As the hybrid workplace is fast becoming the new normal allowing employees the flexibility to work from anywhere, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has recently suggested a 3E model approach to enable people to adapt to this new and revolutionary paradigm shift in work.
Working on the premise that in the future the workplace is going to be a hybrid model, TCS has suggested in an article titled, The future of work from anywhere’ that this way of work in a new world should revolve around 3E model of Embrace-Enable-Empower.
So, what is embrace? People are always intransigent and resistant to change so firstly, it is about acceptance, opening the mind to absorb a new perspective and a new way of work. People need to tune their brain to this nature of working or else they will be battling it and end up wasting energy.
Moreover, working from home or remotely is not without disruptions. Household chores, pet care, childcare and elder care etc., can often turn out to be major distractions while working from home. And, this can lead to the blurring of lines between work and home and people will find themselves unable to shut down the laptop and switch off from work.
Hence, people need to maintain a balance between work and home, and ensure they eat on time, get enough sleep even as they complete their work responsibilities. Or, they may face a burnout.
It is all well for companies to appear progressive and in step with the times by claiming they are encouraging and promoting the hybrid workplace. But many companies may just be saying this for good press and often fail to provide the right conditions and environment for their employees to work from home.
One of the key challenges an organisation faces today in implementing the hybrid workplace is that the external ecosystem – the regulations, the laws, and guidelines have still not evolved with the ‘New Normal’, and act as a stumbling block instead of being an enabler. Moreover, the employer has to ensure that the balance between work and recreation is maintained and they don’t work their employees to the bone. It is not a healthy ecosystem for the employer or employee.
The third ‘E’ deals with empowering employees in new ways so they can work from anywhere. As individuals, teams and management have specific and intersecting needs and challenges, “socio-techno” solutions need to be worked by the companies.
There should be options for employees to choose from – either work from office, home or shared spaces – to reduce the stress on individuals when normalising remote work. Staying focused and productive in a home environment is necessary when you are being pulled in different directions. At this point, one has to be be self-disciplined and ensure that you are being productive and keeping a watchful eye on your wellbeing. All of this becomes important.
What TCS and Infosys has planned
TCS has set up hot desks and occasional operating zones to allow its associates to plug into their system in any office around the country and get connected to the global workforce. The company also has a 25×25 policy, under which not more than 25 per cent of the company’s associates will work from an office at any given point in time. And, they will not be required to spend more than 25 per cent of their time in the office.
Meanwhile, Infosys has worked out a three-phased plan to bring back its employees to the office. However, in the long term, the company is also considering a hybrid model on work depending on their clients, regulatory environment and other considerations.
They have already put their first phase in motion in April. Under this phase, people living near DCs (development centres) or are in the upcountry town close to the DCs are encouraged to attend office twice a week.
In the second phase, the company will encourage people residing outside the DC towns to start making preparations over the next few months to return to their base development centres.