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Is office really needed for IT sector to be productive?

Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we look at the world. World had turned upside down. Covid-19 has challenged the normal norms for all sectors of life. Social, economic and political sectors have changed a lot due to covid-19 pandemic. It has affected working environment drastically shifting work from offices to homes for an indefinite period of time. People have had mixed reactions while working from home, for some switching from office to work from home mode was easy, while for some it has become a roller-coaster ride of emotions, as they have to juggle to keep work-life balance. It had become difficult for some remote workers to maintain their productivity levels which they possessed when they worked from their offices. One of the most significant effects of the pandemic on the information technology (IT) industry has been the acceptance of a hybrid workforce model that provides the kind of radical flexibility needed to establish organizational resilience.

According to a study by research-backed innovative company SCIKEY MindMatch, about 99.8% of the workforce in the information technology sector is unable to work from home. According to a new study conducted during the coronavirus lockdown, when most organizations are encouraging employees to work remotely, only 0.2 percent of the workforce in the IT business is extremely productive while working from home. It went on to say that 99.8% of the workforce lacked at least one of the attributes, including aversion to learning and exploring (95%), a lack of practical communication skills (65%), and a lack of planning and execution (71%). According to the report, “16.97% of employees are challenge-driven, and such people should be given tough assignments and be able to perform fluidly with minimal intervention.” According to the study, 17% of employees are instruction-driven and require precise instructions in order to complete a task. It went on to say that when engaging with these personnel, particularly in a remote working situation, one should pay close attention to the details of the tasks and duties provided to them. According to the study, 40.42 percent of the IT workforce is logic-driven, thus assigning them a logic-driven task and answering their queries, no matter how small or numerous, is required to connect with them remotely. About 12.7 per cent of the IT workforce comprises employees who thrive on their social interactions and as a result, work from home is a challenge for them. The study is based on more than 10,000 inputs of jobseekers in the information technology (IT) sector on the MindMatch assessment through the SCIKEY Talent Commerce Marketplace.

As it’s said everything has its pros and cons, even work from home has its own set of drawbacks or disadvantages:

Lack of proper communication between co-workers- The remote work set-up has forced employees to work from home for a huge span of time. In such uncertain times it makes some people anxious about their job security. Due to this their productivity levels have affected drastically. The productivity of the employees could easily take a big blow with the workload piling up day-by-day coupled with anxiety because of the uncertain employment tenure. Another reason cited for the drop in productivity levels of the employees is the lack of proper communication between the team members. When it comes to team work communication plays a vital role. An employee needs to be given clear instructions on what has to be done, what is the ultimate objective of the task, and also be aware of their clients’ expectations. Until and unless there is no proper line of communication between team members working towards a specific goal together from different locations, it could prove difficult to ensure the required levels of calibration in their work. This in result would affect their level of productivity.

Health Issues of employees and their family members- There could loss of focus on the task at hand thus affecting productivity at work if there is any prevailing health issues of the employee or their family members. It could be emotionally draining for employees when they have to play a dual role of acting as caregivers and attending to their sick family member(s) as well being a working professional. This could add to their overall stress and may even cause anxiety and depression.

Zero to minimum social contact - Employees are confined to their homes with almost zero social contact as social distancing norms are enforced. It becomes very difficult to maintain the same levels of productivity as during work-from-office for those who are extroverts and tend to enjoy a social life.

Lack of access to workspace tools- Progress of work and employee performance can be hampered of there is lack of access to workspace tools. To facilitate efficient business processes and ensure its growth it is essential to build a collaborative workspace. It is also necessary to foster effective communication between teams, which need to collaborate when delivering on the same task.

Almost every team in 2020 was discussing remote work. What was the best way to do it, what were the hurdles, and if it was a good fit for them? The discourse has now switched to the hybrid model, which is being discussed in 2021. As workplaces start to reopen, organizations are finding that their workforce is not keen to give up remote work fully for safety reasons.

Some organizations feel that employees’ productivity has increased while some feel it has reduced. Hence, the most popular solution is the thing that every organization seems to be grappling with at the moment — the hybrid model.

Employees in a typical hybrid workplace have the option of working in a central office, working from home, or combining the two. Some of the physical qualities of a flexible office space can be found in a hybrid workplace. Workers in a hybrid office can choose the section of the workplace that best suits the type of work they need to perform at the time, whether it's concentrating on a job in a quiet zone or catching up with co-workers over a cup of coffee. More importantly, the hybrid office gives workers the complete freedom to choose where and when they do their best work.

Some of the advantages of the hybrid workplace model are listed as follows:

Increased productivity- Flexible workers can make greater use of their time in a hybrid workplace. They have the option of avoiding commuting during peak hours. They can concentrate on their work without being distracted by the usual office noises and distractions.

Lowered costs- There's no need for rows upon rows of assigned desks in a hybrid office. Instead, a successful hybrid office combines a variety of flexible spaces designed to support employees across a variety of tasks, such as standing desks where people can log in with their own laptops, relaxing lounges for catching up on emails, soundproofed booths for phone meetings, and coffee areas for informal team chats. Employers may plan around new occupancy levels to save money on rent, office supplies, and other business expenses once they know how many employees will be in the workplace at any one moment.

Safety during the pandemic- Even when vaccinations take effect and the pandemic fades away, health experts warn that societal barriers will stay in place for some time. Until then, the way we work and commute in our cities will continue to reflect the virus's level of danger. A hybrid workplace keeps employees safe during a pandemic by limiting the number of individuals in the office at any given moment, allowing for enough personal space, and making it easy to maintain distance.

Hybrid model will be ideal for the information technology (IT) industry because only work from home model may be less productive or there may be some projects which cannot be done while working from home. Also to keep mental and psychological health of employees in mind it was better to switch to hybrid model rather than shifting to totally work from office or work from home mode. This model will reduce the burden of cost on organizations and as well as benefit employees in various ways. Few days’ of work from home and other days’ work from office can have many health benefits for all the workers of organizations. It is always an environmental friendly model.


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