Brace for 360-degree Work Culture Transformation

Covid-19 caused massive disruptions in businesses worldwide, but it also forced them to work under tight limitations by prioritizing technology. This pandemic brought about a massive change in the way offices were working in a matter of days. Companies had no option but to shift to a work from home mechanism and to a lot of people’s surprise it proved to be a huge success.

As companies venture ahead to the gradual uplifting of the lockdown, the current norms are drastically different. People have to keep their masks on and maintain social distancing measures and offices would need to operate with 10 – 30% of the workforce. I am certain, these are temporary measures that will soon disappear once the COVID problem is solved. But there are bound to be other changes and work culture transformations that would be distinct from what we knew as the “old normal”.

Diverse & Inclusive Workforce

The workforce of the future is going to be very different from what it is today. Companies will increasingly adopt remote working for a variety of jobs as a permanent mode of office work. As a result, people will no longer need to hop cities to do their preferred job. Companies will have a sizable number of employees working from smaller cities and towns. Tomorrow’s workforce will thus become more diverse and inclusive enabling elderly and women with domestic constraints to join the workforce.

New Nature of Employment

We will possibly witness several types of employment. Some employees will work part-time, like half-a-day or 3-days-a-week and some will work with multiple companies on a freelance basis. There will be a third set of employees who will work on a master-services agreement, implying that while they will enjoy company benefits, they will be paid basis the work they choose to do and not a fixed salary.

Adoption of Advanced Technology

The COVID situation has actually advanced the adoption of digitization in a matter of 3 months. Advanced technology like AI, Robotics, and Automation, are embedded in many aspects of work done in HR. Companies might soon have a smart platform that uses AI to offer instant responses to employee queries. Technology can never replace human beings, but it can very well optimize a lot of work that can be done without human intervention.

Restructuring Space to make Smarter Offices

Offices pre and post-Covid, are drastically different. But the future will resemble neither of these. In the future, offices will become quite flexible in nature. Only a few select employees will have permanent desks, with about 80 – 90% of the office space designated as “free-space” that will be used by multiple employees at different times. Offices will increasingly offer “collaboration space” that will be used for in-person collaborations like a team meeting, workshop, an off-sight event, or a customer interaction drive. Offices will be using technology like IoT or detection units to manage human density at specific office spaces and maybe even to detect microbes or possible health threats.

Overall, the sum total of all these transformations will create a work culture that is flexible and responsive to necessity. A work culture that is customizable and has the ability to evolve and reconfigure in order to manage the larger problem at hand.

About the Author

Aadesh Goyal is Chief Human Resources Officer of Tata Communications. He has over 25 years of experience in P&L Management, Human Resources, Operations, Information Technology, Corporate Communications and Program Management and has held global leadership roles in these functions across multiple geographies. He has also been involved in over a dozen M&As as well as playing a key role in the integration of these companies, spread across multiple countries.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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