The pandemic over the last few years has paved the way to remote work options. In the midst of numerous and difficult circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, has created avenues to grow and evolve and opt for remote working as a solution.
In a conversation with Mr Satish Kumar V, CEO at Everest IMS Technologies, Mr Vikas Bhonsle, CEO at Crayon Software Experts India, Mr Prashanth GJ, CEO at TechnoBind, Mr. Kuntal Shah, Sales Engineering head, Avaya & NCN evaluate on evolution of hybrid work culture and the digital innovations and its synchronisation for a perfect working model.
The pandemic has already changed our usage patterns when it comes to technology, with more people turning to laptops and tablets, smartphones for getting work done.
The Work Trend Index survey was conducted by an independent research firm, Edelman Data x Intelligence, among 31,092 full-time employed or self-employed workers across 31 markets between January 12, 2021 and January 25, 2021.
The move to hybrid workstyles has broken the mould and online, seamless, integrated, and intuitive collaboration tools play a dominant role in the workplace. Moreover, over the past year there has been a shift in the office going pattern from 9-5 jobs. Hybrid workplace, building additional capabilities to help our employees, customers and businesses continue to thrive. In the digital world, instant access environment has blurred the lines between the physical office and the place where work actually happens.
According to Mr Satish Kumar V, CEO at Everest IMS Technologies, “COVID-19 has been a technology disrupter for enterprises all over the world, with significant adoption of digital transformation. Businesses that once hesitated to embark upon a digital-first journey were left without a choice. Remote technology enablement has become the new normal to ensure business continuity, meet the aggressive demands of their customers, or enter new market segments. Hence, enterprises have no choice but to build and extend work-from-home (WFH) capabilities to give employees a secure working environment. To ensure that this worked properly and was not just a dictum, organizations delved into the segregation of roles to analyze what work could be done remotely and what needed face-to-face interaction along with the frequency of interaction. Fortunately, they had ample time to create the lattice upon which these interactions were to be balanced – one that would need careful monitoring and retuning based on employee feedback. The first and most important thing that many companies did was to guide employees and to make them acclimatized to working in collaboration remotely. It is not an easy task as most people have been used to a different system of engagement that spanned decades. Unlearning this was the key to success.”
He goes on to say, “ From an employee’s perspective, this aggressive pandemic-influenced digital momentum has caused them to change how they carry out their day-to-day activities. It is also crucial to equip them with remote workflows to easily collaborate with other remote teams and accomplish more together. An important facet of this was the fact that whether one liked it or not, the home was going to interject with work. Making employees comfortable being with their families full time and still able to contribute to organizational goals through the right tools and processes formed an important part of this framework. To keep the consistency of this going, employers need to keep innovating on how to keep employees engaged in activities (remotely) that continue to maintain camaraderie within and across teams. Lack of a physical presence can be unnerving and active programs have to be created and sequenced consistently. The success of sequencing this would be use case driven where technology-based software solutions have become the main drivers in this endeavor. But implementing these technologies is just half the battle since enterprises are also under pressure to ensure continuous agility, scalability, and innovation.
Mr Satish feels, “ Looking ahead, this unprecedented growth in remote technology adoption is not a one-off event. They must focus on making their remote IT ecosystems readily scalable to deal with unexpected events in the future. And they should also make sure to have the data-rich operational insights to understand and improve employee productivity without tool-related obstacles that may derail their engagement and retention. At Everest IMS, we are proud to be a part of this change as an enabler of the phenomena that is a global need. Our vision is to help enterprises achieve collaborative innovation through a suite of state-of-the-art products and solutions. We unlock the power of Cloud, IoT, AI, and Hyperautomation to meet enterprise-wide remote technology requirements while delivering contextual and consistent omnichannel user experiences.”
With the ushering of hybrid workspaces, both companies and their employees are gearing up for a change — an unprecedented step towards businesses that are largely digital, remote support and delivery models, real-time results with minimal delay and also an improved workplace diversity.
Mr Vikas Bhonsle, CEO at Crayon Software Experts India says, “ The future of work is all about the disruption of technologies. Although this was predicted long back when IoT and Artificial Intelligence (AI) made their mark visible, it is the pandemic of 2020 that snowballed the digital transformation process worldwide. There will be a few distinct aspects to this transformation: decentralization of job headquarters, automation at workplace, hiring of talents from across geographies, constant re-learning of new skills, and higher dependency on SaaS and PaaS tools, to name a few.”
