Modern workplaces: Making hybrid model work for your business

March 8, 2021 12:15 AM

It holds the answer to the Indian workforce’s diminishing productivity

Leo JosephLeo Joseph

By Leo Joseph

Indian employees have been working remotely for almost a year. Initially, the model worked well, beyond expectations, and even inspired many technology companies to look at it as a permanent model. Many IT companies announced lifelong work from home (WFH), a model that they continue to back. There are pros and cons of everything, and the WFH/ remote working model is no exception.

Recent surveys and reports are showing a decline in productivity from remote working. As normalcy returns and establishments and gatherings of all kinds get approvals, and vaccine trials gain momentum (hopefully with positive results), there is an expectation of returning to the old way of working soon. However, that may not be ideal.

The apt working environment in India lies in a hybrid model – for the employees and the employers. Some organisations have already moved to a hybrid model looking at the gaps in the WFH model. The hybrid work model will likely continue to evolve, spanning the office and remote working.

To better understand the changing working environment, Xerox conducted its Future of Work survey to uncover how IT decision-makers support hybrid working and how businesses plan to move forward as the world begins to reopen. We learned that while there is increased confidence in remote working, 82% of business decision-makers surveyed expect to be back in the office over the next year. In fact, 95% of respondents indicated that in-person, face to face communications was somewhat or a vital cornerstone of work-life and supporting talent management. The most prominent themes we have heard emerge are that people miss their co-workers and the ease of collaborating in person.

And of course, there are the logistical issues. The full working set up in offices such as a quiet, dedicated working space, ergonomic furniture, readily available IT support and the full stack of required peripherals is challenging to fully replicate at home. On average, 92% of respondents miss their printers and their ease of use. Smaller companies especially rely on them as an essential part of everyday work life.

The solution?
Businesses in India need to adapt to the rate of change, anticipate newer working models and account for human interaction. The rapid transition to remote work was difficult for most businesses and revealed technology gaps. Companies need to invest in new technologies to minimise future disruptions and seek added capability from existing tools to accelerate digitisation.

We also anticipate the rise of touchless technologies that will allow employees to use office devices with minimal or no direct physical contact and other solutions that help customers’ social distancing efforts in the work environment.

We’re having conversations with businesses of all sizes about digitising data, securing it in the cloud and automating workflows. While the accelerated tech infusion is Covid-driven, there is also an increased demand for long-term tech solutions from our customers across sectors. These include workflow automation, digitising invoice processing and mail management among most processes and functions ready to be fully digitised.

In a Covid-impacted world, technological investments and advancements and understanding how people connect are necessary for a hybrid working model. The modern workplace will not be solely home or office but an amalgamation of the two.

The writer is managing director, Xerox India

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