Restructuring the 4Ts in the post-pandemic workplace

The pandemic has changed the workplace forever. In times to come, more organisations will adopt the hybrid model, which will transform the four most crucial elements of the modern workplace: talent, technology, training, and trust.
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Before COVID-19, long-drawn debates and research could not bring the corporate world to a consensus on the best approach to work. Advocates of the on-site work culture were reluctant to accept the viability of remote and hybrid modes of working.

However, the unprecedented nature of the pandemic and its consequences have made all organisations rethink the relevance of proximity, presence, and physical interactions at the workplace.

The pandemic unfolded a series of unique challenges in the professional realm. As organisations tried to keep up with rapid changes in human resource policies, the hybrid model emerged as a natural choice for both employers and employees.

The Accenture Future of Work Study 2021 suggests that 83 percent of employees prefer the hybrid work model, and more than 63 percent of high-growth companies have already adopted a “productivity anywhere” model for their workforce.

These numbers reaffirm the belief that flexibility is a significant determinant of success. However, the hybrid model will transform the four most crucial elements of the modern workplace: talent, technology, training, and trust.

Talent: Finding the right candidate will be easier

The convergence of technology, awareness, and geographic flexibility has opened the possibilities for talent beyond boundaries. Further, the operational flexibility of employees having the discretion to choose how, where, and when they wish to work to provide optimal results has become a crucial talent attraction tool.

It broadens options to hire the right talent for every requirement without geographic barriers.

Remote work has become a prominent tool for companies to diversify their teams. As these organisations come to terms with remote work, they are developing new programmes and initiatives for diversity and inclusion.

Women, especially mothers and caregivers, who found it challenging to work on-site now have the opportunity to take advantage of the hybrid model.

Employers will also need to rethink the employee experience to empower their people to thrive in the new flexible work world. The traditional approach towards recruitment, onboarding and retirement must be replaced by a more modern process suitable for the hybrid model.

While an ideal balance between the traditional way of working and the hybrid environment is yet to be achieved, the workforce is dealing with extended work hours and virtual meeting fatigue.

Redesigning workplace policies to strengthen team engagement while encouraging self-care is the need of the hour. Leaders should leverage technology and use creative solutions to help employees combat these difficulties. 

Technology: Seamless hybrid connection and collaboration

Organisations have been adopting new technology with a focus on producing transformational business outcomes. While most progressive companies had already transitioned from traditional tools to modern equipment, the rest opted for it as a result of the pandemic.

According to research by IBM, the global mobile workforce is expected to reach 1.87 billion workers by the end of 2021. The uninterrupted performance of this massive human resource depends on seamless hybrid connections. 

Cloud telephony, AI, and other advanced digital tools can empower the hybrid workforce to achieve better results. As hybrid meetings become commonplace, large conference rooms are changing to smaller virtual meeting rooms equipped with tools that allow remote team members to join.

Another international study revealed that organisations that adopt digital tools for an untethered workforce witnessed a 67 percent increase in productivity, a 53 percent increase in employee engagement, and 43 percent revenue growth.

Training: Upskilling and reskilling the workforce

In a hybrid workplace, skilling programmes may take place in person or virtually. In both cases, organisations need to ensure that employees have ample opportunity to ask questions during the session, especially when they are introduced to new technology. 

The pandemic brought abrupt and swift changes in workplace requirements. Upskilling and reskilling have become necessary to build and retain one’s competitive advantage and resilience. Organisations need to make these an essential part of their transformed social contract.

They will have to design a multifaceted training module as the hybrid model is not limited to the ability to use modern technology.

Training strategies should focus on improving critical digital and cognitive capabilities, social and emotional skills, and adaptability and resilience. 

Trust: To fuel the hybrid model’s success

Trust was always a decisive force in the workplace but today it has become pivotal. In a hybrid workplace, it affects almost every decision made by employees and managers. A recent report on future work culture trends reveals that a work culture of trust is the core building block for the new hybrid working paradigm.

Unlike on-site work, the hybrid model requires managers to rely on the decision-making abilities of their team members. 

Trust is a motivating factor that instils confidence in employees and drives them to perform assigned tasks. Organisations that encourage a trust-based ecosystem foster an empowered team that can continue working transparently and authentically.

Furthermore, when employees feel trusted, they are more empathetic towards their organisation and contribute with maximum efficiency. 

A fundamental remodelling of the work culture is required for a seamless transition into the hybrid model. The leadership needs to act quickly to adopt and adapt to the hybrid model, which has been rightly called the future of work. 

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)