Digital Transformation and Working Remotely is the New Normal

By Rahul Sharma, MD-India, LogMeIn | Thursday, 26 November 2020, 07:06 IST

Digital Transformation and Working Remotely is the New Normal

A lot has changed in the past eight months. While the world grappled with the COVID-19 crisis, digital disruption continued to make inroads into every major aspect of our lives. The accelerated adoption of digital technology in the wake of the pandemic-imposed restrictions meant that the business ecosystem as we know it underwent an ostensibly permanent transformation.  In the pre-pandemic era, the concept of remote working was the exception; today, it is the rule.

How remote working became the new normal in the post-COVID-19 business landscape

With indefinite lockdowns and overwhelming restrictions on physical contact, organizations around the world had no choice but to digitally modernize themselves in response to the pandemic. It not only demonstrated the value of IT but also fuelled significant changes across all organisational functions from internal management and communication to customer service, sales, and delivery.

Smartphones and other digital devices played an instrumental role in enabling the shift to a work from home model of doing business. As the demand for solutions that could make this transition seamless and hassle-free for businesses skyrocketed, many tech innovators rose to the occasion to bridge the need-gap. As days turned into weeks, these innovations helped companies drive operations ranging from connecting with their employees, as well as using video conferencing tools to stay in contact with their teams, conducting online training and digital hiring among other things – all on these integrated platforms.

The widespread disruption has not only challenged the conventional methods of engagement but also paved way for a more flexible and modern work culture. Along with this change has emerged the need for business leaders to lend greater focus on employee satisfaction and wellbeing. Why? Because the success of the remote working model depends on how well the employees can find a work-life balance and settle into the new routine without incurring any toll on their mental and emotional wellbeing. To achieve this, providing a safer work environment for employees, transparent communication, and regular feedback has become imperative.

The need to put employees first

The most crucial consideration for any organization during the times of global health crisis should be their employees’ mental and physical welfare. It is a happy and satisfied individual who goes above and beyond the call of duty to serve the organisation. On the other hand, professionals who feel neglected are more likely to sever ties with their organisation.

Everyone has different needs and sensibilities. It is up to the leadership to identify how best to establish trust and provide each of them with positive work experiences. The key, in the COVID-19 world, lies in making sure that the employees are taking care of themselves and their families.

There is an expectation among organisations that after COVID-19, things will fall back in place just as they were before 2020, and people would still want to return to office spaces and work as usual. Market research, however, estimates that a significant percentage of professionals would either prefer to work remotely or avail a hybrid option that requires them to go to the office for a limited number of days every week. A PricewaterhouseCoopers study estimated that nearly a third of office goers would want their organizations to transition fully to a remote working model. On the other hand, an overwhelming 72 percent would prefer to work from home at least twice a week. By taking into consideration their issues and needs, a more inclusive work environment can be created that will further give way for enhanced productivity and employee satisfaction.

Transforming the new office space

The digital expansion has pushed organisations to question the need for large office spaces. With business reopening, one might think that pre-pandemic practices will return to normal, but it is more viable for organizations to embrace the new and flexible remote working style for a better future. Office spaces can be utilized for team meetings, get-togethers or any other face-to-face collaborations rather than housing desks for individual day-to-day work.

This shift in strategy will open up new avenues in which the physical office spaces can be utilized be it for creating rooms for employee training, video conferencing, or any other activity that requires physical presence. At the same time, this strategy will help organisations towards a sustainability-led future, with less travel and lower use of non-renewable consumables, in line with global awareness of the effects on our environment.   Alleviating the strain on mass transit, the cities, and the environment and establishing a more flexible workforce will inspire employees to feel proud of being part of a forward-thinking, responsible, and modern organisation.

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