As the landscape of the economy changes vis-a-vis the post-COVID-19 environment, we see workplace trends continue to evolve, like working flexi-hours and more virtual meetings being hosted than physical ones. The management and human resource departments in particular are faced with tough choices in terms of organisational structure and workplace culture. Some companies along with their HR departments are jumping on the tech bandwagon after assessing that adaptations have to be made and the status quo is no longer the same.
1. Transformation of Office Spaces
Many organisations have had their staff work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Needless to say, this has had a major impact on how office spaces are managed and perceived. Traditionally, offices were mandatory simply because that was how it was. Now, companies are making do with smaller spaces, with maybe half of their employees working remotely.
Offices aren’t just changing in the sense of physical space. As mentioned before companies are welcoming modern solutions like virtual recruiting, digitizing paperwork and moving towards a cloud-based system. Biometric scanners that can screen body temperatures can be seen in premises throughout the country.
2. Measuring Productivity Remotely
Measuring methods of the past are no longer relevant in the digital age. The correlation between long working hours and high productivity is increasingly called into question. Companies are also getting freelancers to support their staff in specific areas. How then can employee activity and productivity be tracked more accurately? There is a need for continuous feedback and appraisal at the fundamental level. Performance managing tools are available that allow employees to submit screenshots or work files that can be viewed either collectively or just by their superiors so that evidence can be measured against value. Slightly more creative apps have a like/dislike system and individuals can be rated in that manner.
3. Blurring of the Line Between “Personal Life” & “Work Life”
There is a lack of a “transitional phase” in a work-from-home environment. No commute. No feeling of “leaving the office” as the clock strikes six. It’s really easy to overwork when there’s no hard and fast finishing time, compounded with the ease of communicating via texting apps and video calls. Introduction of established clock-in and clock-out times can help.
Smartwatches are getting scary precise with their vital sign reading, be it heart rate, hours of sleep or even fitness scores. Resourceful organisations might use this data to see if employees in a specific department are experiencing higher levels of stress compared to others, or check in to see if someone is at work while sick. However, a one-size-fits-all approach should not be the go-to due to differences in workplace culture, nature of work and style of leadership.
4. Greater Integration of Fintech
It’s especially apparent in the retail and food and beverage sector, but in general, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly accelerated the adoption of fintech by businesses. What is fintech? In short, fintech refers to companies or services that make use of technology to provide financial services to businesses or consumers. Think PayNow, PayPal, or even Matchmove. There is an unprecedented demand for fintech services because they provide innovative solutions to maintain social distancing, ensure business continuity and minimize service disruptions.
5. Emphasis on Mental Health
Mental well being is being scrutinised closer than ever before, partly due to how many Millennials and Gen-Z’s that have left jobs (50% and 75% respectively) due to mental health concerns at least once. Remote working presents it’s own related problem in the lack of the social aspect of working in an office. In this light, companies should promote the use and indeed start their own online mental health initiative with assistance from the HR department. It can be as simple as being there to listen and backing employees should they face any problems at work or at home, or providing aid to employees for professional mental health services.
Looking to the Future
The age-old maxim “the only constant in life is change” is especially true in the workplace. 5th generation mobile networks (5G) will connect the world in ways never seen before with even lower latency compared to 4G. The deployment and development of artificial intelligence will add new dimensions to existing jobs. With the multitude of technological solutions at hand, employers should embrace the current circumstances as an opportunity to further grow their company.
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