Redesigning the Post-Pandemic Workplace: A Employee Centric Approach 

Disrupted global market trends during 2020

The sudden changes brought by the pandemic led to millions of people losing their jobs, and organizations had to rapidly adjust to the new reality in hopes of continuing business activities. According to a report by Mckinsey and Company, coronavirus has accelerated numerous existing trends in e-commerce, automation, and especially remote work. The report further suggests that the post-pandemic economy will likely remain heavily reliant on virtual and flexible workplaces, with more and more employees opting to work from home, as COVID-19 has diminished the importance of the physical dimensions of work.

Since the past year, many companies are already planning to move towards flexible workplaces after successful experiences with remote work. A move that will lead to a more dynamic and efficient business environment. 

Despite the quick adaptively and success of flexible workplaces, it is important to keep in mind that organizations must focus on strategies that will allow them to achieve favorable outcomes, continuous agility, and productivity in the long run. When the question of a sustainable method of transforming workplaces comes to mind, employees seem to be the central aspect of success. Hence, visionary leaders are paying more and more attention to their workers, as they have understood that combining the technology and human agendas together is the key to Post-Pandemic success. 

However, progressing towards an employee-centric approach to transform workplaces is only the first step towards planning and implementing an overall digital change strategy. As disruptive change brings along many challenges, businesses must figure out the best methods to address such issues. 

A Digital Strategy in Context of People

Harvard Business Review states that numerous industry experts and researchers recommend that companies must create a flexible digital strategy in the context of people. After the pandemic, change is no longer about introducing new technologies like IoT (internet of things) or AI (Artificial intelligence) in business models or simply up-skilling the workforce. It is about how integrated technologies can interact and connect your employees to their work and how external expertise can be utilized to achieve organizational goals and aspirations. 

Problematic Areas to Keep in Mind

According to a research study conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review, there are a number of issues in different areas of a business that must be addressed to create a sustainable employee-centric digital strategy. 

Reduced external interactions: 

Remote work worked well among colleagues who regularly interacted and worked with one another. However, during the lockdowns, external interactions or serendipitous connections with others reduced significantly, impacting the knowledge-sharing capabilities of organizations.  

Complete Reliance on virtual collaborations: 

Virtual collaborations through tools such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, Slack, and Microsoft Teams have been immensely beneficial for organizations during COVID19. However, they also revealed issues such as poor communication and time management, diminished focus, lack of accountability, and complex task management.

Incorporating Company Culture: 

Establishing and maintaining culture in a virtual setting is difficult, if not impossible. Indirect company culture reminders such as the office design or the way people dress tend to disappear in the digital space. The absence of a strong sense of culture can be a huge problem for organizational uniqueness and can lead to a lack of employee association with a company or a brand. 

The Mentoring and Coaching of New Employees: 

The MIT Sloan Management Review study also revealed that new and young employees receive far less mentoring in a remote work environment. This issue can reduced skill development and can also affect productivity in the long run. 

Suggested Solutions

1. Flexibility is Key: 

Successful leaders understand that there is no fixed method of success. Everything, including company plans and strategies, must be adaptable to rapid change. Experts suggest that complete dependency on virtual workplaces is inefficient. Hence, they should be designed to support organizational nimbleness, incorporating the best elements of the virtual and physical work environment. When employees are given the option to work from home and from the office, they are more likely to do individualistic tasks at home while making an effort to come to the office to engage in tasks that require in-person interactions. 

2. Continue to experiment with the virtual work setting: 

Businesses must continue to explore the range of opportunities that the digital space can provide. More importantly, the structure of virtual work is likely to change when companies start to integrate it with physical work. There is also a plethora of digital tools and platforms that are available to improve collaboration and productivity. Companies should use these tools to create new ways to work and interact with their employees.

Depending on a Contingent Workforce: A Contingent Workforce is a labour pool consisting of freelancers, independent contractors, and consultants who are not full-time employees. Such workers are mostly hired on an ad-hoc basis and usually work remotely or on-site. A study from Harvard Business School states that global businesses are becoming extremely sophisticated about identifying talent to create value from ideas, skills, innovation, and research. As the remote work dynamic continues to grow, an increasing number of organizations now recognize the need for skilled experts with fresh external perspectives on top of their internal employees to enhance productivity, agility, and innovation.

This final suggested solution is becoming one of the most important elements of success and change management for businesses worldwide. Although it requires great management efforts, a Contingent Workforce approach encourages diversity and knowledge sharing through the inflow of external resources and insights. 

Combining external expertise with full-time internal employees while incorporating the latest technologies to better connect and design flexible workplaces is the best people-centric approach companies can adopt. 

Furthermore, to reduce the burden of human capital management, Forbes Magazine states that leading organizations are rapidly adopting the use of digital marketplaces. As online platforms not only provide access to specialized, talented experts with a wide range of industry experiences, but they also make the selection and onboarding processes a lot faster and reliable.

Digital marketplaces like ConsultXperts are also continuously evolving, optimizing, and utilizing the latest technologies to create value for businesses. Currently, platforms are incorporating the newest search technologies and artificial intelligence to provide a full spectrum of activities. They have become responsible for recruitment to talent management, onboarding procedures and compensation to engagement, team formations, and even performance feedbacks. 

At ConsultXperts, we understand the increasing complexities of conducting business activities and hence provide all the required services to swiftly assimilate external talent within businesses so they can achieve their long-term goals and follow an employee-centric strategy to redesign their workspaces. 

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Author Since: May 7, 2020

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