Gone are the days when nine to five used to be standard working hours. With Covid-19 changing the shape of the way we live, and work from home (WFH) becoming our new normal, the boundary between professional and personal is quickly disintegrating. And in time, it may dissolve completely. Because several top companies like TCS, Accenture, Facebook, Twitter and Skillshare have announced that remote work will continue to be the norm for the majority of their employees even after the pandemic is over.
So does this mean that the IT parks in Coimbatore and Chennai need to shut up shop forever? Well, not quite. Instead of creating a stark divide between remote and in-person work, a hybrid model of business seems to be the best way forward. Since a hybrid office will allow a large part of the workforce to log-in remotely, or come together only on specific days, companies can save a huge amount of rent (and employees save a large chunk of conveyance expenses) by renting smaller spaces or opting for a business center. Not just that, this will help companies bank on the comfort and convenience of WFH set-ups without compromising on the collaboration and belongingness that comes from sharing an office space. So here are some ways hybrid offices could change the way you work moving forward:
Neat freaks, you’re going to like this one. If you’ve always hated the clutter from your coworker’s desk spilling over onto your space, you’ll be happy to know that socially distanced cubicles and desks are going to be characteristic of the new range of workplaces. If your company is one that doesn’t want everyone going remote, or asks you to visit the office a few days in a week, you’ll find that you have a lot more space to yourself as you work.
If your workplace is going hybrid, you’re going to have a whole range of choices you never had before. Which days of the week you want to work from home, how often you want to come to office, which meetings to schedule virtually and which ones require a boardroom – all this and more is going to come into your purview. For people who’ve always wanted to have more control over their schedules, this is a real boon. Especially if you’re tired of the hierarchical nature of traditional office space, a hybrid office will allow you to give value to your own time, not just your employers’.
Forget your personal desk with your quirky mousepad and family photo. In the post-pandemic world, your organisation is probably going to shift to the hot desk mode. That’s the system where desks are used by different people at different points of time, on an ad-hoc basis. This could mean sharing devices and equipment (provided there are no security or hygiene issues) or could require you to bring all your gadgets (and your coffee cup) with you, everytime you come to work. But hot-desking isn’t the only possibility. If your organisation is really future-ready, it might do away with desks altogether. In such a case, your company will save a lot of rent on office space, and can put that towards renting meeting rooms or conference halls based on requirement. That means you can skip that long commute on a daily basis and only travel for your team meetings.
Here’s some good news for the tech startups in Chennai. Hybrid workspaces are going to rely on the best of the digital and personal. And while we’ve all become very familiar with video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams, offices are going to need better digital equipment to coordinate between their in-person and remote workforce. Whether it’s through professional video broadcasting cameras and microphones, better compression tools and recording facilities or new HR apps that facilitate standardized systems for employees in or out of the office, technology and digital solutions are going to be what most offices rely on.
And those are some ways in which hybrid offices could change your work life and professional relationships. We’re super stoked to see how elements like increased flexibility and technological innovation can change our office experience for the better. After all, the future is now.
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