The “New Normal” in the Global Workforce
With so much of the global workforce having to work remotely over the past months, people everywhere are discussing the “new normal” of the workplace. The term “new normal” is increasingly common but ask ten different people what it means, and you’ll get ten different definitions.
So what is the “new normal” for work? How will it evolve? What will become of this “new normal” in six or twelve months? Is it really all that different depending on where you are located?
One of VMware’s own, Claudia Reyes, posed these questions and discussed what this means to the future ready workforce in a recent article in Portafolio, a leading newspaper on the economy and business in Colombia.
Currently, Claudia states, the “new normal” has become adapting to new routines to be safe in the present while looking towards the future – regardless of location. Some detractors maintain that the remote work environment and initiatives that have been created to react to the current pandemic are solely survival mechanisms and actions we are taking in times of crisis. They claim that when the pandemic passes, we will quickly return to the old model of working from an office first, and remotely second, if at all.
However, Claudia, I, and many business leaders don’t believe this return to the “old normal” will come to pass. Remote first workforces and teleworking initiatives are here to stay. According to a recent study from Gartner, three out of every four financial directors plan to move at least five percent of employees to remote positions after Covid-19.” Although some employees like those in manufacturing or hospitality, will have to return to work with necessary safety restrictions and protocols, the “new normal” will most likely be a hybrid model. A hybrid model where physical and virtual offices coexist with specific utility depending on the situation.
To redesign these physical and virtual offices, we will have to reevaluate how we use technology and employee experiences with these technologies. But ultimately employee experience is the crux of the matter. A bad implementation of work-from-home procedures and technologies for a digital workspace can significantly affect productivity, employee morale, and company culture. Providing safe access to software applications and a modern digital workspace to all employees, while guaranteeing a good return on investment for the company, will be key.
According to a survey conducted by VMware on the importance of the employee experience, the following aspects of a digital workspace are most important to employees for a great employee experience at work, no matter where they are located (listed in order of importance from highest to lowest).
1. Be able to find and install the applications they need to do their work.
2. Have the applications, including email, required to do at least the three most important parts of their jobs on their mobile devices.
3. Have access to all their applications and data from Day 1.
4. Have the freedom to do their jobs on personal devices.
5. Be able to choose their preferred OS to do their work.
These aspects will only become more important as today’s workforce becomes ever more technologically savvy and used to this “new normal” in work flexibility and superior employee experiences.
Change is inevitable, Claudia concludes, and I agree. The global pandemic acted as a catalyst, but now increasingly more business leaders and employers are thinking about what the future state of work will look like in their industries. Employers will need to provide good experiences to their employees and clients as well as transform business processes to be more flexible and responsive to changing environments. These companies will gain the competitive edge and set the standard for success.
To learn more about how you can make your workforce future ready and positioned for the new normal, read more here.