The Future Of The Digital Workplace Post COVID-19
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editricon The Future of the Digital Workplace Post COVID-19

Chief Innovation Officer, Altimetrik

This is not for the first time that such a pandemic has happened. However, unlike the past, the current Covid-19 epidemic is in the limelight because we are living in a technology world where information travels at a blazing speed.

 The world won’t be the same again. It will see significant changes in the way we run businesses, live our lives, and interact with each other. This crisis has brought new opportunities and a silent revolution in our way of existence and work.

 Companies are transforming their way of work, management of employees and workplace environment. I draw from my experience of working in an innovative organization that is engaged in the digital transformation of enterprises, to define the attributes of the workplace of the future -;

The Future of the Digital Workplace Post COVID-19

1.      Technology driven Remote Working Model

 The current crisis validated the business continuity plan of the organizations and their readiness. Ever since SARS outbreak in 2002 and Swine Flu in 2009, many companies have successfully tried to implement remote working as their core operating model for years.

 We transitioned to a 100 percent work from home business model in just 18 days for 2500+ employees spread across 15 cities in eight countries. These countries included India, US, Uruguay, Singapore, Japan, Canada, Poland and UAE.

 Besides, co-working spaces, companies can also assist employees in setting up a micro home-office ecosystem at their homes. Technology resources such as laptop, audio-visual device, internet bandwidth, and others can be provided by the employer.

 The bigger question is how the managers would ensure collaboration and measure the productivity of the team members. Companies can deploy collaborative tools and platforms for enabling remote collaboration and work culture. For instance, we have indigenously developed a cloud-based Product Engineering Platform called Playground for remote, collaborative and rapid product engineering operations. This enables virtual teams to collaborate, design and develop software and measure productivity in a unified way.

 Likewise, customer Service can wholly embrace technologies like AI, RPA, automated voice response. Sales and Marketing can adopt digital marketing platforms, remote presentation and interaction tools including Virtual Reality (VR) for trainings, Augmented Reality (AR) for customer demos, and more.  

 2.      Outcome driven Decentralized Management

 The industry needs a massive mindset and cultural shift from being task led to outcome driven. Being outcome driven, makes it less about interpersonal interaction and micro-management. In this scenario, where we work from ceases to matter.

 Just like Cloud Computing where the physical locations of the machines do not matter; what’s important is how it makes anytime, anywhere accessibility possible. Similarly, human resources have to be enabled to work from anywhere with the same level of productivity and engagement.

 3.      Culture and Leadership

 An open and trust based culture can be established through institutionalized and decentralized management model with fully empowered and localized, remote micro-teams. This model can also be extended to HR operations and  performance management frameworks that measure business-linked outcomes.

 Furthermore, managers gain valuable experience as leaders when allowed to operate freely in a true global environment managing diverse teams spread across various geographies.

 4.      Innovation & Tech Community Partnership – 

 Much before the Pandemic we realized the importance of community collaboration and innovation to transform the technology world. We have institutionalized community centers, programs and platforms for innovation such as D-Cult, Ideathon and Collider – a meeting place and innovation hub for technology enthusiasts, software engineers and startups. We run multiple innovation programs and tech community engagement programs with industry delegates, enthusiasts and our employees to collaborate, engage and develop futuristic technology solutions for the world of tomorrow.  

 In conclusion

 Organizations need to learn to manage - how communication, socialization and collaboration happens. Towards, this end, we need to create a dynamic organizational structure of diversified teams spread across locations, enabled by flexible work hours and resources. A static, asset-heavy and bureaucratic organizational structure won’t survive in the digital world of tomorrow.