The concept of flexible working, which was earlier reserved for digital nomads, has become a part of the “new normal’ and companies need to create an ecosystem to facilitate the same.
As I watched the Matrix Resurrection recently, the one scene that stayed with me is when Neo is sitting idly in a café with and says, “This is the most fun I have had in a long time.”
As one of the greatest movie characters of all time and having done many cool things, one would think that sitting idle is perhaps the most vanilla thing in his life, and yet he sits there and basks as if it were a red carpet. The scene is one of the biggest onscreen encores of what we all feel post-pandemic times. 50 percent of the global workforce has experienced burnout and is now seeking to redraw the boundaries of work and life prioritization. Now is also a significant inflection point for companies across the board to look internally to assess readiness for this new phenomenon, especially in the wake of the fact that 62 percent of the workforce in India intends to switch jobs; this is significantly higher than the global average of 41 percent.
The pandemic has accelerated global digital adoption by several years. More importantly, it has impacted critical aspects such as early retirement, baby boomers and remote work by at least a couple of decades, resulting in a scenario where talent is scarce and almost sacred. We are in an era where an employee may enter and exit the workplace without a single physical interaction. In this scenario companies will rely much more on their communication engine to keep employees engaged and we will see many innovations in this area. Those at the helm need to rethink the entire employee value prop to be better employers and attract the right kind of talent.
In this view, the parameters of a “Great Place to Work” are going to undergo a sea change whereby previous perks such as a swanky office or unlimited food will become increasingly irrelevant. Instead, the focus will shift to 3Cs, whereby Connect, Converse and Compassion will become critical success factors to enhance engagement with the current talent base. Additionally, the focus in hiring will shift from being role-based to skill-based and therefore skilling opportunities within the companies will become critical parameters. The entire learning methodology will also need to be augmented to cater to the hybrid workplace.
Speaking of hybrid, the concept of flexible working, which was earlier reserved for digital nomads, has become a part of the “new normal’ and companies need to create an ecosystem to facilitate the same. Any mandatory policy towards returning to work should be carefully evaluated. 69 percent of the companies are likely to give up their office spaces partially or fully and resort to hot-desk culture. Companies such as Apple, Google, Meta, and many others have already circulated a “Work from Anywhere” policy and are seeing higher levels of engagement. We are now dealing with an agile and gregarious workforce looking for a meaningful engagement with its employer and society at large. They are looking at Purpose and not just the Purse.
We are looking ahead at exciting times towards a workplace of the future and as Neo said in an earlier Matrix, “I Don’t Know The Future. I Didn’t Come Here To Tell You How This Is Going To End. I Came Here To Tell You How It’s Going To Begin.”