He adds, “ Companies are already articulating the best approach for collaboration and healthy work culture for a remote working team. As work has gone remote, this will also make it possible for organizations to hire talents across geographies. However, the benefits and impact of on-premise team collaboration cannot be dismissed yet. Another aspect of this development will be that organizations will be investing more in digital tools for ensuring seamless communication and productivity amongst employees.
Mr Bhonsle further commented, “ Talking about tools, with most software going the AI route, there is a good chance that redundant and repetitive jobs might become obsolete and be taken over by tools and software alone. McKinsey has already reported that 50% of global job activities could theoretically be automated, meaning that around 400-800 million employees could be displaced globally due to automation by 2030. Interestingly, a Dell report says that 85% of these jobs do not even exist yet. The information can be overwhelming and apprehensive for a workforce that is under skilled for an automated job market. To prepare for this future of work, employees today must keep themselves updated with new trends and technology and undergo training to stay relevant for the changing job market demands.”
Mr Prashanth GJ, CEO at TechnoBind says, ‘ Covid-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on how we collaborate, where we work, and the employer-employee relationship with respect to remote job performance. Companies and workers shifted to remote working in order to contain the transmission of covid-19, dramatically changing how we work. Work from Home has become all-important because it allows companies to keep the show running while keeping employees protected. It is also more productive because even if employees return to workplaces there will be an extreme set of regulations in place to prevent transmission.”
He elucidates, “ WFH has become normal and I strongly believe that it is here to stay for the long term. There are so many advantages of remote working – the most obvious is that of saving travel time in large cities like ours. Many have said that with WFH they end up working more hours but from the organization’s point of view, it is increased productivity. Then there is the aspect of lowered office costs for the organization – with a WFH or even a rostered approach to working from the office, the real estate requirements can easily go down. The cost savings and hence increased profitability for the organization is a big bonus. “
Digital collaboration is essentially a fundamental shift in the working mindset of an organization in the hopes of facilitating improved efficiency and workflow. The digital collaboration aims to improve workplace communication, collaboration, content management, document management, and information flow across the organization and leads to increased productivity and employee efficiency.
Mr. Kuntal Shah, Sales Engineering head, Avaya India says, “Even from a collaboration perspective, that is the field we are in, most of the meetings about 90% of them will have remote participation. Cloud computing or cloud collaboration helps in the way that it makes work much simpler. In the past, people used big amounts of data to have those video conferencing meetings, today that’s not enough because it won’t give a scalable model. So cloud helps to curb this need for a hybrid collaboration irrespective of wherever you are. The second thing that has changed in the last 1 year which makes it more important that it is not about video anymore. The video was a basic need but now you need a workstream collaboration that helps you to do all your work whether it is managing the task, connecting with the team, or have a persistent chat with each other or between teams across organizations.
Talking about the collaboration, Mr Shah explained, “In the past, we used to have customers who had deployed hardware-based solutions in their premises, and they were utilizing that but since the adoption of cloud increased, today everyone is compelled to use it since it is the only way to collaborate now with colleagues, partners, and customers. One needs a solution which is scalable and manages all your requirement around everything and not just voice call or video call.
He further commented, “We are at the end of the technology curve in terms of the cloud. Look at all the start-ups around us, businesses built around cloud strategy. Even the bricks and motor companies are adopting cloud from a computing perspective, some from a data analytic perspective or utilizing ML and AI so there are hardly any organizations left that are untouched from the cloud. Of course, communication collaboration is the key and cloud computing is being taken up as a big thing in every organization. If you see other analysts and other studies which have happened where there is a working nucleus where you have to communicate and collaborate, that requires cloud which further helps you with mobility, AI and ML functionalities like noise cancellation, background blur which are standard. Secondly around workspaces, today most of the people working from home especially, desktop as a service are also commercialized so everyone’s looking at how to make it cost-effective and make it work from anywhere so that’s how cloud collaboration has increased overall.”
Hence its imperative that hybrid workplaces will be the future and it will increasingly be evolved with technological disruptions.