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‘Work from anywhere: The New Normal’

Soni-Agrawal Dr. Soni Agrawal, Associate Professor HR & OB, Dean EDP and MDP, International Management Institute Kolkata

The ongoing pandemic due to COVID 19 had changed the way we used to work at every level. The pandemic had not only brought uncertainty but also can be seen as an opportunity, which facilitated experimentation and innovation. Work from home, which was a practice with employees earlier as well, the pandemic had accelerated the existing trend to ‘work from anywhere’. The concept is proposed that ultimately output is what that matters rather than the availability of a person in a given location or place.

Other than this, there are changes happening at tremendous speed and is affecting a lot more people than ever in the past with the risk of fatal disruption and dislocation if adequate corrective measures are not taken promptly. The present environment of increasing uncertainty and change is not likely to blow over or slow down. Nevertheless, there are examples of companies who have successfully managed and thrived in changing world by working distinctly and matching with the pace of change. This stupendous situation is reminiscent of the fact that volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity have become the new normal in the world we are living in today. Each of the four is a distinct phenomenon with equally marked situations that require disparate and possibly difficult to reallocate resources and investments.

If we specifically talk to the context of ‘work from anywhere’, after getting settled in the new normal, many of the employees as well as management find it benefitting them. Some of the employees feel more satisfied as they need not to commute for long hours and they can work in their preferred environment and can save a lot of precious time, which can be used in a more productive way. They started realizing that even with hundred per cent remote work, they can remain productive. At the same time, organizations find a lot of scope of shifting their infrastructure and other resources in a more flexible way.

Although, the present phenomena have its disadvantages as well. Some of the employees complain that they their work hours have increased. Some employees find that focus remains low when we work at home and the opportunities to build a connection with fellow colleague or developing the culture remains low. Some find it difficult as far as collaboration and exploration of opportunities are concerned. Many female employees find it more stressful as they have to devote more time on family responsibilities while doing work from home situations. In contrast, some of the women workers with young children find it useful as they can manage and look after their kids while being responsible to their work as well with the given flexibility.

Thus, to conclude, it is the right time to analyse different situations in understanding the pros and cons of them and come up with a solution that works to all as a win-win situation.

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