So, COVID. We know what you’re thinking — not this again! But it’s hard to ignore the aftereffects of the most life-altering event of the 21st century’s second decade. It has affected millions of lives worldwide, on an individual level and in how the world operates. So, yes, COVID again becomes a talking point for the digital transformation that gripped the globe in the early months of 2020, with long-term consequences.
Going online, in fact, was the biggest and most immediate result of the shelter-in-place directions set forth by governments. Routines changed as professionals commandeered a desk at home. And tried to assemble their lives into a semblance of normalcy while sitting in front of laptops and iMacs. Zoom, Google Meet, and Teams became the lifeline of companies. In the almost two-and-a-half years that have since passed, these meeting and communicating technologies still exert their influence with the hybrid work models adopted by several businesses. According to a survey conducted by McKinsey, as early as October 2020, the pandemic had accelerated an already fast-paced digital transformation by several years, and hybrid work models played, and continue to play, a dominating role in this process.
Hybrid Working and the Digital Scape
The initiation of the aptly titled hybrid work models happened as the tight grip of the pandemic loosened — and these models have caught on. This has given rise to questions about establishing communication networks among colleagues and employers who are at different locations. That, in turn, has radically enhanced the role of technology.
Companies and organizations today are navigating uncharted territory. This upends traditional notions of the office and its relationship to work is clear. The possibility of remote working being successful was proven during the long pandemic-struck months. A 2022 Pew Research Center Survey showed that 59 percent of US workers believe their job can be done from home.
How are Companies Transforming Digitally
The fact that there has been a change in the way employees understand being at work has necessitated a change in the way organizations structure their systems, making them more conducive to this new normal. Central to achieving that is ramping up their digital processes, embracing the need to migrate to a digital way of working and creating more efficient and seamless systems that benefit people.
The focus is entirely on digitally transforming how organizations function, including learning about software and programs that can enable companies to build robust remote/hybrid working models. This, in turn, requires employers to hire tech-savvy talent who can work the back end and get systems up and running. That, or upgrade the knowledge and skill set of their existing workforce. The drive to innovate in search of technologies will, by default, become second nature to an organization that goes hybrid to stay on top of the competition and adapt to a changing world.
However, it is also important to consider the human element in the rush to go digital. How businesses build efficient, productive, and happy employees depends largely on how the technology and human factor is harnessed. Just building a state-of-the-art digital system that allows for seamless remote working and a faultless communication network is not enough. For a company’s hybrid work model to succeed, mutual trust is crucial. Foster that and an environment of reliance and responsibility, and it becomes easier to harness the advantages of turning to a hybrid work model.
Advantages of Working Hybrid Work Models
- Such a model, if implemented correctly, offers a cost-saving benefit to companies by allowing organizations’ HR departments to focus on skill and have the freedom to find a skilled professional anywhere in the world
- It is efficient and speedy and allows the organization to cast a wider net regarding recruitment
- Organizations can hire people from different countries if they adopt remote working. That, in turn, helps companies diversify their workforce
- Mediums of communication are important to the success of hybrid work models. This has led companies to build a digital infrastructure that is seamless and effective, adopting technologies sooner than one would have anticipated. This further fuels innovation in tech
- Cloud data storage and training employees in the tools to access them are integral to this kind of model
Here’s the bottom line, though: a clear competitive advantage. The quicker a company adapts digital infrastructure, the more of an edge it will have over others slower to do so.
Remote Working and the Benefits of Digitalization
The proliferation of remote and hybrid working models being the drivers for companies to build digitally strong and efficient infrastructure is unquestionable. However, this is a two-way street because the benefits accrued by remote working professionals, courtesy of digital transformations of their organization, are clear. There’s a reason why professionals get behind the work-from-home format, and it has very little to do with being lazy.
The development of communication software makes it possible to sit in any corner of the world and join virtual meetings at the other end. The COVID lockdowns attested to the benefits of virtual video conferencing, allowing people to find reprieves away from cities without losing out on a job.
Document sharing is easier, effortless, and also takes up less time. Everyone who needs access to a particular document can conveniently use it, for example, Google Drive. Cloud-based technologies are a touch more practical than reams of files and papers stashed on shelves in offices.
For employers, too, remote working doesn’t immediately translate into a fear of your people slacking off or sleeping on the job. The availability of time-tracking software can help ensure transparency, foster trust, and allow employers to rest easy.
Another considerable advantage of digitization — and one that will make employers as happy as employees — is the ability to focus more on high-value aspects of the job. Since digitalization can take care of the daily rigmarole of process management, creating workflows, or other monotonous features that are integral to office work, skilled workers will find it easier to concentrate on the strategic thinking parts of their job.
Diving into a Digital World
Are you adequately convinced about the value of hybrid work models in accelerating digital transformation? The best way to be prepared to welcome the change is to know more about it. This six-week course handcrafted by Emeritus and Standford offers an insightful look into digital transformation. Includes its values, key enablers, and a case study of Volkswagen. The Digital Transformation Playbook course by Stanford School of Business covers aspects of the digital landscape. This includes data, cloud services, and data analytics to artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation.
The idea is to help learners think strategically, lead the digital change in your organization, or be integral team members. And also identify the most appropriate technologies that should be implemented. Furthermore, it will help effective communication with specialists from the technological field. You could be a business leader looking to foster a digital culture in your organization. Alternatively, you could be a department head, or in a managerial role looking to implement digital strategies. Or you could be someone simply exploring growth opportunities. Whatever your role, this course is sure to help you scale up the digital processes in your organization.
The digital world is here to stay, as are hybrid work models, which will further spur the digital cause. Just how much of a running start you get into this new space is entirely up to you.
By Gauri Kelkar
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