With almost 15 million US workers quitting their jobs, talent shortages in the US are at a 10 year high with 54% of organizations globally already feeling the impact.
The talent gap between supply and demand of digital talent in eight nations including the United States, China, India, and portions of Europe is expected to be six million people. More than 14 G-20 countries could miss USD $11.5 trillion worth of cumulative growth in gross domestic product if the digital skill gap remains unfilled.
It does sound alarming. Yet it is fascinating to know that every so often, something seismic happens to the way we work.
The pandemic created a sudden shift — with lasting impact and the way we have adapted to working during the pandemic has shattered antiquated assumptions about work design. The pandemic may have also made digital talent feel more valued.
Simultaneously it has empowered business leaders with a unique opportunity to break from a location-centric model of work designed around industrial-era constraints, and to redesign work around a human-centric model which will secure digital-era talent and deliver business outcomes.
Human-centric work design, inclusive of flexibility and empathy, makes employees feel more empowered, and increases their productivity and engagement. It also enables organizations to be more responsive to customer demand, more resilient to disruptions and more productive. It can also reduce a range of costs — from real estate and travel to employee attrition.
In short, the human-centric approach can be a win-win for employees and organizations, but it requires executives to commit to leveraging a remote workforce strategy particularly for IT teams. For many, that means shedding some old assumptions and dispelling myths about what remote work models mean and do.
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Prevailing Myths About Remote Workforce Models but What’s The Reality?
Let’s Find Out.
1. Myth: Work will go back to normal pretty soon.
Before the pandemic, companies used to operate primarily in an in-person environment, designed around locations. However, amidst the pandemic, organizations rallied quickly to virtualize this design to remain productive remotely. There are some leaders who still believe things will revert, but the pandemic demonstrated that many of our work assumptions are archaic and unnecessarily limiting, and now demand for reinvention.
Reality: Remote workforce strategies are here to stay.
Leaders who are reimagining where, when and by whom work gets done are generating better business and talent outcomes simultaneously which is a win-win for organizations and employees. It does seem like a hard part but first and foremost, you have to pick your journey forward — and acknowledge the risks of not adopting a flexible working model.
2. Myth: Employees are less productive when remote
Most leaders in managerial roles question the productivity of employees who are remote from a central work location. But what they are really saying though, is that they need to see employees to make sure they are being productive.
Reality: Employees thrive when given radical flexibility
Data shows radical flexibility (not monitoring of productivity inputs) is what drives performance — but it requires a culture of trust, empathy and empowerment. Another take for managers could be that they must focus on work outcomes, rather than activity metrics.
3. Myth: A Remote workforce model duplicates our IT infrastructure
Almost 70% of infrastructure and operations (I&O) employees perceive the enterprise’s priorities of speed and agility as being at odds with infrastructure’s mandates for reliability and efficiency. This is a clear reflection of a legacy mindset that will significantly constrain infrastructure speed and agility
Reality: Organizations which are resilient constantly reengineer their IT strategies and infrastructures anyway
Resilient, future-fit organizations need “Everywhere Enterprise” strategies — which go beyond enabling a workforce with mobile devices and remote access alone. Everywhere enterprises use technology, team structures, processes, skills and tools to empower dispersed workforces, harness distributed infrastructures and serve ubiquitous customer bases.
Think Differently – Embrace Best Practices For Serving “Everywhere” Needs
Executives have three options for the way forward:
Option No. 1. Reject the flexible work environment and force a return to the traditional location-centric model and work schedule (Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, in many countries or first, second and third shifts). This incurs the risk of employees leaving for more flexibility elsewhere.
Option No. 2. Accept the flexible work environment, but decline to evolve the work model — continue virtualizing site-centric practices (such as meetings), as was common during the pandemic. This induces the risk of exacerbating worker fatigue.
Option No. 3. Reinvent work which is need of the hour, around a human-centric design for the new hybrid or remote environment that ensures performance, innovation and equity — getting it right requires experimentation, learning and iterating.
We now live in a remote-first world.
Going back to the work model that perpetuated before the pandemic is a step backward. And your organization can’t be resilient without rethinking strategies like flexible workforce models. Start by dispelling the myths that stand between you and your ability to capture this competitive opportunity. Then pursue a coordinated strategy in which you experiment, learn and iterate implementation across six fronts to make remote working a win-win for your employees and your organization.