As COVID-19 swept across the globe early this year, it disrupted everyone’s sense of normalcy. Social distancing quickly became the norm while the world went into an unprecedented lockdown, forcing everybody to quarantine themselves at home. For most people, their hitherto distinct professional and domestic lives merged into one; ‘work’ became ‘work from home’.
As the year draws to a close, the world is coming to terms with the new reality along with the realization that remote work is here to stay – at least for a while. Against this backdrop, the business ecosystem is embracing a slew of technological and cultural transformations. Here’s looking at some of the prominent changes that have become a crucial part of the post-pandemic work landscape and will continue to evolve for the foreseeable future:
Remote working to become the rule
The pandemic rendered daily commuting for work impossible. In the pre-pandemic world, the idea of the entire workforce working remotely for extended durations may have seemed borderline unrealistic. In the post-pandemic landscape, remote working is no longer an exception but the rule.
The overall practice of working from home has proven to be more flexible, comfortable, and highly productive for employees as it eliminates the commute time and the strain associated with it. In light of its relevance and need, major global companies have provided a permanent remote working option to their employees.
Digital connectivity tools are no longer optional
The need for digital connectivity tools, platforms, and software skyrocketed as companies turned tech-savvy to keep their work running smoothly and mitigate any impact on productivity. Video conferencing tools enabled professionals to stay connected with each other and with the organization. Despite the challenges, digital technology made remote working transparent, flexible, and highly effective for professionals across the world.
Towards a hybrid organizational structure
The new norm will see the rise of distributed work or a hybrid system of work culture consisting of alternative working practices. Rotational shifts and staggered staffing could see employees required to work in the office on certain days and for a certain duration. Different shift hours would also ensure that social distancing will be maintained for a safer workspace. Activities such as meetings, discussions, and seminars, which were held successfully via video calls during the lockdown, could go back to being held physically – although a physical/digital mix might not be out of the question.
The pandemic has forced business leaders and senior management to revise the way they run their business. Many global companies are driving long-term strategic changes to their organizational structure in favour of more flexible work culture, to fall in step with this paradigm shift. Current developments all point towards the establishment of a fully remote working culture – or a hybrid model that combines the best of both the physical and the digital worlds. It will be interesting to witness this evolution of the business ecosystem. Regardless of the direction it takes, one thing is certain: the post-pandemic future of business will be a far cry from its pre-pandemic reality.
Welcome to the new normal.