Yogita Tulsiani

M.D & Co-founder, iXceed Solutions (Global Tech-Recruiter Provider).

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Points to keep in consideration while working with a hybrid workforce

Not just employees, even companies are also gaining benefits from it as they can save on a lot of costs, including rent, Utilities (electricity, Wi-Fi), maintenance, equipment, furniture, among others

COVID 19 outbreak has revolutionized the working culture. Work from home was a totally alien concept, at least in countries like India where this mode of working was limited to just a fraction of people but it is gradually gelling up with the situation so well that people still opt for this option even when the pandemic is far from over. At the same time, remote working is gaining popularity as well, as this way the workforce, which used to find it tough to find work-life balance, is now able to find time for family, leisure, and other activities. Not just employees, even companies are also gaining benefits from it as they can save on a lot of costs, including rent, Utilities (electricity, Wi-Fi), maintenance, equipment, furniture, among others.

In fact, big giant tech companies such as Google, Amazon, among others have announced plans to continue remote working for their employees post-pandemic. Even hybrid working is also one of those preferred options since it gives the employees the flexibility of working two-three days a week.

This means the trend is likely to gain momentum as it's a win-win situation for all. But does it mean there are no cons in this new style of working? The picture is not rosy at all as there are plenty of challenges both the employers and employees face.

One of the major challenges that businesses face is maintaining employee engagement with a scattered workforce. On the other hand, communicating and collaborating with team members, besides productivity and technological issues. This is just a beginning and there can be many ways to mitigate these issues, here are five key factors to keep in mind while working with a dispersed workforce:

1) Technology -The vital key: Technology can play a key role, use the right tools to maintain efficiency and coordination. Major businesses are dependent on automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, etc. These can help not just with communication, but also with project management and document management. For example, Dropbox, Zoom, google docs, cloud storage, Slack, Hangouts, among other tools could be utilized to keep businesses and employees working remotely on the same page in the communications ecosystem. These tools offer quick communication without any limitation and can help run the daily operations smoothly.

2) Adequate communication: A distributed workforce may be the only way for some businesses but the primary problem for many employees and employers getting accustomed to remote working is smooth coordination. In normal times, people could be called in a conference room for meetings and discussions but they are all happening virtually now, thanks to platforms such as Zoom, Webex, Google Meet, among others.

In everyday work, it gets tough to maintain fine coordination among team members and there can be many reasons for that. Hence, businesses will have to

establish strategies that are suitable in the present circumstances. Businesses will have to connect with their scattered workforce in a different way. Frequent communications can resolve many issues organizations face these days and it's essential for them to maintain face-to-face interactions with employees so that directions can be passed easily and are not misinterpreted.

3) Bridging the gap in tech challenges: Both businesses and their employees are heavily dependent on the latest tech of the day to stay connected so that daily operations can be managed fluidly. However, not all employees are versed with the latest technology or may not have the tech ecosystem at their homes. It becomes important for businesses to ensure that the employees have the right tools to work remotely.

4) Fixed working hours: Organizations should chalk out plans to have defined working hours for employees so that they are not asked to work at unusual timings. This has been one of the primary challenges for employees as they are expected to be available any time of day, which eventually results in disappointment and demotivation for the workforce.

5) Emphasizing feedback with the acknowledgment: Managing communication can be challenging when workers are scattered. Set up a feedback system where employers can assess participation and productivity and provide feedback to the employees. This will prevent any decline in efficiency and productivity, at the same time, help employees share any concerns they may be facing.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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