Hybrid Working is now the most preferred working strategy for both employers and employees
As we come out the pandemic, new concepts of work culture are emerging across the world, including in India. Though some forward-thinking companies had all along been exploring 'work from anywhere' (WFA) practices, the pandemic-induced lockdowns thrust WFH ('work from home') upon all the companies. While many employees relished it - not having to commute to an office and spending more time with family and friends - a lot many also found it stifling.
Delhi-NCR [India], November 1 (ANI/NewsVoir): As we come out the pandemic, new concepts of work culture are emerging across the world, including in India. Though some forward-thinking companies had all along been exploring 'work from anywhere' (WFA) practices, the pandemic-induced lockdowns thrust WFH ('work from home') upon all the companies. While many employees relished it - not having to commute to an office and spending more time with family and friends - a lot many also found it stifling. Having mulled the new-normal scenario from the angles of both, the work requirement and the employees' interest, many of the offices and businesses have opted for the middle way - the hybrid work. It is a flexible working model where employees work partly in the physical workplace, and partly remotely - at home or from another workspace. The hybrid work model has gained widespread acceptance and is set to grow even further as time progresses. Most surveys and research reports confirm that the hybrid work culture has come to stay.
A recent study by Accenture found that 58 per cent of respondents had already been working hybrid during COVID-19. These people, said the study, reported better mental health, stronger working relationships, and less burnout than those who worked entirely on-site or entirely remotely. According to the study, 83 per cent of the respondents said that they felt a hybrid work model would be the best one going into the future. Microsoft's Work Trend Index also showed that most people are keen on carrying on with hybrid work post-pandemic. Hybrid working offers a whole range of benefits for both employees and employers, say experts in this arena. Some of the key benefits are: it attracts top talent, boosts brand image and makes employees happier. Also, it's cheaper to run a hybrid workplace as the company needs smaller office space and saves a lot on utility bills. Employees, too, save money on commuting, daily meals and other expenses. It's a win-win, therefore.
No surprise, therefore, that various studies released recently have found that more and more employees are turning to hybrid work model in their companies and employees are also giving thumbs to it. A study titled 'Recruit, Retain and Grow', conducted by Poly, a global communications and collaboration company, revealed that a total of 74 per cent of Indian employers are of the belief that the hybrid working model is here to stay and that they need to address processes and plan within it to ensure employee retention. Further, 86 per cent of the employers have seen an increase in productivity since the shift to hybrid work, said the study. Agreeing with the findings, Sanya Aeren, Chief Advisor, Marketing & Communication of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Orenda India, "There are pros and cons of everything, and work from home is no exception. While flexible work timings, convenience and saving of traveling time are definitely helpful, employees' productivity is enhanced with the office environment and exposure to colleagues also inducing healthy competition and team building. Hence, a hybrid working model works most beneficial. However, we need to keep tweaking the model as per the external environment too. Post-pandemic, there's more focus on a person's quality of life, and we, at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Orenda recognise this. As employers, we do have a standard model, but we also do modify it as per the employees' scope of work and their conditions."
This assessment by a top real estate player shows that the industry is well aware of the emerging trend in office space and is fully geared up to tap it as well. As multiple survey reports point towards increased adoption of hybrid work model, the realty sector is conscious enough to respond accordingly and make the best of it. According to a recent survey of large, mid-sized and small firms conducted by Colliers, hybrid working continues to be the most preferred workspace strategy, with 63 per cent of the firms currently embracing the same. Firms from the Consulting, BFSI, and engineering sectors are at the forefront of adopting the hybrid model, it says, adding that three days a week in the office is the most popular hybrid working style for India Inc.
The Collier survey also indicated that the hybrid pattern allows businesses to pursue business goals without hindrances while offering better work-life balance to employees. It added, however, that a hybrid work style needs to be supported by apt technological intervention to ensure seamless collaboration and communication. Deepak Kapoor, Director, Gulshan Group, said, "Hybrid Models promote flexibility and employee engagement on larger levels. It is the midway path taken by companies between a complete revert to a Work-From-Home set-up and sticking to a Work-From-Office arrangement. The hybrid model culture will foster an insurgence of new start-ups and mid and small-level firms, who would be more interested and inclined to invest in office spaces due to reduced maintenance and feasibility costs. It will be a huge booster to the commercial real estate space, and the coming period will see an increase in office leasings."
Endorsing the contention, Salil Kumar, Director - Marketing & Business Management, CRC Group, said, "Hybrid work models are the need of the hour. However, it cannot be denied that it leads to less productivity levels, disrupts work-life balance, and causes people to grow a mismanaged working style, which impedes their overall growth in the long run. It is also promoting a moonlighting practice, which is detested by most companies. In today's times, office campuses are highly equipped to meet customer demands and provide a high-scale working experience. Hybrid work models might be in hot demand right now, but the trend is not a sustainable alternative to work-from-office set-up, which aids a growth-oriented work culture based on principles of transparency, honesty and better productivity." Talking from the real estate industry's point of view, Sumit Agarwal, Director- Sales & Leasing, Grandthum, said, "The hybrid work culture would have no adverse impact on commercial segment; rather it would provide a positive push. "The very fact that offices are back to work is good news for the sector. Even with reduced workforce on regular basis due to hybrid model, big businesses have no plans to surrender space. Small and mid-size firms might be tempted to do that, but they too will need workstations and that will give a big boost to the co-working segment. Overall, it's certainly a winning proposition for the real estate sector," he concluded.
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