What is the most visible change that the world is seeing in terms of emerging work trends?
Work from home, work from anywhere, on any device, wherever you are. The coronavirus pandemic was a powerful force to bring this shift, and clearly, this new way of working isn’t going away. Collaborative productivity systems like Google Workspace also embrace this trend and bring new options to support the hybrid work and work-from-anywhere models. For example, attendees can now join any meeting virtually. Strangely, while the focus is on how people work, the benefits for organizations are often overlooked.
The media shows this trend through rose-colored glasses- we've all seen the guy with a laptop in a hammock, working from the beach, while sipping something refreshing from a coconut. Although the reality we all live in is often different, the important lesson is that it is now possible not to care about where or when you work. If we think about it a little bit more, it is possible to see the significance of all of this. Let's take the case of days-off as an example. Does it still make sense to have two weeks of summer holiday? Or would it be wiser to take your laptop to a more relaxing destination than that office at home? Can an employer have any say about how that would work? Is it acceptable to work from the pool?
Let's say it is. Let's say it's ok to work from anywhere in the world, whenever you want. All it would require is some changes to how work is done. Suddenly, it's no longer about the number of hours one works in a day - it is about delivering outcomes. This trend makes the employee responsible for dealing with a specific task within a stipulated timeframe and possibly with a deadline. Here at the Google Workspace Practice at Wipro, we have always worked like this. Our global team delivers consultancy and support services for our customers across the world from anywhere in the world, 24/7. In many ways, the people working in our practice could work from anywhere, anytime. Extrapolate that a bit, and you could think of an employee as delivering a service - the work is a task that gets done, and the organization pays a fee in exchange.
Are today's organizations subscribing to employees for the service that they deliver?
It sure does seem to be the case. It looks like ‘owning’ an employee and dictating what that person does is no longer applicable. Sure, it won’t work in any sector, and it means giving potentially too much responsibility to the employee. But it is a realistic alternative!
Will this alternative add value to organizations? Can it provide a competitive advantage if done correctly? Would it even be a strategy to survive in an ever-changing world? In certain situations, it can be all of the above. Work from anywhere can be the driving force for an organization to become truly global. It also translates into benefitting customers by always being available from anywhere. Not only that, companies can now focus on finding and working with the best talent in the world and not control how the talent works, freeing them up to align work with their personal life.
In the end, finding the right people and ensuring that they stay with the organization as happy employees can be driven by utilizing the possibilities ‘work from anywhere’ brings. Another critical benefit comes with having a globally distributed workforce with a local presence! Many (enterprise) clients will likely not care where the work is done or when. If an organization can sell solutions and outcomes instead of hours, it can leverage the global possibilities better. And that will place organizations in a strategically more powerful position.
Smaller organizations and startups take this for granted. They’re aligned more effectively with what is out there to use right now, not held back by structure and systems from the past that dictate how employees should work. With that in mind, organizations now need to deal with the changing world, where Work from Anywhere is no longer a temporary novelty. This trend might be the most significant opportunity of the last decade. Digital transformation is the process of being able to leverage that opportunity. Wipro can help with the technical impact, deliver actual business value and outcome, and help align culture, processes, and procedures. The Google Workspace team at Wipro is always available for a discussion about this subject. Just be mindful of time zones; we might be somewhere else on this planet, where it’s 5 pm, and we’re just settling into that hammock by the beach.