Covid added flexibility, collaboration to workplace productivity: Experts

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While the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the way organizations worked, it led to the inclusion of flexibility and collaboration, besides productivity, in a world where there is remote and physical work, experts said here.

The last few months completely changed where, when, and how we work. The pandemic necessitated the need to empower employees to thrive in a hybrid environment and maintain the balance between productivity and flexibility, the experts discussed at Microsoft’s second edition of a curated dialogue series with industry experts on ‘The Future of Work’, late on Tuesday.

Today work is not about productivity and output alone. It is also about flexibility and collaboration and how are you being able to create effectiveness in a world where there is remote and physical work. So, we are thinking about the new ways in which digital technology can truly empower today’s workforce and help them deal with what we call, ‘the hybrid work paradox’,” – Ira Gupta, Head of Human Resources, Microsoft India.

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According to the Microsoft Work Trend Index survey, 74 percent of employees in India want flexible remote work options. At the same time, 73 percent of employees also want more in-person work or collaboration.

The experts also highlighted the role of technology in driving collaboration, inclusion, accessibility, and engagement in a hybrid workspace.

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“Technology has been the single most significant enabler of work during the pandemic and will have a defining role in the future of work. Flexible working arrangements have come to stay. It is also clear that there is no one-size-fits-all. Remote working and hybrid working have different nuances, and their success depends on how you make it work,” said Saurabh Govil, President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Wipro.

Gupta noted that a hybrid environment has made it a lot easier for women to join work from breaks and for people with disabilities.

“Inclusion is a very big part of our culture, and we are conscious about designing technology from the very inception to be more accessible and disability friendly. The pandemic has increasingly inspired us to start thinking about the advantages that hybrid work has provided but also made us more sensitive to the challenges,” she said.

However, amidst all these changes, it is important to ensure that the new working models do not impact the organizational culture, the experts said.

“It is fundamental to equip people for the future and for career paths focused on building skills and experiences, which may not be linear,” said Anuradha Razdan, Executive Director, HR, HUL & VP HR Unilever South Asia.

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