Remote working, distributed workforces as the ‘new normal’ in the wake of pandemic: Debprotim Roy

To sustain relationships at a distance we need to make a conscious effort to talk more to each other as communication is the viscera of remote relationships writes Debprotim Roy, Founder and CEO, Canvs.


Coronavirus outbreak has forced organizations to remote working very quickly. As the lockdown eases, employees prefer to work from home. It won’t be simple return to work. Employers will need to plan to incorporate physical distancing into their workspaces, only limited staff and implement employee health monitoring systems. With remote working platforms seeing a huge spike in demand, this period will serve as a reckoning for remote work in general and enhance the company’s technology and communication platforms to accommodate employees who continue to work remotely. The new normal will be a hybrid of working from home and working in physical work locations or some organizations will go completely remote, because we have learned so much and there’s so much muscle around working remotely.

One should understand the implementation of remote working is broader and deeper than most organizations realize. As enterprises, government and small and medium size businesses learn to adjust to the new normal, organizations are building strategies to leverage partners to supplement provision and capacity to ensure robust remote working environments. We are going to see a much more distributed workforce. The entire employee experience will need to be as effective digitally or in a distributed new world as it would be in person.

In order to maintain the productivity, a structural adoption of remote working is must. Organizations need to keep their businesses running smoothly till things return to normalcy. And, as they do that they need to plan for continued growth, resilience, stability and security. Enhancing productivity through remote working brings several obstacles in times of crisis. Several companies had been operating with centralized infrastructure and tools available before the crisis but are now realizing that it is not enough to simply provide the employees with the necessary infrastructure and tools. Tools are important but a successful migration also requires leadership, clear guidelines and commitment to deliver the work. This should not be taken lightly, as several cases of cybercrime have increased during the outbreak. While technology involved is a crucial medium for remote working, the biggest challenge is that there was no preparation for this drastic shift to a digital way of working. Imbibing such work culture also requires commitment from each and every employee.

The topic of balancing of work and private lives of employees also needs to be addressed effectively with remote working becoming the new normal. Through the immediate introduction of homeworking, employees are experiencing a thin line between their work and private life. Therefore, actively investing in your employees’ well-being becomes an added responsibility for organizations.

Productive remote working heavily depends on the willingness to work, ability to manage tasks virtually, organizational skills, proactive communication chops, interpersonal skills, among a few other factors. If you don’t check most of these boxes, remote work is going to be tough for you.

Today most individuals are being forced to work remotely from home and are facing challenges that crop up due to a lack of a super formal construct around work. There are quite some people around the world who have perfected the nuances of remote work, and there’s much to learn from them. Although everyone feels thrown into a situation of social distancing, it’s not too hard to forget how much we have pined for healthy personal time and space just a couple of months ago. Remote work allows you to work from anywhere which is a great middle ground. These trying times shall make us understand the importance of upholding the spirit of humanity, helping each other during need and perhaps make a paradigm shift in the work culture

Remote working has worked impeccably for a large number of organizations. On one hand they have successfully benefitted from the remote working model but on the other hand there are still some firms that are struggling to avail its benefits. Some of the key steps that should be taken to achieve efficiency in this model are -

· First and foremost, a system in place with set protocols for all individuals

· Effective modes of communication with advanced communication tools.

· Silted collaboration by allocating individual responsibilities within teams.

· Promote proactive communication through effective execution of communication tools.

· Get updates and work summary to varied communication tools.

The ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ adage, physical separation and mental detachment meet midway in a compromise through constant communication. To sustain relationships at a distance we consciously make an effort to talk more to each other. When we work remotely we do exactly that. Communication is the viscera of remote relationships. In that, the frequency of communication is a very important aspect. Tying your workspace with products leads to an inundation of notification streams. Staying in sync with people at work leads to perpetual and continuous communications since to compensate for the lack of face time.

Ultimately, the current scenario might act as a catalyst for employers to allow more flexible working in future, given they will have adapted their capabilities to enable this now. In that environment, we could see the rise of the un-bossed organization, where companies place more clear trust in the employees and distribute decision making.

Organizations will look at what they learned during the pandemic, focus in on its values and purposes and determine what skills and capabilities it needs to thrive in the post-coronavirus world. At the same time, we need to maintain all of that newfound crisis response capability, because we will likely be facing the second and potentially the third wave before the vaccine is developed.

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