So much has changed and evolved in the past one and a half years in terms of how we work and how we live. Suddenly we had to adopt a remote lifestyle, becoming used to digital collaboration and work engagements happening over on-screen video calls. So we asked our industry leaders their take on how work has changed during the global pandemic, and what will it look like in the future?
Satish Kumar V, CEO at EverestIMS Technologies
COVID-19 has been a technology disrupter for enterprises all over the world, with significant adoption of digital transformation. Businesses that once hesitated to embark upon a digital-first journey were left without a choice. Remote technology enablement has become the new normal to ensure business continuity, meet the aggressive demands of their customers, or enter new market segments. Hence, enterprises have no choice but to build and extend work-from-home (WFH) capabilities to give employees a secure working environment.
To ensure that this worked properly and was not just a dictum, organizations delved into the segregation of roles to analyze what work could be done remotely and what needed face-to-face interaction along with the frequency of interaction. Fortunately, they had ample time to create the lattice upon which these interactions were to be balanced - one that would need careful monitoring and retuning based on employee feedback. The first and most important thing that many companies did was to guide employees and to make them acclimatized to working in collaboration remotely. It is not an easy task as most people have been used to a different system of engagement that spanned decades. Unlearning this was the key to success.
From an employee's perspective, this aggressive pandemic-influenced digital momentum has caused them to change how they carry out their day-to-day activities. It is also crucial to equip them with remote workflows to easily collaborate with other remote teams and accomplish more together.
An important facet of this was the fact that whether one liked it or not, the home was going to interject with work. Making employees comfortable being with their families full time and still able to contribute to organizational goals through the right tools and processes formed an important part of this framework. To keep the consistency of this going, employers need to keep innovating on how to keep employees engaged in activities (remotely) that continue to maintain camaraderie within and across teams. Lack of a physical presence can be unnerving and active programs have to be created and sequenced consistently.
The success of sequencing this would be use case driven where technology-based software solutions have become the main drivers in this endeavor. But implementing these technologies is just half the battle since enterprises are also under pressure to ensure continuous agility, scalability, and innovation.
Looking ahead, this unprecedented growth in remote technology adoption is not a one-off event. They must focus on making their remote IT ecosystems readily scalable to deal with unexpected events in the future. And they should also make sure to have the data-rich operational insights to understand and improve employee productivity without tool-related obstacles that may derail their engagement and retention.
At EverestIMS, we are proud to be a part of this change as an enabler of the phenomena that is a global need. Our vision is to help enterprises achieve collaborative innovation through a suite of state-of-the-art products and solutions. We unlock the power of Cloud, IoT, AI, and Hyperautomation to meet enterprise-wide remote technology requirements while delivering contextual and consistent omnichannel user experiences.
Vikas Bhonsle, CEO at Crayon Software Experts India
The future of work is all about the disruption of technologies. Although this was predicted long back when IoT and Artificial Intelligence (AI) made their mark visible, it is the pandemic of 2020 that snowballed the digital transformation process worldwide. There will be a few distinct aspects to this transformation: decentralization of job headquarters, automation at the workplace, hiring of talents from across geographies, constant re-learning of new skills, and higher dependency on SaaS and PaaS tools, to name a few.
Companies are already articulating the best approach for collaboration and healthy work culture for a remote working team. As work has gone remote, this will also make it possible for organizations to hire talents across geographies. However, the benefits and impact of on-premise team collaboration cannot be dismissed yet. Another aspect of this development will be that organizations will be investing more in digital tools for ensuring seamless communication and productivity amongst employees.
Talking about tools, with most software going the AI route, there is a good chance that redundant and repetitive jobs might become obsolete and be taken over by tools and software alone. McKinsey has already reported that 50% of global job activities could theoretically be automated, meaning that around 400-800 million employees could be displaced globally due to automation by 2030. Interestingly, a Dell report says that 85% of these jobs do not even exist yet. The information can be overwhelming and apprehensive for a workforce that is under-skilled for an automated job market. To prepare for this future of work, employees today must keep themselves updated with new trends and technology and undergo training to stay relevant for the changing job market demands.
Prashanth GJ, CEO at TechnoBind
The future of work is not pre-determined, it is up to us to shape it. Work culture is likely never going to be the same in the post-pandemic era. However, this gives us an ample opportunity to rethink how we run the companies. For decades, 9-to-5 has been the unofficial slogan of work centered around offices. This rigid structure changed in the covid-19 era as companies gave up unnecessary meetings and office timings. Covid-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on how we collaborate, where we work, and the employer-employee relationship with respect to remote job performance. Companies and workers shifted to remote working in order to contain the transmission of covid-19, dramatically changing how we work. Work from Home has become all-important because it allows companies to keep the show running while keeping employees protected. It is also more productive because even if employees return to workplaces there will be an extreme set of regulations in place to prevent transmission.
WFH has become normal and I strongly believe that it is here to stay for the long term. There are so many advantages of remote working - the most obvious is that of saving travel time in large cities like ours. It is just not about the time saved, but the physical and mental stress avoided by staying out of the noisy and dusty Indian roads - that itself can add significant percentage points in terms of increased productivity of employees. The employee is fresh when he starts at 9.30 then the haggled scene when he comes in navigating the traffic. Similarly, at the end of the day, his experience is better allowing him to deliver more eventually. Many have said that with WFH they end up working more hours but from the organization's point of view, it is increased productivity. Then there is the aspect of lowered office costs for the organization - with a WFH or even a rostered approach to working from the office, the real estate requirements can easily go down. I personally know companies that have given up floors of office space and moved people to a permanent WFH. The cost savings and hence increased profitability for the organization is a big bonus.
Related to this we will see spending increasing in relation to access devices, connectivity, and secured access, as most companies even if they want to ensure WFH will have employees working from desktops and workstations in their office - so until they are equipped with laptops, the move cannot happen.