In 2020, people were witness to the most uncertain and utterly desperate times that anyone could have seen in modern history. The lives of millions were at stake and a sword was hanging by a breadth of a thread over the livelihoods of millions more. The pandemic enforced a global lockdown, in which almost everything was shut down for a few weeks initially. Those initial few weeks turned into months and then almost a year. No business was spared. Thankfully though, this was the situation in almost the entire of 2020 and a few months in 2021 as well. With massive vaccination drives happening across the world and with herd immunity slowly becoming a reality, the world is now slowly getting back on track.
The reopening of almost the entire world means businesses can now call more employees to work, without worrying too much about their safety. However, it is imperative that businesses follow COVID guidelines and ask their employees to strictly follow COVID appropriate behaviour. Talking about organizations calling their employees to work as things are getting better pandemic-wise, tech giants are leading the way in this activity as well. Having said that, the likes of Amazon and Google amongst other such big players in the tech industry are moving towards the hybrid work model, which they believe is the future of the world of work.
Google was amongst the first organizations that came up with this idea and actually made their employees follow the hybrid model. Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google, addressed his employees himself through an email earlier this year to introduce the “hybrid workplace”. This email made it amply clear to all Google employees the way they are going to work in the time to come. Pichai has always been an advocate of hybrid work and he has now made sure that at least the organization he is in charge of follows this new model of work, which is expected to help employees achieve a balance between their personal and professional lives.
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Pichai has been quite vocal about why he prefers the hybrid work model and why he thinks it would work. And he has always said that it is for every organization, not just for Google. It is very important for employees to work together for at least a few days every month. That can only happen inside an office setting. When employees work together, they can brainstorm and generate new ideas for their respective organizations to succeed. So, the onus lies on organizations to provide their employees with a safe working environment that is conducive for excellence. The point of calling employees to the office should always be to facilitate collaboration.
Also, with the hybrid work model, organizations give their employees the opportunity to work from anywhere for a couple of days in the work week. In addition to making employees spend more time with family, what this also does is save them from the challenges of traveling for a couple of days at least.
But Pichai is also aware of the challenges that the hybrid model of work brings with itself. When people are far apart from each other – some on video call, some in the office – it is very hard to make them all feel a part of something. However, there are ways of making it work. It might take some time for everyone to get used to this model of work. But, the early signs show that if everyone understands their role and contributes what they are asked to, the hybrid model can work wonders.
But, while working from home, people should make sure that they get up early in the morning to give their day a jump start. However, it is almost criminal to lose out on sleep. Giving the body the time it needs to recuperate and start afresh is very important to start afresh the next day. These are only a few small things that employees would have to be told by their employers to make the hybrid model a success. It’s going to take effort and commitment from both parties.
The hybrid work model is still in its nascent stage and would take time for both employers and employees to get accustomed to. HR will play a huge role in not only managing the distributed workforce but ensuring that there are policies in place for all the employees to follow, to not leave anyone perplexed about what they are supposed to do on their office work day and how they need to go about their work from home days.
Pichai has rightly said, it has to be a collaborative effort, to make this model work. Different organizations will have different challenges. They will have to identify those challenges and ensure that they have a solution ready without disrupting operations. Hybrid model of work is here to stay. But, it could take some time for companies to put it to optimal use.
Reference: Google CEO Sundar Pichai shares formula on how to ‘balance’ work from office and home | Livemint | 20 October, 2021
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