Covid-19 Digital Disruption Positioned Remote Work and WFH as The New Strategy

Employee working from home

Businesses are passionate about adopting digitalization strategies to achieve workplace automation and achieve total digital workplace transformation. But are indecisive when it comes to implementation and the operating models are never completely remote or digital. This is due to a sense of apprehension about workforce productivity and upholding organization culture and morale in the digital environment. For this reason, companies are spending on luxurious workspaces to enable employees to have all facilities to work better and deliver better productivity and elevate the organization’s culture. Despite all these efforts, results are not as expected and for this reason, discussions on remote work, work for home (WFH) and virtual workspace have rested in the board meetings miscellaneous to-do list.

The Covid-19 outbreak took the entire world by storm and forced locked down of people across the globe has raised panic among business circles on their survival. Left with no option, businesses started to operate their business virtually and provide remote work or work from home options. As businesses are not prepared for this, businesses went panic on “how to handle business activities digitally or virtually.

We are Digital, Still, We Have a Hard Time in Adjusting to Digital Workplace Culture!

Businesses are busy and successful in developing and selling digital connectivity technologies and solutions, instead of realizing or implementing the same within their organization to establish a digital culture. Most presumed investing in the digital workplace isn’t profitable money, time, and resources. But, using the same to serve clients would bring profits to the business.

On the other hand, companies who spent on digital and automation technologies to make their business operations effectively also failed due to lack of strategy. Despite having tools in place, the impact and results are not perceived.

The dearth of the organization’s workplace culture is another reason for the failure of the digital workplace journey. To understand this better consider a scenario, where HR automation solutions presenting company never provide quality HR portal to its employees but does a great job to clients. By doing so, businesses are sending a wrong message and establishing a negative culture within the organization.

When culture is not set, how can the workforce follow the culture representing the company and the same in applications they develop. This is the reason why businesses since ages only speak about employee engagement and satisfaction but never achieve it in any means. This is the reason research reveals employee satisfaction is never achieved beyond 60%. These notions left some businesses, to panic in digital workplace adoption and others to collapse for not able to manage the crisis.

Workforce Redefined and Empowered Workplace Operational Model During Covid-19

Deloitte’s Future of Work accelerated report states that “55% of CXOs agreed their IT infrastructure (availability of hardware, internet, and remote access) fell short of facilitating a smooth transition to remote working”. Unlike businesses, the workforce has not taken much time to settle with drastic changes and to deliver productivity. Furthermore, business leaders observed that the workforce working hours and work efficiency have increased manifolds, which were not achieved by any sort of corporate employee engagement and efficiency-enhancing training sessions.

One main reason for the increase in productivity is the work-life balance, which employees couldn’t achieve in their busy schedules and traveling time to and from office. Though this looks very primitive reason, this increased morale of employees with family support.

Today, there are 4.7 million Americans working remotely, or 3.4% of the population—that’s up from 3.9 million U.S. workers in 2015. – Forbes

During Covid-19 crisis, overwhelmed by spirit displayed by the workforce to accustom to the digital workplace environment and achieve greater work productivity and quality of by extending the number of working hours, TCS finally scrapped its legacy workforce operating model and declared that “75% of 4.5 lakh TCS employees to permanently work from home by ’25; from 20%”.  Like TCS, more companies are started to look out for the adoption of Remote work strategy adoption to boost work productivity.

Twitter chief executive officer Jack Dorsey, asked employees to continue work from home forever, even after coronavirus. Confirming news regarding work from home Twitter spokesperson stated to Buzzfeed that “We’ve been very thoughtful in how we’ve approached this from the time we were one of the first companies to move to a work-from-home model”.

Even  Jacquelline Fuller, head of Google.org, stated: “If we can work remotely and work from home, and help take some of the pressure off and flatten the curve, we will do that. We will be using science to guide us in our decision making.” So far Google and Facebook planned to continue fully work from home policies through 2021.

Top MNC’s like Twitter and TCS going work from home or remote work clearly projects that fact that Work From Home and Remote Work evolved as the strategy businesses can’t afford to miss out.

How Organizations Can Cope Up with Digital Workplace Operational Model

  • To achieve digital workplace culture, sustain organization culture and improve employee engagement and satisfaction, the only formula is: “Be the change you wish to see outside”.
  • First, companies should realize that “EMPLOYEE IS YOUR KEY COMPETITIVE EDGE” and should treat employee experience as important as client satisfaction and engagement.
  • Deploy digital workplace automation solutions. This would avoid the repetitive tasks which keep employees waiting for some information or some request to be fixed.
  • Invest in “Digital collaboration platforms”, that enhance the organization-employee communication. This helps organizations not make employees disengaged. Prefer to have solutions like chatbots or mobile or portal to offer services and stay connected 24/7 with the employee. Microsoft reported that “775%  increase in Cloud Services, Microsoft teams has a daily record of 2.7 billion meeting minutes in one day, a 200 percent increase from 900 million on March 16.”

Conclusion

Finally, Coronavirus or Covid-19 disrupted all the existing operating models and positioned Remote work or Work From Home as the biggest strategy to attain workforce productivity. Even before this pandemic, some companies made some divisions do complete work from home and had great results.    Harvard Business Review reports that “since 1991 AT&T had savings of $550 million in cash flow and a 30% improvement in employee performance with remote work. IBM is saved more than $100 million annually in its North America sales and distribution unit alone.” As it is not possible to 100% work from home on all projects, like IBM, companies can permit some projects or some divisions to work from home. This way companies achieve cost optimization and savings.

Those who see this as the opportunity will make it to top the future. Especially Small and Medium scale Businesses (SMBs) have great opportunities, as they can divert their budgets to the digital workspace or digital office space and invest in talent acquisition or collaboration tools. Moreover, remote work can empower employees and reduce employee turnover too, as employees can have a better work-life balance.

Already international financial institutions are indicating the occurrence of economic crisis. So, even during that period work from home and remote work can be a key strategy to do cost optimizations.

References

  • https://www.businesstoday.in/current/corporate/coronavirus-lockdown-work-from-home-boosted-employee-productivity-in-customer-service-finance-segments-says-deloitte-survey/story/402411.html
  • https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/in/Documents/human-capital/in-consulting-accelerated-hc-consulting-noexp.pdf
  • https://www.businesstoday.in/current/corporate/post-coronavirus-75-percent-of-3-5-lakh-tcs-employees-permanently-work-from-home-up-from-20-percent/story/401981.html
  • https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2020/03/29/microsoft-775-increase-in-cloud-services-44-million-daily-teams-users-900-million-meeting-minutes-weekly/#28f8f47c7953

 

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Chitti Sandhya

I agree with whatever stated above by you but the hardest part is to accept that due to work from home, many people become unemployed having skills in same field of technology as most of the companies have agreed that .WFH has led to vast increased productivity but quality is equally important where WFH can be encouraged while allocating the work which can be equally distributed among the people providing opportunities for the upcoming future

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