It will be too early at jump to any conclusion on how work and workplace is going to be a next normal till covid dust is settled, but yes, there are indications which must be understood to decode to see how the business may probably be conducted in future. Circumstances and situations will dictate the future as it has been done at present. Pandemic has compelled the human race to rethink, change and adopt the ways of living, interacting and working. Human and humanitarian challenges posed by this pandemic are to be addressed by business world and society as a whole by changing their way of working and behaviours and keeping the focus on three-core culture, productivity and safety. When it comes to human capital, it would involve collaboration, mentoring and work experience. Suboptimal old habits and process/systems of the past will have to be dispensed with.
It is sure that there would not be any one- size-fits- all solution to the unprecedented situation. Work would change; workplace would be changed and how the work is done, would also be changed. Work will not be same as it was. Re-skilling and up- skilling of people would be required as technology is going to become the foundation of any business in future. Wok profiles will also be changed. Which roles must be carried out in person and to what degree? Further roles can be reclassified in to employee segments. Workplace behaviours would be largely impacted as physical interaction may be eroded to some extent even after covid is over. At present it appears that WFH model will be going to stay permanently to the extent as it is at present but it may not be so. It will come down. It will remain only where it is assessed as necessary. This model is rampant because of compulsions and not otherwise. The moment collaboration, mentoring and work culture comes in as priority areas, it will be reduced.
Workplaces may be re-imagined and re-designed using the pandemic experience and also because it has potential to reduce the fixed costs to much extent. The new model will travel from physical to remote. It also makes business sense but challenge would be to strike a balance between fiscal management and human capital management. Maintaining productivity, collaboration and preserving organization culture would be another challenge. Any change will require transformational thinking without ignoring ground reality.
Oct. 2020 edition cover story is an attempt to understand the intricacies of work and workplace that is going to be the next normal. Industry experts and HR veterans share their ideas with keeping an eye at ground to provide useful insights so that HR professionals keep them ready to work on.
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