many initiatives to keep their employee engagements ongoing.
Thakwani narrates his experience, "They have tried to make the work from home experience interesting by bringing up concepts like Trivia wherein we pair up with our peers and can have a good time with them. There are kudos and shout outs given to the employees to appreciate their work. We have virtual lunches and dinners as well. So, in my perspective, the company is trying their best to work for our experience from home."
Hybrid Model: Is It The Future?
The post-pandemic era has its twists and turns, and no one can anticipate what the future has in store for us. Therefore, the world is already gearing up for the next few months. The term 'Hybrid Model' is already doing the rounds on social media platforms which refers to combining remote and office workplaces. It also indicates that organizations across our country are planning to prepare in advance to combat the pandemic situation.
NASSCOM's 'Return to Workplace Survey' states that 70 % of organizations look at this model after the pandemic. Around 40 % of the employees expect to work from office premises up to three days a week.
"I think the future is going to be hybrid working. There's no getting away from that fact. The pandemic has dispelled all the work-related myths several multinational companies had. With people working efficiently from home, they also crave social interaction. Therefore, the hybrid model will be the future," Fabian Figredo further explains to The Logical Indian.
Thakwani also supports this model, "For the future, hybrid mode of working could be a good option because extensive work from home leads to degradation of our social skills as we do not meet many people in person."
While this may be the future, the logistics behind the hybrid model also need to be looked at. Companies need to have the necessary infrastructure and resources to execute this. With the kind of workplace India has over the years, only the upcoming months will tell how effective it will be soon.