Onsite, Remote, Hybrid – How Pandemic Has Transformed Work Life?

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Introduction

Since early 2020, COVID-19 pandemic has created havoc in everyone’s life. It created a new set of unprecedented challenges. Software companies around the world had to immediately switch to the remote working model. Those who could not adapt to this transition lost crucial business.

With COVID situation easing in late part of 2021, surveys were rolled out on the preferred mode of working. It was then that the Hybrid working model started getting popular. Many companies initiated RTO (Return to Office) programs with well defined policies. Many of these return to office plans have been put on hold due to the rising number of COVID Omicron cases across the world.

The pandemic has deeply impacted the workplace situation. There will be no return to the old normal for the foreseeable future. Let us evaluate what are the benefits and challenges with the different working models as on today.

Onsite Work Model (On Premises/Work from Office)

Colleagues working in Office during COVID Pandemic maintaining social distancing and wearing masks.

Benefits

  • Better understanding of organisation’s culture and values. More cohesive and unified working experience for all.
  • Face to Face interactions, Better collaboration, stronger bond and connection between teams.
  • Ease of access to organisation assets, equipment and facilities.
  • More focus on work – Less distractions from family.
  • Easier monitoring and management of the work-force.
  • Confidentiality of sensitive information can be easily maintained.
  • Structured routine which increases productivity and enables discipline.

Challenges

  • Commute time, traffic stress and travel cost for employees.
  • Frequent interruptions from colleagues. Working in shared environment with less privacy.
  • Overhead for organisation due to work place maintenance and upkeep cost.
  • Making workplace COVID secure and safe. Adhering to SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) for employees safety.
  • Health Risk for employees – Risk of contracting COVID infection.

Remote Work Model (Work from Home/Anywhere)

Girl working from home (WFH) during Covid Pandemic

Benefits

  • Remote work offers full flexibility – You can work from home (WFH) or work from anywhere (WFA).
  • Zero Commute time. No travel expense or stress.
  • More family and personal time.
  • Less time-offs. That is because most of the chores can be managed easily.
  • Can work at odd hours without any safety related concerns.
  • Can have own comfortable and private work corner.
  • Organisations can hire incredible talent across the globe – regardless of the location.

Challenges

  • Mental and Emotional Health concerns – loneliness and depression due to minimal social interactions with others.
  • Physical Health concerns due to less physical activity, sedentary lifestyle.
  • Distraction due to young children or noisy surroundings.
  • Difficulty in creating dedicated work space at home due to space constraints.
  • Difficulty in keeping clear boundaries between work and personal life. Maintaining work-life balance gets challenging at times.

Hybrid Work Model (Hybrid = Onsite + Remote)

Benefits

  • It combines the benefits of both Onsite and Remote models – Indeed a win-win situation.
  • Hybrid can be implemented in many different ways, e.g. some employees can be full time onsite, rest full time remote. It can be kept based on the departments or projects. Similarly, it can also be based on days e.g.,Monday is onsite, Tuesday to Friday is remote.

Challenges

  • If implemented haphazardly, hybrid model can badly hamper productivity and collaboration. Choosing the right hybrid model is a big challenge. Therefore, organisations are surveying and experimenting different approaches to come up with the best suited model for them.

Conclusion

Hopefully, things will be better and we will get past this difficult pandemic phase soon. But when exactly, we cannot predict. For now, it seems Hybrid is the best and sustainable work model for the future.

Written by 

Pooja Chawla is a Project Manager in Knoldus Inc. with more than 15 years of experience in various industry domains. She is passionate about diving deep into Agile techniques and exploring different frameworks. Her hobbies include travelling and exploring different cultures.

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