In the wake of the COVID pandemic, businesses have adopted various approaches to getting work done, by having employees work from home and allocate funds to have technical resources in place to support this work style, brewing the inception of unblended labor. Global lockdowns forced all but essential workers to adopt remote work right away.
Working from a desired space has enabled workers to absorb the flexibility of management and enjoy living in a state of independence, devoid of constant people surveillance and monitoring of breaks. Employees have now substituted their daily commute to work with the inculcation of small, already ignored habits such as taking the time to set up their workspace to the point of that being a mood enhancer to rock the day, therefore increasing productivity, and creating a sense of achievement, even though it might not be a significant one.
Similarly, working from the office has only helped workers foster relationships with colleagues in a way that otherwise would’ve been some work in an online space. The in-person effect sparks a unique feeling of being around like-minded individuals and a sense of community. The advantages of in-person onboarding extend beyond alleviating initial nervousness for new employees. Working together in an office environment provides a platform for new hires to seek clarification, absorb knowledge through observation, and develop a stronger sense of competence in their positions.
Since the dawn of the post-pandemic era, there has been a considerable amount of debate on how employees' work functions should be structured. Should this depend on the specific role wherein certain personnel of the organization show up to work, and the rest continue from home? Can employees work two days a week from home, and three days from the office, or conversely?
Well, let’s envisage an entity handing the employees the luxury of deciding which pattern would best suit their working style, considering the paramount importance of great production. In an era where the economy is predominantly taken care of by movements within laptops & pocket devices, it would seem obscure to call workers to the office to do something that could otherwise be done sitting at a fine rooftop, at an entrance gate, or within the confines of their bedroom - provided each of these sections accompany a robust internet connection. On the other side, we have a corporate worker standing at a taxi stand alongside a doctor, both waiting for a public conveyance to drop them off at their workplaces.
Now a doctor’s presence in a hospital or a clinic is critical to the well-being of their patients as by physically examining the former's condition when they could proceed with their medical practice, thus helping someone live, whereas the other worker could have been in their dressing room, turning on their device and getting the crucial auditing of the report done which not only made the boss go merry but helped the business with its objectives without having the employee to go through enormous chores of getting ready to show up at an office building.
The first cab had to negotiate the rate of transit with both and decided to pick up the corporate worker, leaving behind the doctor, whose presence in their workplace is crucial as opposed to the other worker who could’ve just got their job done by taking a seat at the taxi stand with a fair piece of internet connection.
Having an open door policy that lets employees work from home or any other desired place will get the employees to not only ramp up their daily checks but also encourage them to take up additional commitments, get them to embark on a spree to upskill, and provide a significant push towards a celebrated career. A study by Cisco titled - Employees are ready for hybrid work, are you? found that 82% of employees say the ability to work from anywhere has made them happier, and few more believe it has improved the quality of their work. A similar number (60%) felt that their productivity has enhanced.
Now promoting the act of "Coffee badging," where employees simply come to the office for a coffee and then leave, goes against ethical standards as it undermines the purpose of having an office space where like-minded individuals can collaborate in person and engage in productive brainstorming sessions. This practice discourages young talent from developing positive beliefs about the office environment and creates the perception that an office is primarily a place for casual coffee breaks and off-topic discussions.
Companies can promote in-person interactions by having teams meet up at the office to chat about a significant development in their work, and by conducting board room meetings, which although could be done virtually, will broaden the discussion and help shape ideas as employees feel less isolated by sharing equal space with their coworkers. In-person meetings can’t be disrupted by accidentally muted mics, bad internet connection or accidentally talking over one another.
No culture should be tarnished by a new advent promoting comfort. Still, necessary steps can be taken to meet ethical expectations for both sides by reaching a consensus on how work expectations can be met to not only render workers with the required peace of mind but also, help the business and thereby the economy grow seamlessly without a compromise.
Image Credit: Bloomberg
Image Credit: Inventiva
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