Sridhar Iyengar, MD, Zoho Europe comments:
“As society reopens and the pandemic subsides for what is hopefully the last time, we can expect a majority of workforces to continue operations on a ‘hybrid’ basis – that is, taking advantage of the perks of remote and on-site working with a part-time hot desk system.
“With the government’s proposal to make remote working a legal privilege, organisations must be equipped to deal with even more impromptu and irregular remote working schedules. To deal with the potential productivity backlash of having a dispersed workforce, these businesses must equip themselves with cloud-enabled technology that facilitates seamless connectivity and communication lines between workers, regardless of where they are in the world.
“Long-term remote working on a national scale also opens up the opportunity for unique diversity initiatives via remote hiring, for example, and companies should invest in more efficient HR and teams collaboration tools to get a head start in enabling such social inclusion schemes. It can present flexible working opportunities for those who work better without a stringent 9-5 schedule or those who find traditional working hours impossible. However, we believe a balance needs to be met. Rather than absolute remote working, we believe the best business practice for both employers and employees is a hybrid model. Human beings are essentially social beings and for employee wellbeing, there should be some in-person interaction in the workplace, even if this is sporadic.
“As for the debate around the danger of creating zombie towns if remote working becomes prevalent, we also see economic benefits being more effectively distributed across the country, with an opportunity for more rural areas to thrive as talent erosion to cities is reduced, because there is no need to move to be so close to traditional urban centres with the daily commute reduced or removed. Again, a balance is required here. Hybrid working models see economic benefits for cities, towns and rural areas with a fair distribution of economic opportunity. The pandemic has forced us all to consider a new way of working and living, creating an opportunity to shift socio-economic norms for the better good of society.”