New Normal: Flexibility at work is the future

November 26, 2020 1:15 AM

Flexible workspaces can help with the office-like atmosphere while avoiding commute time and overcrowded office spaces

Flexible workspaces, located around the city and close to home, can help with the office-like atmosphere while avoiding commute time and overcrowded office spaces, said Priti Shetty.

By Priti Shetty

The pandemic has forced us to catapult into the future. A contactless, digitised, flexible, and agile tomorrow. Who knew it would happen so quickly? Moving towards flexible workspace solutions is an integral part of the future state of business.

Our community team at WeWork India is working to help our members transition from working from home to returning to our spaces, bursting with warmth, colour, light and creativity, with options to work near home (WNH). Our members are discovering that flexible and hybrid work models are providing them the perfect balance while retaining their routine, company culture, and with the benefits of a safe, hygienic and secure working environment.

Disrupted routines
As we emerge from the pandemic, we must aim to challenge the new normal and find a happy medium. One that restores balance, boundaries between work and home, human connection, and creativity. Flexible workspaces, located around the city and close to home, can help with the office-like atmosphere while avoiding commute time and overcrowded office spaces.

False sense of productivity
In these times, some of us may have felt we are more productive than ever, especially as we have found ourselves unable to disconnect from work until odd hours of the morning and night. Maintaining clear boundaries and making time for our wellness or family routine in the middle of a long working day, requires deep resolve, clear communication, empathy and trust from co-workers and this is not the state
of “utopia” that most organisations are
operating in.

Workforce burnout
Now that India is entering its ninth month of work from home, studies show that more than two thirds of the workforce is experiencing burnout. The health of the workforce, and productivity for business is seriously being compromised. While anxiety, depression, and weakened immune systems have been extensively researched as having devastating effects on our lives, one big challenge has now come to the
fore: the pandemic has become the loneliness epidemic.

Community and the benefits
Businesses have had to restructure communication and familiarise themselves with digital avenues. Those who have mastered digital communication with their employees have found that it does not convincingly translate the passion of working towards a common mission. As we work from home, in isolation, communication bottlenecks or challenges to appreciate each individual’s context are undeniable. Miscommunication may lead to unclear briefs, multiple iterations, and unresolved conflict. We then tend to focus more on ourselves then our team and community, an unhealthy way to engage with our colleagues or build a team for the long term.

When we reflect back on 2020, it will be remembered as a year that forced us to grow, change, and evolve with our environment. It also taught us a lesson – our environment can change at any time; will we be ready to change with it? Flexible workspaces offering “space as a service” will cater to businesses for attracting, retaining, and engaging with highly skilled employees and making sure their people stay happy, productive and propel the business forward.

(The writer is Head of People, WeWork India)

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