COVID- 19 has set the trend of organisations introducing a work from home policy more or less on a long term basis.
We are currently witnessing a digital metamorphosis of the workplace and the pandemic has proved, from the way we communicate and collaborate with employees, that the workplace has rapidly changed and is evolving every day.
This has also given rise to workplace wellness as companies as well as the owners of commercial spaces are becoming aware of the role of the office environment in attracting tenants and talent.
It has prompted occupiers to accelerate the implementation of wellness measures in their workplaces while introducing additional hygiene and health-related steps.
As the lines between work and life continue to blur, offices aren’t just where people go to get their work done. In today’s digital world, employees/colleagues are creating a workplace that connects them and anchors the brand.
Below are the five key trends where organisations will play a significant role amidst COVID-19:
Empowering the women workforce
The pandemic has created lucrative work opportunities for women. Remote working is the biggest transformation that COVID-19 has brought in. Before the pandemic, work-from-home was a rare freebie that the businesses offered.
The flexibility of working remotely is seen to help a big number of women join the workforce. Female representation across industries has risen during the lockdown and continues to rise. One possible reason for this is often the support from family and also as more flexible working hours, which has allowed more women to enter the workforce despite family responsibilities.
Many talented women can now make a comeback as a number of companies are considering more work from home models.
The lockdown has promoted acceptance of the work from home concept supported by flexible work hours have emerged as a chance for women to rebuild careers and begin afresh.
WFH might be more beneficial for women also as for organisations within the end of the day because it could help companies retain deserving and aspiring women.
Enabling choice of location
The ability to work remotely, maybe forever, has some workers reconsidering where they’ve chosen to live. The coronavirus has accelerated the adoption, investment, and proliferation of remote work and virtual learning while transforming the workplace and business culture in various ways.
Also read: What your workplace will look like in a post-COVID-19
Millions are performing from home since the lockdown began and a few companies have said employees can do so permanently. HR professionals believe remote work will still grow whilst the pandemic subsides. Massive global corporations across the country are either going completely or partially remote.
A survey conducted by the research firm Gartner reported that 75 per cent of respondents decide to increase the amount of permanent remote employees.
For the talent acquisition team, dedicating to an entire remote workforce is that the talent pool would be much broader than what might be found within a particular geographical area round the office.
It broadens the candidate pool for employers, who might search for specific candidates who can inspire remote teams.
Rationalising set-up costs
As employees continue to work remotely and revenues decline due to reduced operations in a nearly six-month long lockdown, offices have started to vacate leased spaces. Many companies are being forced to close offices.
To save upon costs, the businesses are now lowering on one among the main fixed charge components — real estate. To that extent, work from home is expected to become a permanent feature in the near future. Other than employee salaries, real estate is the biggest recurring expense for any company.
Managements have realised that employment from home is an easily workable solution and thus office spaces are one area where costs might be cut.
Several other companies are either deferring new leases, or shrinking the size of leased properties, while working on plans to have more employees continue working from home even after the lockdown is lifted. Most firms are even considering moving a part of their businesses from prime locations to less expensive locations.
Not just that, it is changing attitudes on the role of the office .Before the pandemic, the conventional wisdom had been that offices were critical to productivity, culture, and winning the war for talent. Companies competed intensely for prime office space in major urban centres round the world, and lots focused on solutions that were seen to market collaboration.
During the pandemic the quick and effective adoption of technologies like video conferencing and other sorts of digital collaboration has really been a pleasant surprise. For many, the results have been better than imagined.
Harnessing improved talent pools
During this uncertain time of layoffs where many employees have lost their jobs on one hand and many companies have been hiring a lot of talent. It looks like an opportunity to a lot of companies to hire the best of the talent with experience and qualifications.
Also read: Workbean: Empowering the workplace in the time of COVID
Recruiters also say that more offshoring due to less travel in the coming months would ensure hiring in India receives a boost.
Deploying tech-based initiatives
Employee engagements have taken a serious turn in these COVID times where every organisation has taken it seriously and is organising virtual meetings, get together, up-skilling courses, encouraging the use of fitness apps and dance tutorial apps which have been in huge demand as a part of employee engagement activities.
From supporting employees, introducing flexibility and utilising technology to providing a better work-life balance, changing attitudes towards employee wellness everything will have a major impact on the workplace and the facilities and services it provides. The way people will interact with their built environment is going to see a major shift.
For brands, it becomes essential that they shift from merely being a space provider to creating experience and community, and offer an inviting atmosphere that fosters collaboration, creativity & productivity.
Organisations must recognise the need to create rich, diverse and dynamic workplace and places to work that inspire the next generation to enjoy life and perform their best.
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