Organizations across all geographies & industries endured due to lack of preparedness or I would say the thought of permanent remote working never crossed our minds until we were put into the situation. Yes, it is weird, that a tiny virus challenged organizations to explore new ways to keep the business up and running. Many are stepping up and rising to the new demands of the pandemic, but we are finding new work life integration strategies these days. Every leader has an inspiring story of protective measures being taken at the workplace & accomplishing the goals. However, the concern remains the same; moving back to normalcy is still uncertain, how the future of work would look like? Will the organizational structure change significantly?
By now, the pandemic has travelled the entire world and has revamped the way we live, work & communicate. The entire world has been put under lockdown, with people being forced to remain indoors and work from home. After the initial anxiety people are settled into a state of equilibrium. Everywhere the work practices have been changed rapidly and drastically with the business culture being transformed overnight. Old habits die hard, if we want to keep alive the usual culture and evolve going forward, proactive will be the need of the hour.
Hybrid Workplace Model
The pandemic has been majorly devastating the daily wage workers like house helps, taxi drivers, a rickshaw puller, bus driver, carpenters, plumbers & the list is endless who were entirely dependent on being out and being called for work. The WFH workforce is rising in numbers as it has become a norm in every industry. Eventually, companies may not need the big workspaces, the tangible assets will slowly become intangible, and the recurrent employee engagement activities would no longer have perfect meaning. Rather, the cultural activities will be used to describe the emotional & mental wellbeing of employees; the approach would shift from Work-Life balance to Work-life integration.
It is crystal clear by now that the tiny virus will change our working style post-pandemic, perhaps indefinitely. On the other hand, we see that the pandemic begins to ease, companies have started implementing the Hybrid virtual model. It helps in widening the talent pool, enhanced employee experience, more flexibility, better individual productivity. The saddest reality is, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us more colours than our very own multicoloured rainbow; with a trunk of daily challenges from health anxieties to rising fatality rate to increasing unemployment to physical isolation, it has left us numb — the feelings topping the list are frustration and anger. However, as we scuffle with the implications of the pandemic, there is a change in the perceptions, people have learned to tune up their wants, consume the basic required and be considerate about other’s needs. Although the crisis has brought the entire world to a standstill, there have been a lot of positive learnings from it.
Read More: A Leadership Tale
4 Work Life Integration Strategies
I. Work from Home
Every individual has different personality traits, likewise, work from home is comforting to some and challenging for others, the most common thing is the need for better communication. Lack of regular communication can hamper a lot of efforts, reduce morale, and lead to chaos and delayed functional activities. In a nutshell transparent, and timely communication is the need of the hour. Since more than decades, emails have been the primary mode of communication, however, the pandemic has made the organizations adopt an agile mindset to bolster their existing technologies and to streamline the way of working and for better workforce collaboration. The current scenario has also shown that the productivity levels can meet the organizational expectations whilst working remotely if employees are provided with the necessary facilities from devices to virtual training.
II. New mindset
The level of better communication & aid have been springing up and have become much more powerful than we have seen before. The relationships and unity within the teams and individuals have been deepening and become more meaningful. This crisis is as good as an unexpected opportunity to help us reset and reboot & enhanced the meaning of “clock-in”.
III. Health over Wealth
The damage to health and wellbeing has already been boundless. However, it has made people more health-conscious. The conversations are mostly about being healthy, strengthening immunity and prioritising well-being. People are reaching out virtually to help and support to stay upbeat. Today people are equating good health to real wealth.
IV. Stay home Mantra
The isolation is giving us the chance to rejuvenate with ourselves. People have started to pursue their hobbies again, be it blogging, singing, dancing, painting, or playing an instrument. It is freeing us from the need for eternal social touch and gaining the real luxury of being with self.
The pandemic is no less than a roller coaster ride which is making us a strong yet compassionate person. Today, we are learning to be grateful for even the smallest thing we have in life. In the outer world, when we see people enduring extreme conditions and still courageous enough to survive, you tend to stop making excuses for your own life. Although, restoring stability cannot be anyone size fits all approach. The 4 Work life integration strategies are the need of the hour during this lockdown phase of our professional careers. One thing that seems certain at this stage, is a shift in focus from “Work-Life balance” to “Work-Life Integration” for employees.